December 2, 2008

THERE IS NO CANADA:

Dion mortgages federalist ideals to sign on with separatists (Kelly McParland, 12/02/08, National Post)

Mr. Dion and NDP leader Jack Layton welcomed the pact with speeches about democracy and their overwhelming concern for the country. Mr. Duceppe skipped all that and got straight to the point: he signed on because it furthers his ambitions in Quebec, and he'll abide by it as long as that's the case.

Initially he agreed to just 18 months, with an option for an additional 12 months if conditions warrant - i.e. if he can still extract enough concessions to make it worthwhile. To win his signature Mr. Layton and Mr. Dion agreed to a number of demands that will elevate Quebec to special status in Confederation, well above any of the other provinces or territories, even as it draws billions every year in equalization payments paid by those same regions.

Most significant was a mechanism to ensure the Bloc is consulted on any question of importance to Quebec, especially the budget. There will be social and economic measures sought by the Bloc, protection for cultural programs, acceleration of infrastructure projects and new support for older workers.

By signing the deal the Bloc also saves Quebec from a number of Tory initiatives, including plans to redistribute seats in the Commons, reducing Quebec's relative weight, and the introduction of a single national securities regulator, a measure widely seen as a needed improvement in the face of the market meltdown.

Not a bad list, and that's just the start.


A people who think themselves a nation is one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 2, 2008 12:03 PM
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