Mulcair feels wrath of national editorialists

Tease the day: The NDP’s proposal on new Quebec referendum rules earns the ire of the morning papers.


CP/Fred Chartrand

Thomas Mulcair knows how to piss off editorial boards in central Canada. Today’s papers are proof, in case you needed any. The morning after Mulcair’s party proposed new rules that would govern a prospective referendum on Quebec’s sovereignty, editorialists reacted with vigour, their words bordering on disgust. The NDP’s proposal, a private member’s bill tabled in Toronto MP Craig Scott’s name, suggests that Quebec should be able to secede from Canada by a simple majority vote. The referendum question would have to be clear, the bill offers, and any disagreement about it would be adjudicated by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

The Globe and Mail calls the proposal “a risky move for the NDP, and a bad one for Canada.” The Ottawa Citizen, after dismantling the NDP’s proposal, concluded diplomatically that Mulcair is “lacking prime ministerial qualities.” The Toronto Star, which similarly took down the proposal and dismissed it as pandering to the NDP’s Quebec voter base, was even harsher. “Canadians need to know that a party that aspires to govern the federation is prepared to defend it,” the Star‘s editorialists wrote. “In the NDP’s case, that can’t be taken for granted.” The National Post lashed out, arguing the NDP’s 50%+1 position “represents a stain on this nominally ‘federalist’ party.” The Post‘s editorial goes on to suggest that, even if the federal Liberals lose votes in Quebec because they disagree with both the Bloc Quebecois and NDP on how to hold a referendum, it could pay the fledgling party dividends outside the province.

There’s one prominent speck of cautious agreement with the NDP’s move: The Post‘s John Ivison, drawing on his home country of Scotland’s experience with past referendums, says the 50%+1 formula is the right call—even if the bill is still flawed. One reserved fan among many critics: and yet, Muclair probably couldn’t care less.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the Northwest Territories’ new control over natural resource revenues. The National Post fronts Republican mockery of U.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent lack of shooting prowess (with firearms). The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Ontario premier-designate Kathleen Wynne’s flirtation with road tolls to raise revenue. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Canada’s military ombudsman suggesting cost savings by transferring fewer personnel each year. iPolitics fronts the debut of BlackBerry’s newest wireless deviceCBC.ca leads with the same device’s launch. National Newswatch showcases a CBC News story about Conservative complaints in advance of CNOOC’s takeover of Nexen.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Belize. Canada is becoming increasingly involved in securing the safety of Belize, the Central American nation that borders Mexico and is threatened by nearby drug cartels. 2. Defection. Russian ballerina Svetlana Lunkina, who’s lived in Canada for several years with her husband, plans to officially defect after receiving threats in her home country.
3. Flouride. Windsor’s city council voted to stop adding fluoride to its water supply, and will direct savings in coming years to various oral health and nutrition initiatives. 4. Charbonneau. Michel Lalonde, the head of an engineering firm in Quebec, admitted during Charbonneau Commission hearings to funnelling money to political parties.

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Mulcair feels wrath of national editorialists

  1. To be clear, it does NOT mean Quebec could secede from Canada with a simple majority vote. It means Quebec, the other provinces, the Federal government and probably native bands (and probably others) would have a legal but unenforceable obligation to begin good faith negotiations with the aim of amending the constitution to allow Quebec to secdede. This is why I am a lot less afraid of a referendum than many – I don’t think of a vote percentage, I keep thinking ahead to what it would take to get BC and Ontario to sign their names, let alone Alta.

    • Once you open a can of worms you never know what you will find. Mulcair is going to pay dearly for his attempt to appeal to soft nationalists in order to ward off the Bloc and the Libs. However, it will be used by Harper in the next election as evidence he is not fit to be PM of a federal government. The whole attempt will be protrayed as pandering.

      • As has been the case since his election to the top job, how Harper plays the dumbest subset of Canadians will determine the future of us all.

        • Yes we all know how smart you are versus us dummies. Sheesh

    • The PQ has always been very clear that it regards 50%+1 as an excuse to make an illegal unilateral declaration of independence, completely on its own terms. And French citizen Thomas Mulcair knows this full well.

      • At the very very worst, all that an illegal declaration of independence supported by France (huge if, most signs point to NO) mean is one vote at the UN to recognize an independent Quebec.

  2. i look for authenticity in a leader.tom mucair is what i call a waffle,much similar to the harper goverment.if the polls are in there favour or not,they(harper and mulcair)waffle.there unsure of themselves on decisions(they(cons and dips) wait for the media to tell them whats right or wrong before they decide).thats not authenticity.its when you make a decision,you stick to it.the other problem with mulcair and harper is,they think canadians are not grown up.they(dips and cons)dont like to tell canadians the truth unless its forced out of them.they(dips and cons) treat us taxpayers like were not adults and where stupid.hopefully we will see some leadership in this country before 2015 hits in.

    • Too funny. You’d rather back the “Skip-to-maloo” trudeau. The most indecisive individual on any platform. Just look at his past. His “Peace brother” attitude. Friendship will fix anything he thinks. “Come with me and I’ll show you how to be an actor.”
      Yeah, you have all the answers gosh-man.

      • remember norman,600 billion dollar deficet.remember norm,the libs in 2006 13 billion dollar red ink.so who are the idiots and big spenders here.your cons.hey big spendor ! harper was a comman frump before he got elected.

  3. If it is a quick way to get rid of Quebec, let it be.

  4. The only useful thing about the whole exercise is that he’s pissin’
    off all the right people. That’s always a good thing.
    Now .. if everybody, including the NDP, would just shut the eff up
    that would be even better.

  5. Well the media has it’s story to kill the next 6 months. Yawn.

  6. Is “editorial boards in central Canada” a new euphemism for Conservatives?

    • Yes, 98% of these editorial boards endorsed a Harper majority last election. We have them to thank for the most disgraceful government in Canada’s history.

      • I think you might be overstating their influence. Nevertheless, agree that these editorial boards seem heavily pro-CPC.

        • The Star heavily pro-CPC? Road to Damascus event yesterday for those op-ed mavens.

  7. Mulcair is actually keeping Layton’s election promise to challenge the Clarity Act which originated from Preston Manning of the Reform party. The fact is most Quebecers (federalist and separatist alike) oppose English Canadians telling them how to run their democracy. Since the NDP won so many seats in Quebec, they have to represent the interest of Quebecers.

    It’s certainly much better that Quebec is represented by a staunch federalist party than by the separatist Bloc. All these editorials are condescending and only adding fuel to the fire — one that was put out before Harper got a fake majority.

    • Fine, but Quebecers must be reminded that a referendum engaging the Quebec government to make a formal offer for a new economic and political partnership with Canada does not engage Canada in any way shape or form into negociating said partnership.

      If Canadians cannot tell Quebecers how to run their democracy, Quebecers cannot dictate to Canada the timeline or conditions for a new economic and political partnership.

    • Then Mulcair should not profess he is running a federalist, national party who wants to govern the whole country. He should admit he wants to be a provincil premier. The guys an idiot and will never govern Canada despite your fantasy dreams.

    • The NDP is not a “staunch federalist party”. It’s a Trojan Horse for the separatist movement. Mulcair has done to the NDP exactly what Mulroney did to the Progressive Conservatives – allowed it to be infiltrated by separatists who will do everything they can to undermine Canada while pretending to be loyal Canadians. And it will end the same way – with the complete destruction of the party, and enormous damage to the country if Mulcair actually gains power.

      • Nonsense. Quebecers are against the Clarity Act. The NDP is just giving them what they want. (It’s call democracy.) There is no undermining Canada or any such tripe. Did Trudeau undermine Canada by not demanding a 60% majority in 1980? Of course not. The only one who is doing damage to the country is Harper. He is the separatists’ best friend. His move to rebrand the Canadian forces after the English monarch and unite embassies under the British is nothing more than a disgusting wedge and scorched earth politics. Harper would risk a separated Quebec just to unite the rednecks against the province to weasel votes.

        Let’s face the facts: Mulroney created the Bloc promising the separatists the moon. The NDP fixed the problem by defeating the Bloc and getting Quebec to vote for a federalist party. If the NDP were to win a majority (improbable of course,) Quebecers would be much happier in Canada than they are now: not only because Harper is a disgusting POS; but also because Quebecers who voted for the Bloc (not all of them separatists) tend towards the left-of-center.

        • “Quebecers are against the Clarity Act.”

          False. Separatists are against the Clarity Act. Quebeckers as a whole, however, recognize that it’s a reasonable law. In the federal election after it was passed, the Liberal Party received a higher percentage of the Quebec vote than it had at any time since 1993.

          The NDP didn’t fix the problem – it just let itself be infiltrated by unrepentant separatists in order to get electoral support. You only have to look at NDP policy to see that it’s a mirror image of the Bloc’s. French citizen Mulcair hasn’t “fixed” Mulroney’s treacherous mistakes; he’s repeating them.

          And if you’re truly the NDP supporter you appear to be, you shouldn’t be helping him in this disastrous course. Because it will end the same way it did for Mulroney – with the destruction of the party.

  8. Mulcair is well on his way to winning the next election. The conservatives and the increasingly right wing Liberals, along with their editorial board mouthpieces, cannot thwart the universally understood tenant of democracy – majority rule. There are plenty of safeguards built in to ensure that any future referendum will be completely fair and clear to both sides before it takes place. One sure way to guarantee Quebecers will even want to eventually leave Canada is to editorialize about how the rest of Canada knows what’s right for Quebec more than than the quebecers themselves do. That’s like Pierre Trudeau telling Albertans that the National Energy Program is best for Canada and who really cares what Alberta thinks. The rest of Canada should really try to put themselves in Quebecers shoes now and then and see how it feels to be a lonely distinctive island in the middle of frothing and raging ocean constantly eroding its shores.

  9. But he’s right.
    They should have the democratic right to leave the confederation, if they choose, and by a simple majority vote on a simple and clear question.
    We could show the world how civilized countries help their citizens, who share cultural, linguistic, religious and social values, achieve independence, without blood shed.
    Its time for us to mature – both the Quebecois and the RoC.

  10. Mulcair pretends to be a friend of Idle No More while also catering to
    the separatists, who maintain that Quebec is indivisible. That cannot be allowed to continue.

    The media must insist that Mulcair give a clear answer on whether his party supports the right of aboriginal people in Quebec like the Cree to keep their territories as part of Canada in the event of a Yes vote for separation.

    • Mulcair fought on the No side in two referendums Harper’s Cabinet minister for Industry, Christian Paradis, fought for the Yes side with the Bloc.

      Romeo Saganash is the Cree NDP MP for Ungava. He supports Mulcair’s position, as do the Cree.

      Why are Conservatives rewarding disloyal Conservative separatists while criticizing loyal Quebec federalists like Mulcair? Is there partisanship that blind?

      • First, I’m not a Conservative. Opposing the NDP’s duplicitous behaviour doesn’t make you Conservative, it just makes you a loyal Canadian. Not even that, necessarily – I’m sure there are many separatists who want him to be clear too, though they prefer to avoid the topic of partitioning Quebec. There’s nothing partisan in insisting that Mulcair has to be clear on the issue.

        Secondly, supporting the No side in past referenda doesn’t mean Mulcair was an unqualified federalist. The Quebec Liberal Party certainly wasn’t in 1995; they in fact hobbled the effort because they wanted separatism to remain a viable threat – not the actions of a group genuinely dedicated to Canada. It certainly doesn’t justify his duplicity today.

        As far as Paradis goes, I don’t much care that he supported the Yes in 1995, when he was just 21. He was elected in 2006 under the banner of a party that supports the Clarity Act – he has matured, and his opinions have changed. That’s a stark contrast to the unrepentant separatists currently in the NDP caucus, and the current NDP effort to cancel the Clarity Act.

        What is your basis for saying that the Cree support Mulcair? Even Saganash is visibly uncomfortable when the NDP policies on national unity are raised. The Cree most certainly do NOT support the idea that they have to go along with a Quebec declaration of independence, which is exactly why Mulcair owes it to all of us to make his position on that unambiguously clear.

        And that’s the main point of my original post. Mulcair must state publicly whether he supports the right of the Cree to remain Canadian. There’s nothing partisan or unreasonable about that – it’s just a topic he and his supporters would rather avoid, because they want to play all sides.

        And that alone says everything you need to know about how untrustworthy and treacherous he really is.

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