Saturday, November 25, 2006

Living In A Looking Glass World

I am now officially living in Wonderland. I must be. I now find myself on the same side as both Tom Axworthy and Michael Bliss. Don't get me wrong, both have first class minds with vast knowledge of the history of the constitution. I just never, ever, thought I would agree with them about anything. I guess if you live long enough, anything is possible. From Tom Axworthy:
"We are being drawn willy-nilly into the dead end of constitutional negotiations."
From Michael Bliss:
Oh, come on Bliss. Lighten up. Who cares if political games are being played here. Does it really matter? No one's proposing to reopen the constitution. No one's proposing to give Quebec special status. It's all just symbolism. It doesn't mean anything in the real world. If it keeps the Quebecers quiet and happy, why worry? Isn't Stephen Harper clever?

The near-criminal recklessness of this position lies in everything we have known about separatist/nationalist politics in Quebec over the last 40 years. Are Quebecers going to be happy to be recognized as a nation within Canada if that recognition doesn't mean anything? If it doesn't confer anything? If it's meaningless?

Of course they aren't. Remember the hypocrisies of Meech Lake and Charlottetown? What the rest of Canada will be told is meaningless symbolism, will be sold in Quebec as profoundly significant. Significant because it gives Quebec special recognition within Canada. Every Quebec premier will use the recognition of "nationhood" to argue for special status, special powers, and, in the case of separatists, to insist upon logical consequence of ethnic/civic nationhood, which is the right of self-determination leading to independence.
My God, I couldn't have said it better myself, if I sat here and typed for a hundred years. Neither of these gentlemen writes anything that should be a surprise to anyone who was around for Meech and Charltottetown. What they are predicting is as plain to see as day following night. We are heading down a brightly lit, familiar tunnel, but a tunnel none the less.
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