The tribalism of the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair.

Is it some sort of right of passage in Quebec? Is it an inferiority complex? Or is it just the political games of Canada’s politicians? Since the not so quiet revolution of the 1960s, we have had Quebec politicians jerking around the rest of Canada about imagined slights and questionable rights. And every Quebec politician, of every stripe, wants in on the act. Now, we have a separatist premier in Quebec kicking sand at the nationalists and the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Ottawa joining her in that political sandbox.

It certainly puts the lie to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s federalism. He is engaging in the cheap theatrics we have seen from Quebec politicians for many decades. Mulcair has decided that he wants to win kudos in Quebec for talking about emasculating the Clarity Act. This is the act passed by the Chrétien Liberal government in 2000 to ensure that questions about secession be asked honestly and that a realistic majority have voted for it. And Mr. Mulcair wants to throw his galoshes into that soup.

To be fair, it was not Thomas Mulcair’s bill. Toronto-Danforth MP Craig Scott acted as the Judas Goat to propose the bill to save the NDP from having to vote for a similar bill proposed by the Bloc Quebecois. In the usual machinations of Canada’s parliament, the NDP version of the bill will never see the light of day again. The entire act was just a play to Quebec voters.

But you may be sure that Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is paying attention. She will use every chance she gets to show that Thomas Mulcair is on her side. This is the lady that even uses the proposed separation of Scotland and England as a rational for her own political ambitions. All she has shown in her statements is that she seems to have no idea of the history involved and the complexities of the relationship of the Scots and the Brits.

In comparison, Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada is very simple. The Scots and the Brits, at least, speak a somewhat similar language. They are of the same race as are the early French and English-Irish-Scots and Welsh settlers in Canada. The problem in Quebec is tribalism based on language.

But Scotland belongs to the Scots. Quebec belongs to Canadians. Quebec separatists cannot put their supposed tribal rights ahead of the individual rights of Canadians. As Pierre Trudeau explained many times, tribalism does not override individual rights.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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