Almost half the NDP caucus in Ottawa comes from Quebec. There is no doubt there are some sovereignists in this group. Which is why NDP leader, Jack Layton, is struggling to clarify his position on Quebec’s separation from Canada.
After several false starts Mr. Layton has fallen back on the NDP’s Sherbrooke Declaration of some years ago in which the party outlined its position on Quebec separation. The Declaration stipulates that in the event of another referendum, a federal NDP government would stand aside and let Quebec’s National Assembly draw up the referendum question , and that it would accept 50 plus one as a clear enough endorsement of succession.
When he was asked directly about this, Layton replied that the Sherbrooke Declaration stands as party policy.
Now there is no doubt that this policy on seccession is supported by all poilitical parties in Quebec (federalist or separatist). Even federalist Quebeckers support the 50 plus one number.
Our friend, Tony Kondaks, expresses concerns about the NDP position in a well-crafted letter in this morning’s Gazette. One of Tony’s major concerns is that the NDP policy would enable Quebec to make a unilateral declaration of independence. That doesn not worry me much. If the seccession proceedings ever got that far (which they won’t) the question is not whether Quebec would make a unilateral declaration of indpendence but whether anyone in the international would recognize such a declaration (absent a clear question and a clear majority). I don’t believe they would.
Is 50 per cent-plus one enough for Quebec separation enough for Quebec separation?
What do you think?