Sunday, 29 May 2011

Should a 50%-plus-one vote be sufficient for separation?

Media has been buzzing around lately after Jack Layton’s comments that the NDP would back 50%-plus-one rule for Quebec’s secession. He stated on May 26th, “What constitutes a majority is 50%-plus-one. That’s been crystal clear for five years as the official policy of our party.”

I don’t understand the media frenzy on this issue. Is there another definition of a majority? I don’t even understand why Jack felt the need to explain a statistic fact.

Many Canadians are uncomfortable with such statements. They fear that the separatists’ goal becomes easier to attain. But let’s be clear! The separatist are only following a democratic process. They are not planning a coup d’état. So no matter how much you dislike the idea of a separate Quebec, it’s the choice of the people of Quebec.

By not believing in the 50%-plus-one rule, you are acting as a dictator - “It doesn’t matter what they think… I know what’s best for them.” Even if you believe that a separation would hurt Quebec economically and financially, it’s not your call.

It’s interesting to note that in Quebec’s riding of Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, NDP candidate François Lapointe defeated the Conservative incumbent Bernard Généreux by a mere 9 votes. I haven’t noticed anyone saying that it’s too close and the result should be ignored.

Personally, I want Quebec to be part of Canada. I believe that Quebec is not an accessory, it’s a vital part. I argue that Canada without Quebec would never be the same. However, I sympathize with Quebecers who feel left alone. They have a different language, culture and are more left leaning. They are more European-like, while English Canadians are more American-like. On top of that, they feel bashed and ignored by English Canada. Do you recall Don Cherry’s “Europeans and French guys” comments, and that separatists are “bunch of whiners”?

Instead of focusing on finding ways to complicate the referendum process, I think it’s much better if we give Quebecers compelling reasons to want to stay within Canada. We must truly act as one country… If one part of the body hurts, all the other parts hurt with it too. I am hopeful when I heard Jack Layton’s commitment to create “winning conditions” for Quebec. Let’s embrace this vision.

So ask yourself this question – Should a 50%-plus-one vote be sufficient for separation?

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