But with a clear question, 50 per cent plus one becomes the unambiguous and democratic expression of the electorate. As the Supreme Court made clear, if we agree that Canada must be held together by motivating its people to stay together, and not by force, then there is no other path. So how do we so motivate them? For one thing, we pass clear laws that avoid the kind of arbitrary after-the-fact shifting of the goalposts that has been met with such anger by Quebeckers. Independentists in Quebec have few effective battle horses left, which is why they’re trying to exploit this issue, as we see with the Bloc Québécois motion in the House of Commons.
As a federalist, my message to all Canadians who want this country to stay together is simple: Let’s not help the Bloc by perpetuating the confusions of the Clarity Act. This is why I believe that rewriting this act to add clarity is helpful to the cause of unity. But Mr. Scott and the NDP go further with their bill: In an innovation that has been mostly overlooked by the media so far, the bill also draws a road map for Quebeckers to seek constitutional change within Confederation. This addition is important and puts into law the commitment Mr. Layton made during the last election: creating the winning conditions for Canada in Quebec.
Beyond The Commons
Aaron Wherry covers all the goings-on in and around Parliament Hill. Follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaronwherry