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Secession again? Really? August 21, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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William Johnson this morning in the online Globe and Mail:

Ten years ago today, the court delivered its response to the reference on whether Quebec had the right to secede unilaterally. The court’s advisory opinion was complex but clear. Why, then, has it been constantly misrepresented across Canada and ignored in Quebec?

Johnson’s article makes the case that politicians have “misrepresented” the court’s opinion, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217,  which lays out four criteria on which a secession must be judged: democracy (do citizens of Quebec want to secede?), rule of law (do they have the power to do so?), federalism (would secession be to the detriment of the other provinces?), and the protection of minorities (would secession harm language and ethnic minorities?). Johnson’s argument is that politicians and media ignore the last three criteria and treat the democratic criterion as the only valid one. (more…)