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Duceppe: the Biggest Loser? December 3, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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AngryFrenchGuy thinks so.

Gilles Duceppe also lost the best gig in parliamentary politics this week: perpetual opposition.  The right…   – no, the constitutional duty – to rip the government and the other parties apart without ever having to offer a viable alternative.

Duceppe is in the position known in game theory as the kingmaker. He cannot achieve his goals on his own, and thus cannot “win” the government. He can only decide which of the two other parties becomes the government.

I disagree that he doesn’t gain anything, however; the instability of the government may provide him with the ability to pick up marginal seats in the next election, and could conceivably help his PR for future separation referendum purposes. Only time will tell.

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Separatists in the House of Commons December 3, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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Disclaimer: The title of my blog, “Heureusement, ici, c’est le Blog!”, is a pun, not an endorsement of the Bloc Quebecois. I harbor no particular affinity for the Bloc Quebecois. Though this post argues for acceptance of the Bloc as a coalition member, it does so solely on rational grounds which could be applied in any analogous situation of home-rule separatism.

There have been a number of complaints about the separatist/sovereigntist influence on the House of Commons under the proposed left-wing coalition in Canada. The concerns appear to be that A) Separatists are a bad thing to have in the national government, and B) It is undemocratic to topple the plurality government of the Conservatives. Behind the cut, I’d like to discuss these concerns.

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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…)