I have three things to discuss today. The first one is relatively brief and the second will be the focus of this entry.
First, with my limited skills as a graphic designer I have created a logo of sorts for the Orange Tory blog located in the top left. The shape is called a triquetra, a traditional Celtic symbol. The ring is blue representing conservative values, and the orange the social democratic values I express on this blog. The triquetra is also a good symbol for this blog because it resembles the three-leafed trillium, Ontario’s symbol and provincial flower. It also denotes the three levels and three branches of government.
Next, earlier today I submitted a form and paid for membership in the Ontario New Democratic Party. From this beginning of this blog I have stated that I’m not a partisan. I continue to hold that to be true. Watching the Ontario NDP in the wake of the 2003 election was what really got me interested in politics in the first place. That being said I have been critical of their policies and practices. The federal NDP doesn’t get a free ride from me, and I keep an open mind in every election.
Being a member of a political party gives a person influence over the democratic system in Canada. Local riding associations pick candidates and offer feedback to elected Members of Parliament, or Members of Provincial Parliament. You also elect the local party officials who have control and influence and the opportunity to become some of these officials. For $25 it seems like a good deal.
I had not planned for my enlistment with the NDP to dovetail with my objection to a position the party has recently taken, but it has. This week Jack Layton has stated that in his opinion, and one would assume the federal NDP’s, that a vote of 50% + 1 (a standard majority) would be enough for Quebec to separate from Canada.
Quebec has held two referenda and both were defeated on narrow majorities in 1980 and 1995. The 1995 one was particularly close and put the entire country on edge. If the vote switches only a few thousand by the time of the next referendum Canada would break apart. Or it should, according to the federal NDP leader.
Jack Layton is a federalist leader and does not want Quebec to leave confederation, that much should be said, but his position makes separation easier for sovereigntists.
Let’s contrast the majority needed to leave Canada to the ones needed to reform our electoral system. In British Columbia the STV referenda in 2005 and 2009 required 60% of the vote to pass. The Ontario referendum in 2007 to introduce mixed-member proportional needed 60% of the vote and majority (over 50%) in 64 of Ontario’s 107 electoral districts. British Columbians had over 50% supporting a reform, but fell short of the supermajority required.
Conditions at least as stringent as Ontario’s electoral reform referendum should be required for Quebec to be a nation. Quebec needs to prove that its people really wants to be a separate nation in convincing numbers. Mr. Layton’s suggestion otherwise damages the stability of Canada with a superficial policy and appeal to Quebec nationalists. Quebec isn’t the be all and end all Mr. Layton, there’s the country to consider.