“Partisanship over principle. Vote-chasing over important constitutional norms and processes,” said Wilson-Raybould.
As I’ve noted before, Quebec deserves credit for pushing for their interests.
They’ve realized how weak many of Canada’s federal ‘leaders’ and parties have become, and they know that a mix of threats and strong assertions of identity will carry the day.
Also, Quebec often seems to be the only province with leaders who are willing to boldly assert a sense of respect and reverence for their history, rather than simply giving in to the radical narrative of guilt-and-shame being pushed on everyone.
With all of that in mind, it is still often stunning to see how willing all the major parties are to simply roll over for Quebec in a way they never would for other provinces or regions of Canada.
In the House of Commons, the following Bloc Quebecois motion was put to a vote:
“That the House agree that Section 45 of the Constitution Act, 1982, grants Quebec and the provinces exclusive jurisdiction to amend their respective constitutions and acknowledge the will of Quebec to enshrine in its constitution that Quebecers form a nation, that French is the only official language of Quebec and that it is also the common language of the Quebec nation.”
The motion passed, with 281 MPs voting in favour, 51 abstaining, and 2 voting against.
The majority of Liberal, CPC, NDP, and Bloc members voted in favour.
The only two MPs who opposed the motion were Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Derek Sloan.
Here’s what Wilson-Raybould said on Twitter:
“Partisanship over principle. Vote-chasing over important constitutional norms and processes.”
Partisanship over principle. Vote-chasing over important constitutional norms and processes. https://t.co/NoGLvjdiJL
— Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, QC (JWR) 王州迪 (@Puglaas) June 16, 2021
Derek Sloan wrote out a detailed explanation for his vote against it:
“Today in the House, I voted ‘Nay’ to motion M-45 as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois. The historical significance of such a move demands that it be discussed with all provinces and territories of Canada, not just with Quebec.”
Today in the House, I voted 'Nay' to motion M-45 as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois. The historical significance of such a move demands that it be discussed with all provinces and territories of Canada, not just with Quebec.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/3p03i5OrAU
— MP Derek Sloan (@DerekSloanCPC) June 17, 2021
Here’s the full statement from Sloan in text form:
“Today the following motion M-45 was proposed by the Bloc Quebecois:
“That this House agrees that Section 45 of the Constitution Act, 1982, gives Quebec and the provinces exclusive jurisdiction to amend their respective constitutions; and acknowledges the will of Quebec’s desire to include in its constitution that Quebecers form a nation, that French is the only official language of Quebec and that it is also the common language of the Quebec nation.”
I voted NO to Motion 45 because:
I am surprised that the Bloc refers to the Constitution Act of 1982 since the National Assembly of Quebec has never officially recognized the legitimacy of the unilateral patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, under the government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, father of Justin Trudeau;
While I fundamentally believe in provincial autonomy and the decentralization of federal power, I believe that the historical significance of such a constitutional motion should be discussed with all provinces and territories of Canada, rather than exclusively with Quebec;
As for the recognition that “Quebecers form a nation”, I agree with this historical recognition established by the former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper not in the sense that they are separate country, but in the sense that they are distinct cultural group within a united Canada.”
It is interesting to note that both Derek Sloan and Jody Wilson-Raybould have demonstrated political courage here, despite being very different politicians.
It shows that political courage is not necessarily ideological, but instead represents the willingness to show some consistency, and adhere to a sense of values even when the rest of the crowd or immediate political expediency is moving in the opposite direction.
With that in mind, the abstentions of many MPs can be seen as them showing their discontent and concern with conceding the narrative to the Bloc, while lacking the courage to outright oppose it.
Conservatives, Liberals, NDP: United in pandering
As the main parties attempt to define themselves and win votes by differentiating from each other, they are moving in lockstep when it comes to giving in to the dictates of Quebec.
Notice how Alberta faces rampant opposition from the feds whenever they try to assert their interests, while with Quebec its the exact opposite.
Additionally, it has been quite disturbing to see the CPC generally stay away from the issue of Alberta’s equalization referendum (refusing to make it clear that a Conservative government will reform the system to end the unfairness), yet being completely willing to pander to Quebec at every opportunity.
The problem for the CPC is that their core voters in the rest of Canada are watching this very closely, and are seeing the hypocrisy add up, as the party increasingly distances itself from the people who make up their volunteer and donor base, while chasing votes without regard for any inkling of ideological consistency or future damage to the unity and cohesion of the country.
All of that is expected of course from the Liberals and NDP at this point, as while those parties once had some principle on issues of national unity, that has increasingly been abandoned by Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh.
Ironically, I have no criticism for the Bloc here, because they are doing exactly what they promised their voters: Pushing Quebec’s interests above all else.
It’s not the Bloc’s fault if they’ve figured out the other parties can be manipulated and subdued.
Setting aside the specific legal and political issues for a moment, Quebec simply has more guts.
Consider this Tweet from Quebec Premier Francois Legault, saying Quebec has reached it’s ‘capacity for integrating immigrants’:
“It remains mind-boggling how a statement like this (which half of Canada likely agrees with) is completely normal within Quebec, yet would be ripped to shreds (even by ‘conservative’ politicians) and the media in the rest of the country.”
As I point out, that statement isn’t really that controversial in Quebec, yet would cause absolute chaos in the rest of Canada, with our political and media establishment so completely subsumed by political correctness.
The alternative presented by Jody Wilson-Raybould and Derek Sloan
In very different ways, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Derek Sloan both present an alternative to the current political options:
People who actually say what they believe
While that is certainly over-simplifying, it remains a reality that Jody Wilson-Raybould is closer to what the Liberals claimed to stand for, and Derek Sloan is closer to what the Conservatives claimed to stand for, when compared to the direction of both those parties.
This creates opportunities for both of them, with Wilson-Raybould likely to remain the most influential Independent MP in recent Canadian history, and Sloan potentially creating a new party that could cause serious problems for the CPC by winning over those who are increasingly disgruntled with the recent direction of the party.
All of this goes to show that while political courage and principle are sadly rare in Canadian politics, they still exist.