Showing adept footwork (almost as good as that of Justin Trudeau in the boxing ring a short while ago), Thomas Mulcair has succeeded in persuading the media that he not only can have his cake on the framing of any Quebec sovereignty referendum question, but eat it too.
To put it another way, Mulcair has managed to lead the media by the nose by stating with conviction that he is for two conflicting conclusions.
|Eating his cake and having it at the same time|
He has managed to get away with two propositions that clearly have intrinsic conflicts, without being called on it.
Mulcair has stated firmly that the NDP is firmly in favour of the Sherbrooke Resolution which allows a majority of 50% of votes plus one vote cast in favour of separation during a referendum, to apply, while being firmly in support of the Supreme Court decision on the issue, which disagreed that the simple 50% plus one vote would constitute a ‘clear majority’.
This is what Mulcair said:
While members have occasionally spoken out of turn when it comes to the party’s position on Quebec sovereignty, Mulcair affirmed that the NDP’s 2005 Sherbrooke Declaration stands. The position states a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one would suffice in the event of a referendum and that the province’s legislature has the authority to devise the question.
Mulcair also expressed support for the 1998 Supreme Court reference on Quebec secession, which fell short of quantifying a majority but outlined a variety of “qualitative” criteria that would have to be met…
“Everything about the holding of the referendum has to be clear, from the type of question that gets asked to the way the voting proceeds to the rules that are applied. . . . Has it been a fair vote? Has the counting been fair?”
Mulcair is raising a smokescreen with his questions (Has there been a fair vote? Has the counting been fair); these are not the issue here.
The issue is the clear conflict between the Sherbrooke Declaration’s agreement with what is a “clear majority” of For-votes, and the Supreme Court of Canada’s expressed need for a “clear majority”.
Wriggle as he might, Mulcair will have to answer this precise question.
If any journalist has the gumption to ask him it.