Thomas Mulcair found himself on the defensive Monday with regard to the policy of his party on the sovereignty of Quebec, when it began a pre-election tour of eight days in Ontario.
The leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) has defended its position on the fact that a simple majority of 50% plus one would be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec’s independence with the federal government.
And Mr. Mulcair attacked the Liberals, who were the fiercest critics of the approach of the NDP, accusing them of having “dropped” the majority of Quebecers want to feed the old disputes.
“I did not drop the majority of Quebecers, unlike the Liberals,” said the NDP leader to launch his tour in Toronto, which he described as “the most important city in the country.”
The NDP has promised to repeal the Clarity Act, introduced by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien in the aftermath of the thin victory of No in the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty.
Inspired by an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Clarity Act – entitled to give effect to the requirement for clarity made by the Supreme Court in its opinion on the Reference re Secession of Quebec – determines the need for a clear majority in a vote on a clear question on secession for the federal government agrees to negotiate a divorce with Quebec.
Mr. Mulcair criticized the law for its lack of a clear threshold of votes needed to trigger negotiations on sovereignty.
“[The Liberals] feel they need a ploy, a sort of political game and say,” We will not tell you what the number is, but it will be any you get, in addition to an other package. ” It’s not serious, “said the NDP leader in response to media questions.
Mr. Mulcair stressed that the “mother of all parliaments”, the meeting in the UK, agreed by simple majority as the threshold to be reached in the recent referendum on the independence of Scotland.
“People need to understand that yes means yes. Yes can not mean, “Well, maybe we want a better deal, ‘” he illustrated.
The majority of 50% plus one is part of the Sherbrooke Declaration NDP a policy document which prepares the approach of the party with regard to Quebec and is credited in part to the orange wave that swept the province in Federal Election 2011.
Mr. Mulcair said he was the only federal leader to have campaigned actively against the separation of Quebec in two referendums.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), Justin Trudeau, replied that this was not for anyone to “play a game” policy, recalling that the Clarity Act was based on a historical decision of the Court Supreme Court of Canada in 2000.
The highest court said that the issue to a referendum and the result must be “unambiguous” to the federal government is in the obligation to negotiate separation. The Supreme Court did not specify a threshold, but said more than once that should be more than a simple majority.
“Mr. Mulcair shows disagree with the Supreme Court on something as basic as the unity of the country, “said Mr. Trudeau, speaking of a” surprising and very disturbing “position.
“It’s even more important that any fight that [the Prime Minister] Stephen Harper began against the Supreme Court. This is what it would take to ensure that Canada continues to exist or is broken, “said the Liberal leader.
The NDP leader began an eight-day visit to Ontario to present his team and its policies and to demonstrate that his party is on a roll.
Ontario is home to over a third of 338 seats that will be available on October 19, the day the next federal election.