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Quebec's Ambiguous Nation

Ignatieff supporters waffle on constitutional change.

By Richard Warnica 25 Oct 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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A while back, Michael Ignatieff floated the idea of formally recognizing Quebec as a nation and enshrining the concept in the Constitution. 

Over the weekend the Liberals’ Quebec wing endorsed the idea. Which means the party as a whole will vote on it in their December convention. 

But a CP report Tuesday shows that, shockingly, it’s not that simple. Key Ignatieff backers, the story reads, don’t agree on what a their man’s proposal will mean.

“Reaction is all over the map: some Ignatieff supporters express outright opposition, some cautiously endorse it, and others enthusiastically welcome it as a first step toward recognizing every province as a nation.”

Reaction among the commentariat has been, to say the least, tepid.

The Tyee’s Rafe Mair jumped on Ignatieff’s nation musings back in September.

While the Post’s Andrew Coyne compared the proposal to the ill-fated distinct society clause on his blog and compared Iggy to Paul Martin in his Wednesday column

“If it were only a matter of the Liberal party devouring itself -- again -- that would be one thing,” Coyne wrote. “But, as in the past, the worst damage is likely to be to the country.”

Maclean’s magazine’s Adam Radwanski was a little more succint, writing that Ignatieff "needs to be kept as far from power as possible."

Meanwhile, the CP story prompted uber-blogger Paul Wells to call the campaign Ignatieff organizer David Smith’s “private hell.”

Which is just one of the many anti-Iggy lobs Wells has tossed of late.

All the bad press may be having an effect. On Wednesday, the Star reported that the Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy camps were talking cooperation.

All of which makes this Globe story seem a little premature.

And this Mercer piece a little more prescient.  [Tyee]

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