08.09.2011 07:44 AM

To save time, could any MP who wasn’t a Bloc member please raise their hand?

So, the new NDP leader was separatist, as we found out a few days ago.

And, a member of the Conservative cabinet was a separatist, as we find out today.

So, I’m feelin’ good about that.  I’m thinking: “Hey! Here’s a way we Liberals can embarrass the other two parties! How could they be so stupid, as to let separatists get into positions of power?  We can use this!”

And then...I remember.

Carry on as you were.


  1. Dave M says:

    It’d still be pretty easy to embarrass the other parties over this. You know how?

    You get out there and you scream at the top of your lungs: “THIS IS A DEMOCRACY, AND PEOPLE CAN JOIN WHATEVER PARTIES THEY GOD DAMN PLEASE. All Canadians–sovereignists, federalist, Quebeckers, Albertans–*all* of them have the right to freedom of assembly, because this is a *democracy*. All of them–all of *us*–have the right to join whatever political parties, or have joined whatever political parties they want. Democracy. Hold whatever political beliefs you want, change whatever political beliefs you want. Vote for whatever party you want. Even if it’s sovereignist! We are Liberals, we support our constitution, we support our democracy. Ms. Turmel and Mr. Lebel had every right to have joined the Bloc if they wanted to, and they still have that right. If people aren’t now or didn’t support federalist parties before, the question isn’t “why do they hate Canada?”–the question is why the hell aren’t federalist parties offering them something they want to vote for?”

    Or you can jump up and down and scream “Separatist! Traitors! Sepaaaratist!!!1” and lose all your support in Quebec, ensure either the NDP or (more likely) Bloc win most of the seats there in the next election, and hope that you pick up a few in Ontario to make up for it. (The message would probably play well in Alberta too, but I doubt you’d get any seats for your efforts.)

    • Attack! says:

      Hey, I wish the LPC and their bloggers had kept their traps shut about this, too, and not just for the “Glass Houses” factor,

      but surely the issue isn’t so much being Members of a Party (Red, er, Orange Herring!) despite previous allegiances;

      it’s Representing or even Leading the Party despite previous — or even current — competing allegiances (and seemingly being oblivious to both the rules and the optics about that).

      (And you sure you want a come one, come all policy to Party Membership? Are Neo-Nazis welcome? Mass Murderers?)

      • Dave M says:

        There isn’t a single leader of any party who wasn’t a previously a member (and sometimes, leader) of a different party at some point in their past. I’m not sure how Ms Turmel got away with being a member of two parties simultaneously. Presumably it’s against (both of) the parties’ rules, but that’s entirely an issue for those two parties, not an issue for Canadians. If they don’t care, why should we?

        The CPC (and media, and some Liberals) decided to try to make it an issue of “evil separatist infiltrate (slightly) federalist party!” That does nothing but alienates people who might have even *considered* voting for Evil Separatist Party, which is every Quebecker who isn’t a hardcore federalist. Denigrating their democratic choices might even make them stick their heels in and vote for separatist parties that they otherwise wouldn’t have. (Coincidentally, comparing sovereignists to mass murderers and neo-nazis has the same effect.)

        • Attack! says:

          again, I don’t disagree that it’s been quite regrettable how many Libs have seized upon this, for the reasons you’ve mentioned.

          but I disagreed with how you framed the issue — it wasn’t about who can be members, but who can or should be candidates or leaders

          and I wasn’t comparing or equating sovereignists to mass murderers: I was testing / inviting you to question your implicit claim that political parties don’t have the right to screen their members or rescind the membership of someone whose practices or views are demonstrably antithetical to its own… that ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom of assembly’ or whatever trumps all.

          So, would you quit a Party in protest if it rejected or rescinded the membership of a Paul Bernardo or Clifford Olsen? Or would you care to temper that speech a bit?

          • Dave M says:

            Ah, upon re-reading my original comment, I see how you interpreted it that way.

            I don’t think that parties have no right to control their membership. I meant that people can attempt to join whichever parties they want. Parties, for their part, can allow or disallow whoever they want. *Other* parties have no say in who’s allowed or disallowed in a party.

            The point is–an impassioned defence of freedom of association and democratic rights is more likely to catch the support of soft sovereignists and (small l) liberal leaning voters than a tirade against separatists, as long as it’s impassioned enough to get a few “Man Bites Dog” style headlines.

            Sadly, I don’t think that nuances matter anymore in politics, so I wouldn’t even bother to temper it.. just keep ranting about how it’s everyone’s democratic right if pressed. Not backing down or admitting you’re wrong seems to be the only thing that’s effective in politics. (See: gravy train)

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