Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More on Turmel

It is unfortunate that Chantal Hébert was on vacation when the Turmel story broke.  Her column today is a gem:
The reality is that those who ran for the NDP in the last campaign and the vast majority of those who voted for them did so not to revisit the debates of the past but because they wanted to move on.

Many wanted to resume contributing more directly to Canada’s federal life to help craft a progressive alternative to the Conservatives.

A survey commissioned by the now-defunct Canadian Unity Information Office a few years ago revealed that a majority of Quebecers refused to identify themselves as federalists or sovereigntists.

Large numbers of them want out of that particular box....

To all intents and purposes, those who leaked details of interim leader Nycole Turmel’s past links with the Bloc are playing a longer game than that of embarrassing the NDP at a time of relative fragility.

For the moribund Bloc, the best hope for revival lies with a successful demonstration that there is no room within Canada’s national parties for nationalist Quebecers — or at least not unless they are willing to atone for the way they exercised their voting franchise in the past.

It looks like sovereigntist strategists can count on outside help to achieve their purpose.

Alone of all members of Parliament, Quebec’s New Democrats are being asked to account for their past political leanings.

Some self-appointed high priests of federalism have gone as far as suggesting that a public recanting of anything that smacks of a sovereigntist belief is also in order.
The editors of the Globe and Mail, Liberal leader Bob Rae and Stéphan Dion fit the definition of "high priests" as far as TC is concerned. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Another op-ed on the subject worth reading is this one published earlier in the Toronto Star by University of Ottawa academic Claude Denis. An excerpt:
What political planet do English-speaking Canadians live on?

The majority of francophone Quebecers have voted for the Bloc Québécois for the past 20 years. A strong majority of Quebec francophones voted “yes” to sovereignty in 1995. Most of the Quebec left has been sovereignist for a good four decades. So if you’re a francophone Quebecer and you’re on the left, chances are you are or have been a supporter of at least one sovereignist party.

None of this is news or surprising. Is there something not clear? Nycole Turmel is a left-wing, francophone Quebecer. She has been socially and politically active for 30 years. Of course she has had ties to the sovereignist movement.