Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 27 1990, Page 10

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 27, 1990, Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg free press May Page 7 issues Meech Lake Mendes special to the free press across the we Are witnessing the decline of the nation yet across the world we Are witnessing a Resur gence of can we make sense of this puzzling Paradox paradoxes Are not meant to be made sense but we can Intuit the forces behind the emergence of and sacred symbols lie behind this particular in countries that can truly Call themselves majority and minority political cultures will some argue that the United states is not a politically pluralist even though it May be ethnically and racially it seems to be a society that is unified for the most part behind the sacred Symbol of the Constitution that enshrines the Primacy of individual Liberty and Freedom Over the group or societal but a nation state that is truly that has a majority and minority political has some difficult choices to the majority and the minority cultures will each have their sacred sym nationalism arises when the majority culture refuses to allow the minority cultures to keep their sacred symbols intact and hence their self perceived and there is no better country to teach this lesson to the world than Canada in the Middle of the Meech Lake constitutional the supremacy of the rights and freedoms in the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms is of subject to reasonable limits demonstrably justified in a free and democratic i Felt this Canada clause would work because the clause itself contained a Paradox the supremacy of one sacred Symbol charter rights would be affirmed but subject to the effective working of the other sacred Symbol distinct society within the context of legislative measures deemed necessary to preserve and promote that distinct these legislative measures would have to be proved to the courts to be reasonable limits demonstrably justified in a free and democratic this is the wording taken from Section 1 of the and is the chief method by which All interpretive clauses Are designed to work this would have been entirely acceptable to Premier Robert Bourassa and other premiers be cause both on its symbolic face and in technical constitutional terminal neither of the sacred symbols wins or it would in the final analysis be up to the and not overzealous collectivists or individual rights to keep the individual human Good and the collective human Good of the Franco phone majority in Quebec in Equi Librium under the symbolic face but As Long As any recommendation on its symbolic face indicates that one or other of the sacred symbols have triumphed Over the chances of Resolution of the crisis is minimal and the Fate of Canada edges closer to the it is now almost the special Meech Lake constitutional committee of the House of com Mons has handed Down a report that aimed at reconciliation of the conflicting symbols of Quebec and English speaking the major conflict is the relationship Between the newly acquired Canadian charter of rights and freedoms and the clause in the Meech Lake Accord giving the que counsellor Bee government and legislature the role to preserve and promote the distinct society in without wishing to detract from this distinct society clause the committee recommended that the first ministers affirm that the linguistic society clause in no Way impairs the effectiveness of the charter of rights and further affirm an interpretive it works with the Carter and does not override the rights and freedoms in counting the premiers noses Ottawa take Don for he according to popu Lar part of the he is to All appearances a staunch and unfailing ally of Meech to use the prime ministers description the other but listen closely to what he said As he emerged from his meeting with prime minister Brian Mulroney thursday he first of i have this terrible feeling that we Are capable of blowing that we Are capable of losing some thing As precious As our coun listen some to his subsequent comment on the propos Al for a Sunset clause affecting the unanimity requirement for sen ate viewed by Many observers As the key to breaking the entire Meech Lake the Sunset clause would provide that if after three years Reform cannot be reached under the unanimity provi the approval of Only seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population would be including two provinces from the two from the Atlantic prov and wants a veto if some one is going to have a i want said one cannot take this comment Manitoba three parties Are ready to accept the Sunset which will continue to have its own has what it entered the negotiations wanting in the first Newfoundland is problematic As even though it has vigorously objected to the unanimity requirement in the but from the Man who is generally accepted As a staunch Meech Lake is the rejection that could kill Meech and goes on to Tell us we Are capable of blowing this is not to make Don Getty the though it is virtually certain Getty is repeating an argument he made three years which had Quebec requested veto trans formed into the troublesome unanimity requirement it is reason Able to wonder after All the the Premier has failed to gain any new insights into the the amiable Getty remains much less difficult to contend than Clyde Wells or Gary who appears to believe his Joan Cohen Ottawa editor Best contribution to this Long negotiating Effort is to go into even in the 12th month of the third year of Meech and despite All the comings and there is no sign the necessary dialogue is under it is possible that Canadas first ministers Are blowing this because they Are talk ing about the wrong Meech Lake is not about one province being Superior in status to All the others it is not about All or one having the Power of at the veto is a Quebec sees itself not As one of 10 so much As a distinctive social with not Only its distinctive language and cultural mix but its distinctive set of preoccupations and no interference its government is Content to with the same Powers As Are accorded other prov and to see the Federal govern ment act in its 29 or so Constitution Al it wants to it can use without inter Ference the Powers granted it to shape that quite French dominated and to assure its survival on the otherwise anglophone dominated the fact that it is now an educate entrepreneurial so with some of Canadas most formidable Industrial has increasingly Given this society a sense of its own Worth and via Bili yet in All As Robert Bourassa has managed to it wants to be part of and share its destiny As Bourassa has done Little to make this to explain his pro Vinces distinctive vision of and the reason Why he feels the five proposals encompassed in Meech Lake Are he any not to be certainly Lucien the newly de parted Leader of the Quebec Federal never tried to make the Case in anglophone thus the Meech Lake debate has not been held on the basis of the vision Quebec is of the challenges it but rather in terms of the thou shall not of outside politicians and special in Terest the Basic purpose of the exercise never quite articulate is there room still for a to pull the debate Back to its Essen tial Points to take Getty if he thinks fairness in a federation with Only one predominantly French language province should be a mat Ter of counting premiers chief Justice what if the soon retire Canad an chief Justice Brian for were to sit at Brian Mulroney Side in a series of closed sessions at a first ministers meet ing from his Independent per be allowed to explore the arguments being put on the and those that might be with his extraordinary reputation for Wisdom and the chief Justice might just be Able to prod uce the magic that has been miss ing for so it is a role he could not have been called on to play so Long As he was in there is clearly no ques Tion of amending Meech the Job is to get agreement on the additional tasks that must be car ried out if the Accord is to be and with a method found that will assure All concerned that the promises made will be much of Canada today agrees with Don we have a terrible feeling that these men do not know How to get their act do not know How to make a rational Appeal to the likes of Clyde and the always invisible Gary gentle but unmistakable warnings Are being sounded about the disastrous route Cana Das premiers Are taking us it is virtually impossible to devise a scenario that will see Canada re pairing itself after a Meech Lake Quebec wants to get on with the Job of building its francophone dominated if it cannot get the necessary and encourage from its erstwhile then the Quebec have their political leaders to do it under an alternative no group is Likely to be less interested in sticking around to see How it All turns out than outsiders with Good solid Cash to just watch what happens to our Dollar when no one likes it any if nationalists in Quebec were All constitutional experts perhaps they could live with this recommend because they would know that in the courts the implementation of the recommendation would have very if effect on the operation of the distinct society clause As it exists in the Meech Lake but nationalist que who now seem to be in the majority in Are not constitutional they perceive primarily the sym Bolic meaning of constitutional Lan and the symbolic meaning of the language used by the com Mittee leads to the wrong conclusion that the with the agreement of most of English speaking has unanimously agreed to recommend subordination of their sacred Symbol of the distinct society to that of the sacred Symbol of the rest of namely the charter of first impressions Only ski on the surface of to mention a sacred Symbol Only in the context that it does not impair the effectiveness of or override another sacred leads most to per haps erroneously conclude that the first Symbol is overridden by the latter dont understand perhaps this is Why Bourassa upon hearing of the committees that English Canada just does not understand i was aware of this potential problem when i appeared As a constitutional expert before the committee and recommended Sev eral ways to break the some of them seem to have been adopted by the such As the regional veto Sunset clause for Mula for Senate in addressing the problem of the clash of the sacred i had suggested an extended Canada clause As demanded by Manitoba in the preamble of the Constitution whose language would indicate that no sacred Symbol from any part of Canada had triumphed Over any the clause i had suggested read As follows the confederation of Canada proclaims its unique National Iden Tity by recognizing that its Constitution reflects As fundamental characteristics its cultural and linguistic including the distinct society in the aboriginal and treaty rights of the first nations of Canada and the multicultural heritage of All Cana while adhering to the Legal Equality of All the provinces and without affecting the ability of the Federal parliament to act in the National interest under Section 91 of the constitutional act a big boost for separatism m ont real a few Days prime minister Brian Mulroney invited certain Quebec members of the conserva Tive caucus to pack it in if they could not accept his governments approach to keeping Canada Ogeth that is exactly what some of them have now the conditional federalists and crypt Osepa artists in Mulroney caucus have come out of the led by Lucien who provoked his own or As environment a handful of Quebec conservatives now sit in the Canadian parliament As independents supporting sovereignty for Quebec in an economic association with the rest of these which under line the crisis atmosphere in que Bec politics Over the impending failure of the Meech Lake constitutional will probably Hurt they will make it All the More difficult for Mulroney and Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa to reach any son of Compromise on Meech they will probably strengthen the growing View Here that Quebec has no future in con they will hearted the separatist parti which believes it has the wind in its and is overjoyed at having a que Bec bloc of supporters in Parlia wait the in some might also help who has Long been suspected of harbouring separatists in his Cabinet and his the ones who left were those who would not Compromise on Meech and who would not even wait another month until time runs out on the Effort to find a a Federal party representing the whole nation can not live forever with members who have Given up on the a Federal government can not live forever with a minister As Bouchard sends a Public Mes Sage of support wishing a secessionist party James Stewart in Quebec Mulroney will have a More unit More cohesive at least for the next few he can also take Comfort in the fact that the vast majority of his 62 Quebec maps Are standing by More determined than Ever to keep que Bec in the Federal the Loyal ones include important ministers like Benoit Bouchard and Marcel Masse who want to save the Meech Lake Accord and Are prepared to work for that at least until the Accord is formally pronounced confirmed suspicion those who quit Mulroney Cau however do reflect a Large body of opinion in Quebec which believes that the protracted negotiations on Meech Lake constitute a Clear rejection of que the Charest committee of with its list of 23 recommendations to be dealt with in a com Panion Only confirmed the suspicions of these and probably of the Bourassa govern ment they see an whose Origi Nal purpose was to bring Quebec willingly into the being expanded to include the shop Ping lists of several other they see a lot of politicians getting together to try to Amend Meech Lake while pretending not Bourassa himself is exasperated and wondering Why he should be expected to react to changes that seem aimed at under mining the distinct society Sta Tus accorded Quebec in Meech and six other provinces representing 93 per cent of the Canadian have Al ready ratified the and Bourassa does not see Why he should be expected to Start negotiating Meech Lake All Over Bourassa is also in political Trou ble at his liberals Are now running behind the pm in the his own party May split into Feder Alist and nationalist factions if Meech Lake Bourassa himself is Likely to head in a More nationalist by inclination and by Reading the More Quebe cers support separatism than at any time since the late the number of Quebe cers who say they would prefer to live in an Independent Quebec increased to 41 per cent from 32 per in no according to an Angus Reid though a majority of 54 per cent still say they would prefer to remain in Gallup reported that 61 per cent of Quebe cers now favor so a big in crease in the past six one May just what sovereignty association Means to Many of those the Stan Dard definition is for a completely Independent country of Quebec which would have a voluntary eco nomic or common Market and common with the rest of stay in parliament for 55 per cent of it Doest seem to mean they say Quebec should continue to be represented in the Feder Al parliament in a Sovereign Tyas Socia Tion and 43 per cent say Quebec should continue to get equalization payments from of that kind of misunderstanding shows the main weakness of polls that purport to measure a rapid upswing in support for ind Epen the prefers to ignore that and glory in the boost the party thinks it is getting from frustrated including frustrated tory maps in the party is indeed getting a boost from those but the pm and the whole idea of Independence is getting an even bigger boost from the apparent rejection of Meech Lake and que Bec by English or at least by three of the smaller

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