Solomon: Stéphane Dion was the author of the Clarity Act. He said that was the best way to fight the separatists, not reopening a constitutional debate like Michael Ignatieff wants to do. How would you respond?
Ignatieff: I don't want to reignite a constitutional debate. He's putting words in my mouth that I've never expressed. What I've said is - what I've said is, and it's a fact that Stéphane has to acknowledge and Bob Rae has to acknowledge - we all have to acknowledge - Quebec has not signed our constitution. Until they've signed, the constitutional architecture of our country is not complete. That's not a fact I made up. That's a fact that's been present in our national life since 1982.
First off, Dion is right. The point is to say to separatists: You take it or you leave it. And if you're leaving, you leave, not with some weasily deceptive questions. An end to blackmail. Further, "the constitutional architecture . . . is not complete." Bullshit. Aboslute bullshit. First, all but one of the MPs from Quebec voted for the Constitution. Just because some little provincial despot presiding over provincial powers didn't endorse the Federal constitution doesn't mean that the constitutional "architecture" is not complete (and who, other than an academic, would phrase things that way? Sure, it might look good in a paper to talk about constitutional structures and keystones and flying buttresses, but in the real world, it's just nonsense. To paraphrase Dion, Canada works better in practice than on paper. It's worked just fine since 1982, and our current Golden Age has happened even if the document isn't Iggy's perfect document.
Ignatieff: I go to small rooms in Saskatoon, I go to small rooms in Grand Prairie, Alberta, I go to small rooms in Alberta, I go to small rooms in Nova Scotia, and I'm asked this question and I talk about it. Never underestimate the good faith, the warm-heartedness, the generosity, the openness of the Canadian people, the willingness of Canadians to make our federation work and find ways -
Solomon: More generous than they were during the Meech Lake Accord?
Ignatieff: Never underestimate the Canadian people. Never underestimate their generosity. Never underestimate their openheartedness. Never underestimate their political courage. Remember one thing here. I was at the '68 convention where Trudeau was choosen as our leader. There wasn't a person in that room who if you'd asked them in '68 would have said that by 1982, we would have a repatriated Canadian Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The thing about politics is what seems completely impossible at one moment becomes possible later on, in conditions which we can't predict. And one of the reasons it becomes possible is we're a great people.
Such nonsense. First, he's doing his small rooms thing. As my blogging partner in crime has pointed out, what exactly does this mean? And second: "Never underestimate the Canadian people." WTF? That entire paragraph is nonsense. We weren't so "generous" during Meech and during Charlottown. My idea of national generousity certainly doesn't mean compromising the integrity of my country. It doesn't mean bowing and scraping to a few separatist traitors who harbour resentment for every wrong allegely visted upon them by virtue of their place in the Canadian nation.
And hearing some guy who's been out of the country for 30 years give a lecture on the Canadian people is also nonsense.
And then: He can't even answer the "what if Alberta says it's a nation?" question, which I think is the very logical extension of his nonsensical position on national unity.
Ignatieff: Let's, let's remember what we, what we have in common and reinforce what we have in common: the equality of our citizenship, the equality of all the provinces and territories who form our federation. Those bedrocks of our constitutional reality must never change and would never change under my leadership. The issue for us is how we recognize another thing, which is constitutive of our country and has been for forever. Namely, that we're, we're composed of collective groups who have strong collective identities. It's for those groups and for our country to work out a discussion about who those are. But we've already acknowledged -
Solomon: But this isn't a Joe Clark community of communities, is it?
Ignatieff: No, it's not. It's not - it's absolutely not. It's not because we're held together by a spine of equal citizenship. We're held together by the equality of provinces.
Iggy would be a disaster. In so many ways.