Sunday, August 5, 2012


I realized on this lazy Sunday that I've never actually sat down and read the Sherbrooke Declaration, which we've heard some about and will probably hear much more as the NDP claims it's on its way to government. It being Sunday, I'm not going to organize these thoughts, but here are some bullets as I go.

  • Gratuitous attack on the LPC re: the sponsorship scandal childish, but to be expected. 
    • For the record, there's nothing about the Liberal approach to anything that has anything to do with the whole thing. Bad people did bad things. Do we get to blame the NDP for everything any NDP member has ever done? Because that would be a helpful precedent.
  • "The NDP, unlike the Liberal or Conservative parties, believes that society cannot be based solely on the primacy of the individual".  
    • Well. Speaking for myself, I think the "solely" is doing a lot of work. I think society has to be based on the primacy of the individual, because nothing else is workable. 
    • Group rights are necessarily divisive, and take power away from people to give them to people who "identify" as a group government wants to give rights and power to, and to group leaders. But there's no reason that the individuals government is limited to working with can't decide they want to do things together. The silliness in the NDP position is the idea that this can only happen if government (an NDP one, obviously) takes away from individuals and gives to groups - I know that individuals can, and do, do things for themselves.
  • "The NDP recognizes the national character of Quebec". 
    • My position on this is simple. If the whole nation thing is just talk, then that's fine, but I don't think it'll do any good kissing up to the separatists without teeth. If it has teeth, then it's unacceptable. Every Canadian deserves to have the same share and stake in the national government.
  • Oh, and there it is - "asymmetry". Ridiculous, and unfair.
  • I love the idea that we can have national programs, just not for every province. Then you just don't have a national government in Quebec, you have something else. Also ridiculous.
  • "The NDP recognizes that there is currently an imbalance in public finances because the federal government has large surpluses while the provinces are looking at considerably higher costs, particularly in the area of health and education."
    • Lucky for us, I love explaining how dumb this is, and it's actually really easy.  Here's the thing. We have a federation (something the Sherbrooke Declaration explains repeatedly). In our case, both federal and provincial levels have taxation powers. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but we pay income taxes to both levels, and different amounts - same goes for sales taxes. The bunk the NDP is laying out here is not a reason for the national government to give money to the provinces. When the federal government raises taxes and gives them to the provinces, they're taking money from everyone in Canada to give them to the provincial governments, there needs to be a reason. If the problem is "surpluses at one level, and deficits at another", that doesn't justify anything. The federal government can lower taxes (or not) and the provinces can raise taxes (or not). Having the Feds take taxes and give the money out is just useless in this case. For national programs (which this appears to say the NDP isn't real into, in most areas) there's an argument - the federal government is ensuring that we have one program across the country for some reason, like cost saving or nation-building. But because of balance sheet issues? Dumb as rocks.
  • "As a social democratic party, the NDP will, in any negotiations, defend and demand respect of the principles of universality, non-privatization and of not-for-profit endeavours". 
    •  I don't think I'm even being nasty by asking what the hell universality means if Quebec gets to exclude itself...
    • "Non-privatization" as a principle drives right at one of my biggest problems with the NDP (and, in the other side of the mirror, the CPC). It's just a childish, silly principle to "hold".
      • Privatization isn't a good thing, nor is "non-privatization" (possibly phrased that way because they don't want to talk about nationalization anymore). They're both just tools to try to give Canadians the best deal we can. 
      • I actually tend to agree that we've over-privatized, and should definitely not privatize more as a "magic bullet" (something that comes out of "conservative" parties). I don't see that the evidence shows a lot of the services we've privatized has helped anyone.
      • But to say it's a principle doesn't make sense. Maybe there are things government does that it shouldn't. Maybe there are things it should do that it doesn't (or used to do any now should). But trying to say that's a principle just betrays... well, something, in my opinion. Maybe it's code for something I didn't get, maybe it's just trying to show a (silly) orientation that whenever possible government should do things. I don't know.
      • One more on that- it's about ends, not means. Let's get the best government we can, together, instead of being locked down by ideological commitments (like this one, others are fine).
    • Totally fine with the latter, by the way - big fan of not-for-profits, don't know quite what it means, but OK.
  • "It is clear that giving Quebec guarantees regarding asymmetry and respect for provincial jurisdiction could go a long way toward promoting greater cooperation". 
    • I don't think "clear" and "could" are very good fits together. Let's get an editor, shall we?
    • And I think this is far from clear.
    • Insofar as it is clear, what's clear is that yes, handing stuff over makes cooperation easier, in that you don't have to cooperate anymore - Quebec just is its own country.
  • And here's the big one (right after rejecting the Secession Reference and endorsing Quebec's "Referendum Law") - "The NDP would recognize a majority decision (50%+1) of the Quebec people in the event of a referendum" (oh, and then they reject the Clarity Act).
    • Well. First, it's insane to break up a country because two people take sick on voting day, or when things are fluid and the separatists just hit the right day.
    • I still haven't heard anyone do any sort of good job explaining why the separatists get to try again and again and again, and then now (in NDP land) 50%+1 equals no country. Is the NDP aware there were other referenda in which separation was rejected?
    • What about smaller groups within Quebec, like Aborginal groups and Montreal? Do they get to leave the new country if they vote to go? Or is the NDP, in it's infinite wisdom, sure that this particular group right accrues only on this one level? What's the rule? Where's the line?
Well, there you have my thoughts. Happy to hear from you in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent. PET was right in saying that you don't suck up to separatists. It's incremental separation and you will never give separatists enough to be happy until they separate.