23 September 2015

William Johnson: Statesmanship at last

Statesmanship at last

 ... the news filtered out that the federal government had, Wednesday, intervened in a court challenge launched by private citizens against Bill 99, passed by former premier Lucien Bouchard, decreeing that Quebec can secede at will, its present territory intact, with just 50 per cent of the votes plus one, in a referendum where Quebec alone sets the rules. 
As Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells revealed, the federal government argues in a submission to Quebec Superior Court that Bill 99 is unconstitutional. As the news spread, all of Quebec’s political party leaders circled the wagons, indignantly defending the indefensible ... 
As premier, Charest defended Bill 99 before Quebec Superior Court when it was challenged by former Equality Party leader Keith Henderson, McGill law professor Stephen Scott and lawyer Brent Tyler. Bill 99 manifestly repudiated the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling, in the secession reference, that Quebec could only secede legally via an amendment to the Constitution, itself requiring the consent of Parliament and at least seven provinces ...

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