Fortier calls for neverendum-referendums

09.30.10

Oh, this is just brilliant:

A former Harper cabinet minister’s politically radical idea that Quebec be required — by law — to hold an independence referendum every 15 years is being swiftly mocked.

Michael Fortier, the Tories’ one-time public-works minister, argued Thursday that mandatory referendums would actually help Quebec move beyond its eternal unity debates.

Referendums brought Canada to the brink of rupture in 1980 and 1995 but, Fortier says, mandatory plebiscites would at least ensure 14 years of peace between votes.

His idea was emphatically ridiculed by the Prime Minister’s Office and Quebec’s federalist politicians Thursday.

But is it such a dumb idea? Really, what Fortier was calling for was to have designated periods, spaced far apart, for the national unity question to be discussed, and for everyone to shut up about the sovereignty debate the rest of the time.

There’s just one problem with that theory: We don’t need any more referendums in order to shut up about sovereignty. We just need to stop talking about it. Which, need I point out, we pretty much already have been… until Fortier opened his big mouth.

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