Remember after last fall’s Historic Health Accord, when Paul Martin fixed health care for a generation? And a few of us (Spector, Coyne, Gwynn) pointed out that the health accord was actually a new constitutional regime that implemented substantial elements of the Meech Lake Accord? And Team Martin was celebrating a new era of “asymmetric federalism”? And the Parti Quebecois was celebrating because they knew, better than anyone, just what a profound concession it was?
Well, they’re at it again. The Federal Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler (who I liked, once upon a time), has decided that he’ll “seriously consider candidates proposed by the Quebec government to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court.”
That it is to say, he’s prepared to cede yet another federal power to Quebec. On what grounds? Here’s how the honourable member put it:
“I recognize that Quebec isn’t a province like the others,” Cotler told The Canadian Press. “For me, it’s not a problem: Quebec is a distinct society.”
Right: So Irwin Cotler is prepared to accept a constitutional devolution of powers, on the grounds that Quebec is a distinct society.
That’s what Meech said. And that is why it was rejected.
They are still celebrating over at PQ HQ.