What would an NDP Prime Minister do in the event of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Quebec? by Tony Kondaks

Would an NDP Prime Minister violate his Oath of Office if he implemented his partys Sherbrooke Declaration as government policy?
Anyone who desires to become the leader of the New Democratic Party must clarify their position regarding his party Sherbrooke Declaration of 2005.  The NDP aspires to one day form the Government of Canada and, in such an event, its leader would then accede to the Office of Prime Minister.  The question must therefore be asked whether the Sherbrooke
Declaration is in conflict with the Oath of Office of Prime Minister, the Constitution and
the National Defence Act.

What would an NDP Prime Minister do if a Unilateral Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by the Government of Quebec?

Please consider the following:
Excerpts from the Sherbrooke Declaration (Statement adopted by the General Council of the NDP Quebec Section 2005):
The NDP recognizes Quebec right to self-determination, which implies the right of the people of Quebec to decide freely its own political and constitutional future.  This right can be expressed in various ways and can go as far as achieving sovereignty. (page 7)

...and...

Therefore, the NDP is committed to respect, in all its dealings, the Loi quebecoise sur la consultation populaire (Quebec Referendum Act).  Also, the NDP would recognize a majority decision (50% + 1) of the Quebec people in the event of a referendum on the political status of Quebec.  The NDP recognizes as well that the right to self-determination implies
that the Assemblee nationale is able to write a referendum question and that the citizens of Quebec are able to answer it freely.  It would be to the Federal government to determine its own process in the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling and under international law, in response to the results of the popular consultation in Quebec.

According to its values, the NDP rejects also any use of -- or threat of -- force against Quebec at any stage.  Our vision is one of trust toward democracy, good faith and values of peace.  (page 8)

The Oath of Office that the Prime Minister of Canada takes reads as follows:

I, (name), do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear (or declare) that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trust reposed in me as Prime Minister, so help me God. [source: Wikipedia, search Oath of Office]

Here are some of the powers vested in the Prime Minister (read Prime Minister when you see Governor in Council) as per the National Defence Act (Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, c. N-5):

273.6 (2) (a) The Governor in Council, or the Minister on the request of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or any other Minister, may issue directions authorizing the Canadian Forces to provide assistance in respect of any law enforcement matter if the Governor in Council or the Minister, as the case may be, considers that the
assistance is in the national interest;

...and...

31. (1) (a)The Governor in Council may place the Canadian Forces or any component, unit or other element thereof or any officer or non-commissioned member thereof on active service anywhere in or beyond Canada at any time when it appears advisable to do so by reason of an emergency, for the defence of Canada;

What exactly is the ‘trust’ that the Prime Minister vows to truly and faithfully execute to the best of his skill and knowledge pursuant to his oath of office?

Above all else, I believe that trust is to uphold the Constitution of Canada and the rule of law. It is also clear from both the Supreme Court Reference case and the constitution amending formula that a UDI by Quebec would be unconstitutional and outside the rule of law. This is particularly true for a UDI following a referendum with a result close to a 50% outcome.

If a UDI is unconstitutional, is it not reasonable to assume that the Prime Minister must -- again as the Oath stipulates -- use all of the powers reposed in him to uphold the constitution?  The language used in the National Defence Act, cited above, is may, not must.  However, the language of the Oath is much less ambiguous, and the the powers vested in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet include the use of the armed forces of Canada under the National Defence Act.  Any law -- whether it be jaywalking, burglary, or insurrection -- can only be enforced under the threat of police power.  That, simply, is how the rule of law is upheld.

I believe it is incumbent upon any person aspiring to become Leader of the NDP to clarify his or her position vis a vis the use of force by the Canadian Government in the event of a UDI and, if different from the Sherbrooke Declaration, to state that differing position.

Tony Kondaks is the author of, Why Canada Must End’ which is available in its entirety online at:  www.WhyCanadaMustEnd.com . He can be reached at: tkondaks@gmail.com