Liberal Leadership Candidate Bob Rae warns about reopening Constitution

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Michael Ignatieff wants to reopen the Constitution to have a debate about Quebec as a nation within Canada. It is to be debated at the convention two days before the new leader is chosen.

Bob Rae, current Liberal leadership candidate, warned about reopening the Constitution.

According to Ignatieff's website it says that Rae "supported the notion that Quebec is a nation," and "we can be both a Quebecker and a Canadian."

"I'm not somebody who is going to set this country on a constitutional adventure, whose consequences and whose outcome I'm not certain of," Rae said. "For me, what's important is to stay open to Quebec, but we will not reopen the Constitution," he said yesterday at an Ottawa book signing for his new book, Canada In The Balance.

The other seven leadership contenders have expressed their feelings on this issue saying that they have some discomfort with it.

Former Liberal PM Jean Chrétien, repeatedly said in the past that Canada was working well and most people did not care about changing the Constitution.

"They say that when you have a nation, there must be a corresponding state to this nation. That is the equation they make," said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Benoît Pelletier. "They have the impression that each state must correspond to a single nation. That is false. States can be made up of a plurality of nations. The sovereigntists make the same mistake."

"You should not raise expectations that cannot be met and we should not be engaging in an abstract debate in this country at this point in time. We should be focusing our attention on issues that really matter to people," says Rae.

Ignatieff will outline his ideas for Quebec being a nation within Canada at the convention two days before the new leader will be picked in Montreal, December 3.

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