Singh and the Sovereignists

Singh in Alma - Jacques Boissinot, CP.jpg

Alma is a mid-sized town in the Québec riding of Lac Saint-Jean, which happens to have the lowest percentage of immigrants (0.69 %) and anglophones (0.39 %) in the province. It is, in other words, almost uniformly Québécois and sovereignist. Last week NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stopped by (ahead of the October 23 by-election) and said that if Quebecers should vote to separate from Canada, "We will respect the decision of the people, without fail, without a doubt." Outside Québec, Singh was accused of playing footsie with the sovereignists—much as "le bon Jack" Layton was criticized in 2011 for endorsing asymmetrical federalism. Polls show that there is no appetite in Quebec for sovereignty at the moment, which makes Singh's talk relatively cheap. But make no mistake. Separatists like PQ leader Jean-François Lisée are as committed as ever to the creation of an independent Québécois state, and they will play the long game if they have to. Lisée must be très heureux with Singh's clarity on the sovereignty question.