15 June 2018

Notes: NDP "Unity" Act v. Clarity Act

The NDP's Unity Act, a private member's bill drafted by the party, spells out that a bare majority of 50% plus one vote would be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec’s secession, provided that the referendum question was clear and that there were no “determinative irregularities” in the vote and in the 'spending limits'.

The bill says that the Quebec National Assembly — by definition, directed by a Parti Québécois government — would have the right to table the question. 

The government of Canada would be able to object, but would have to take those objections to the Quebec Court of Appeal.
The Clarity Act, based on a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada,  specifies that the federal government will not negotiate secession unless a clear majority votes Yes on a clear referendum question. 
It does not specify what constitutes a clear majority, allowing parliamentarians to take into account the eligible voter turnout rate, valid votes cast in favour of separation, voting irregularities, and other factors, before concluding whether the result is sufficiently unambiguous to warrant divorce talks.

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