Politics

Justin Trudeau, Jean Chrétien slam NDP's stance on Quebec secession

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau brought out former prime minister Jean Chrétien on the campaign trail today, rallying up the party faithful in Hamilton and slamming the NDP for its stance on Quebec secession.

Liberals accuse NDP's Tom Mulcair of wanting to put separation back on the table

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau slam NDP leader Tom Mulcair over pledge to abolish Clarity Act. Mulcair responds. 2:31

With the old guard come the old battles.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau brought out former prime minister Jean Chrétien on the campaign trail today, rallying up the party faithful in Hamilton and slamming the NDP for its stance on Quebec secession.

"It is completely irresponsible," Chrétien said today, addressing voters in a region where most seats belong to either the NDP or Conservatives.

It was unclear to many why the Liberals chose to bring up the issue at this point in the electoral race.

"[Mulcair] says I'm talking about problems that don't exist, but I'm not the one who rose it first," Chrétien said.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair made headlines in June when he brought up the party's so-called Sherbrooke Declaration of 2005, a document that stated Quebec should be granted "specific powers and room for manoeuvring."

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      With that declaration, the party endorsed the principle of recognizing a referendum victory by the sovereigntist Yes side, even if it were by a majority of 50 per cent plus one.

      That clashes with the federal Clarity Act, which calls for the need for a "clear majority."

      Trudeau said Mulcair "wants to roll the dice. He wants to put separation back on the table, and turn the clock back 20 years."

      "All Tom Mulcair's experience in politics has taught him is to play politics with anything and everything — including with the unity of this country to gain a few votes from separatists. That's not leadership." 

      'Quarrels of the past'

      Mulcair brushed off the criticism earlier in the day, accusing Chrétien of "trying to revive the quarrels of the past because he sees a political advantage."

      "I'll let Justin Trudeau continue with his golden oldies tour," he said in Vancouver. "We're talking about solving the problems for the future."
      Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is leaning on the old guard to help out his election campaign, bringing out former prime minister Jean Chrétien to rally up the party faithful. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

      Chrétien penned an open letter published by a number of newspapers yesterday decrying Stephen Harper's response to the Syrian refugee crisis. He said Harper had helped to cast Canada as a "cold-hearted" nation among the international community and that his actions have "shamed Canada."

      A few weeks ago, Trudeau's campaign got another boost from another former prime minister: Paul Martin. 

      Martin tagged along on the campaign trail and offered choice words to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, calling the former the "King of Deficits" and accusing the latter of "holding hands" with the Tories on a path to fiscal ruin. 

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