Update: From today's Star:
Cementing himself as the candidate of the Pierre Trudeau wing of the Liberal party, sources said Kennedy conferred with the former prime minister's eldest son, Justin, about the issue over the weekend.
Justin Trudeau has already endorsed his candidacy and today Pierre Trudeau's former principal secretary, Tom Axworthy, will also climb aboard the Kennedy bandwagon.
Liberal leadership hopeful Gerard Kennedy has decided to buck the tide of political opinion, coming out against a parliamentary motion recognizing Quebecers as a nation within a united Canada.
The Canadian Press has learned that Kennedy will issue a statement Monday opposing the motion, just as the House of Commons prepares to debate the surprise resolution introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week.
In so doing, Kennedy will become the only Liberal leadership contender to reject the motion, which has been embraced with varying degrees of unease by his seven rival candidates, Harper's Conservatives, most Liberal MPs and the New Democrats. Even the separatist Bloc Quebecois has come on side.
Kennedy has only two per cent support among Quebec delegates to the leadership convention in Montreal and, therefore, little to lose by distinguishing himself from his rivals.
He could also be hailed as a hero by the so-called Trudeau federalists in the party, who agree with the late Liberal icon Pierre Trudeau's adamant rejection of anything that smacks of special status for Quebec. The former prime minister's sons, Justin and Alexandre Trudeau, have spoken out against the motion. Justin last week endorsed Kennedy.
Kennedy’s stance would appear to be a complete 180 from his previous attempts to cool the passions stirred when Michael Ignatieff first Ignite-d the issue. From the Globe:
The resolution could reignite a divisive convention battle that the Liberals thought they had narrowly avoided when Mr. Harper unexpectedly introduced a motion calling for Quebeckers to be recognized as a nation within a united Canada — countering a Bloc Québécois version. A similar Liberal Party resolution, endorsed by Mr. Ignatieff, sparked a backlash against his campaign from Liberals outside Quebec, and his rivals, notably Mr. Rae and Mr. Dion, criticized the Liberal motion as divisive.
Mr. Kennedy, who had acted as peacemaker in that battle and preached a calming of emotions, may now emerge as the leader of those who oppose recognizing Quebec as a nation, although campaign insiders said he does not want to be a rallying point for opponents.
Dead men tell no tales, the saying goes. But in the Liberal party they can still vote (hello, Joe Volpe!). And sometimes they set policy for leadership candidates.