21 May 2016

Quebec's historical demands

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/senate-expenses-spur-outrage-but-reform-abolition-not-easily-done-1.3031249

The Quebec government has said that any talks about the Senate would have to be broadened to deal with that province's "historical requests," such as recognition of its distinctiveness and demands for more powers — the same divisive issues on which the last two constitutional ventures, the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, foundered. First Nations leaders would likely insist that aboriginal issues be part of the mix as well.

approval over appointment of Quebec judges to the Supreme Court of Canada
opting out of shared-cost programs in provincial jurisdiction,  with full compensation for compatible programs
recognition of a distinct society in the constitution
more powers (e.g., communications)
and a veto over constitutional amendments

Do we need a referendum for electoral reform?




No. In fact, bringing in PR around the world is very rarely preceded by a
referendum. Among 90 countries, Switzerland (1918) and New Zealand
(1996) are the only two examples. Many changes in Canada such as the
secret ballot, and giving women and Aboriginals the right to vote, were
brought in without a referendum. The voting system has been changed in
Canada at the municipal and provincial level 7 times. With 12
committees/assemblies, 50 years of research, and parties representing
63% of voters which campaigned on “making every vote count” in 2019, the government has a mandate to act.

16 May 2016

Freedom of religion under the Canadian Charter(s) of (Human) Rights and Freedoms

Larry Miller and the case against the niqab - Macleans.ca



Freedom of religion under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ) consists of the freedom to undertake practices and harbour beliefs, having a nexus with religion, in which an individual demonstrates he or she sincerely believes or is sincerely undertaking in order to connect with the divine or as a function of his or her spiritual faith, irrespective of whether a particular practice or belief is required by official religious dogma or is in conformity with the position of religious officials. This understanding is consistent with a personal or subjective understanding of freedom of religion.  As such, a claimant need not show some sort of objective religious obligation, requirement or precept to invoke freedom of religion. It is the religious or spiritual essence of an action, not any mandatory or perceived‑as‑mandatory nature of its observance, that attracts protection.  
The State is in no position to be, nor should it become, the arbiter of religious dogma. Although a court is not qualified to judicially interpret and determine the content of a subjective understanding of a religious requirement, it is qualified to inquire into the sincerity of a claimant’s belief, where sincerity is in fact at issue. Sincerity of belief simply implies an honesty of belief and the court’s role is to ensure that a presently asserted belief is in good faith, neither fictitious nor capricious, and that it is not an artifice. Assessment of sincerity is a question of fact that can be based on criteria including the credibility of a claimant’s testimony, as well as an analysis of whether the alleged belief is consistent with his or her other current religious practices.  
Since the focus of the inquiry is not on what others view the claimant’s religious obligations as being, but what the claimant views these personal religious “obligations” to be, it is inappropriate to require expert opinions. It is also inappropriate for courts rigorously to study and focus on the past practices of claimants in order to determine whether their current beliefs are sincerely held. Because of the vacillating nature of religious belief, a court’s inquiry into sincerity, if anything, should focus not on past practice or past belief but on a person’s belief at the time of the alleged interference with his or her religious freedom.




Julius Grey is anti-hate speech law

Supremes decided only the most extreme speech is hateful e.g., incitement

(a la Keegstra)

unpleasant, hurtful speech is not illegal (Beaubien Quebec)

mock, disapprove if you like

'the only proper answer to poor speech is more and better speech'

comedy exists to find a line, and jump over it

The Holocaust is not an excuse for censorship



13 May 2016

Survey reveals troubling data on religious tolerance in Quebec

http://montrealgazette.com/news/how-widespread-is-islamophobia-in-Quebec


  • 43 per cent of respondents said you should be suspicious of anyone who openly expresses their religion.
  • 45 per cent said they had a negative view of religion.
  • 48.9 per cent — roughly one out of two — said it bothered them to be attended to by a woman wearing a hijab.
  • Dan Delmar: Quebec Liberals add to irrational language laws




    When it’s estimated that over half of Quebecers struggle with literacy issues and new media are dominated by English-language content, the need for strengthening the French language shouldn’t be debatable; how to achieve tangible results for francophones, however, is.
    Culture Minister Hélène David announced on Tuesday that modifications in Quebec language law would force companies whose trademarked English names are protected to add French elements to their facades in the form of a descriptor, slogan or advertisement that communicates some form of commercial message.
    These are measures that are already adopted by the overwhelming majority of Quebec retailers, making the new regulations redundant at best. While it would be advisable for any Quebec business to communicate to its clients in French, it should not be the government’s role to dictate to entrepreneurs in the private sector how to go about doing that (the presence of the French language in the public sector has been, and should continue to be, protected by law).

    10 May 2016

    The meaning of national unity

    It involves national compromise

    Football Association in England/FIFA/Sikhs

    Turban question to be answered at weekend soccer assembly

    A spokesperson for the Football Association in England sent The Gazette an email saying that FIFA "has a rich tradition of giving everyone who wants to play football the opportunity to do so, irrespective of the faith, culture, beliefs, cultural background, sexual orientation, nationality and race.
    There are “many examples at the grassroots level where Sikhs enjoy the game without compromise to their faith or culture,” said the FA spokesperson, Tracey Bates.
    In fact, she said for several years a Sikh man named Jarnail Singh refereed many games in England’s senior leagues while wearing a patka, a square piece of cloth that is tied on top of the head.

    Patriquin: Why Quebec is fighting against [minority] language rights

    Why Quebec is fighting against its language rights





    Like much of its
    brethren outside of Quebec, Yukon’s French population faces a constant
    demographic challenge. Less than five per cent of the territory’s
    population have French as a mother tongue, according to the most recent
    census data. Survival of the language is largely predicated on French
    institutions like École Émilie-Tremblay, Yukon’s sole French school.


    In 2009, the Yukon government sought to strip the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon,
    which oversees the school, of some of its funding and powers to recruit
    students from beyond Yukon’s 1,630 francophones. The matter went all
    the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.


    The school board’s plight would seem to have a natural ally in the Quebec government,
    often considered North America’s most formidable protector of the
    French language. And the government did indeed intervene in the
    case—against the school board. Giving the board such recruitment powers,
    Quebec’s attorney general’s office argued, “would compromise the
    fragile balance of Quebec’s linguistic dynamic.” Last May, the Supreme
    Court rendered a decision that mostly sided with the Yukon government.






    William Johnson: How Jack Layton [and the NDP] courted Bloc voters

    http://www2.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/archives/story.html?id=5b16f378-6020-41ed-a215-1b97b7833f0f

    The game-changer of the 2011 election campaign is the New Democratic Party's surge in Quebec while the Bloc Québécois declined.
    None had predicted it. It took all by surprise. But was it an entirely unaccountable phenomenon? Hardly.
    From the time he won the NDP leadership in 2003, Jack Layton manoeuvred to build his party in Quebec from the ground up by courting the nationalist clientele of the Bloc Québécois. His strategy followed that of Brian Mulroney when the Progressive Conservative party was defunct in la belle province. The Tory leader built support in Quebec by recruiting separatists like Marcel Masse and Lucien Bouchard, then launching nationalist messages like treating the 1982 patriation of the Constitution as an infamy.