21 April 2018

Mathen: The tenuous constitutionality of Bill 62


If Quebec’s Bill 62 faces a Charter challenge based on freedom of religion, the province would need to satisfy a number of onerous legal tests.

«25 mythes à déboulonner en politique québécoise»: de la nécessaire épreuve des faits


Mais c’est encore et toujours un constat juste, croit Michel C. Auger. « À écouter le débat public ces temps-ci, on pourrait penser que la loi 101 n’a jamais été adoptée il y a 40 ans et qu’elle ne fut pas un remarquable succès, écrit-il dans la préface de l’ouvrage. On pourrait aussi croire que l’immigration est la première menace à la survie d’une société francophone en Amérique. Ou que le Québec est le prisonnier d’une Constitution néocoloniale et immuable qu’il ne peut modifier. »

15 April 2018

Jedwab: Scorn for multiculturalism in Quebec yields troubling results


Last week, news broke that the Parti Québécois had quietly tried to block prominent lawyer Tamara Thermitus’s candidacy for the presidency of Quebec’s human rights commission. Unnamed sources suggested that despite her impeccable credentials, her job with the federal government was a liability and, worse, she was suspected of harbouring multiculturalist beliefs.

This bit of backstory should raise more than eyebrows.

It is well known that multiculturalism is verboten among Quebec’s political and chattering classes, regardless of partisan affiliation. However, to have multicult-phobia actually move a political party to reject a qualified candidate (who also happens to be a black woman) should tell us something about how pernicious the current ideology is ...

Jedwab: For many Quebecers, this is not 'our way of being Canadian'

Any constitutional recognition of Quebec as a nation means denying Canada's own nationhood, Jack Jedwab writes.


Dialogue between Quebecers and other Canadians is always welcome. Beyond simply celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada, there is value in reflection and discussion about our national identity and where the country is headed.
Such dialogue should not be tied to any eventual change to Canada’s Constitution. Regrettably, though, that is what the government of Quebec effectively is proposing in its recently issued policy statement titled Quebecers, Our Way of Being Canadian.
It’s true that much has changed since the last attempt to amend the Constitution. Younger generations of Canadians haven’t lived through the divisive referendums or the tumultuous constitutional negotiations of the 1980s and ’90s. But they can surely read about them in history books or consult parents or friends.

10 April 2018

Challenge of Quebec secession law makes it before the courts after 16-year wait | Toronto Star

Challenge of Quebec secession law makes it before the courts after 16-year wait | Toronto Star

MONTREAL—The long-awaited constitutional challenge of Quebec’s secession law finally found its way before a judge on Monday, nearly 16 years after it was launched.
The provincial law, known as Bill 99, was adopted in 2000 by the Parti Québécois government of the day as a direct response to the federal Clarity Act.
Drafted by the Lucien Bouchard-led PQ, it affirms the legal existence of the Quebec people and its right to self-determination.

14 March 2018

Léger: Cracking the Quebec Code: An insider’s guide to understanding Quebec's 7 core values

Jean-Marc Léger has written a book that only a Quebecker could write.  The famed pollster says so himself – and the bold title he’s chosen gives away the reason.
Cracking the Quebec Code: The 7 keys to understanding Quebecers, makes the kind of tantalizing promises for itself that a reader might expect from a marketing guru like Mr. Léger. “For the first time,” a foreword boasts, “English Canadians will have access to Quebeckers’ best-kept secrets.” Here, finally, is a “skeleton key” to the “question of Québécitude.”
Co-written with journalist Pierre Duhamel and business scholar Jacques Nantel, the book uses survey data, interviews with provincial leaders and a novel approach measuring reactions to hundreds of key words to come up with seven traits that define the Quebec character:
  • joie de vivre [ant: sobriety]  
  • easygoing [ant: alert]  
  • non-committal [ant: principled]   
  • victim [ant: survivor]
  • villagers [ant: cosmopolitan]  
  • creative [ant: rational]  
  • proud [ant: assertive].

20 November 2017

Johnson: There's no threat in sight to French linguistic predominance in Quebec


The usual chorus of Quebec politicians and pundits chanted lamentations over the 2016 census data published on Aug. 2. Even after Statistics Canada confirmed that a computer error had categorized thousands of French speakers as English, even after corrected figures were published on Aug. 17, the call was raised for tougher legislation to curtail English.


Quebec’s face-covering ban is Ottawa’s business: [Toronto Star] Editorial


But while provinces have jurisdiction over how to deliver their services, there is of course an important constraint on that power: the constitutional protection for all Canadians of the rights and freedoms identified in the Charter. The question in the case of Bill 62, which seems unfairly to target women and Muslims, and which assumes the state has the right to impose a dress code, transcends jurisdiction.

These are the fundamental issues raised in a court challenge of the law launched last week by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, among other organizations and individuals. And, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now seems to recognize, they are clearly issues of national interest.

Trudeau said on Monday that his government is considering its options. It has a few: it could, for instance, add its voice to the challenge as an intervener; it could seek to speed up the process by referring the law to the Supreme Court; and it could contribute financially to the procedure. Whatever approach it chooses, Ottawa should be unafraid to lead.

30 October 2017

Singh's religiosity complicates the NDP’s Quebec quandary


The turning point in the 2015 federal election campaign in Quebec came in mid-September, a month before voting day, when the Federal Court of Appeal struck down a Conservative government ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies. For New Democratic Leader Tom Mulcair, it was the moment of truth that ended his party’s long run atop the polls in the province it had swept in 2011.
The NDP had come face-to-face with its own two solitudes.
The Quebec left is uncompromisingly secularist. While it supports freedom of religion, it believes that visible manifestations of faith are to be discouraged in the public sphere, lest they impinge on the separation between church and state. Quebeckers fought hard to throw off an oppressive Catholic Church and see any religious accommodation by the state as a threat to the gains of the Quiet Revolution. More recently inspired by France’s secularist approach, the Quebec left supports strict limits on where and when religion can be practised.

Globe editorial: Which side is the NDP on in Quebec?


The federal New Democratic Party has long played footsie with Quebec separatists, but recent statements by the new leader, Jagmeet Singh, suggest that the party has become more audacious in its advances.
The fluently bilingual Mr. Singh last week told reporters in Alma, Quebec, that, if a majority of Quebeckers voted to secede from Canada in a third referendum, he would "respect the decision of the people, without fail and without a doubt."
"[The right of self-determination] is so fundamental, and if people choose their future, I am completely in agreement with their decision," he said.