24 August 2018

William Johnson: The legal status of English in Quebec

During the 1995 referendum, I maintained in The Gazette that a referendum did not confer a right to secede unilaterally and that, if Canada was divisible, Quebec was also divisible. That shocked even good anglos but my position was confirmed in August 1998 by the Supreme Court of Canada ...
In their analysis of Bill 22, Frank Scott, John Humphrey (who had drafted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights), Irwin Cotler and four others wrote: "Section 1 which provides that French is 'the official language of the province of Quebec' is misleading in that it suggests that English is not also an official language in Quebec, which it is by virtue of Section 133 of the BNA Act and the federal Official Languages Act."
These eminent legal authorities asserted: "To promote the two cultures on the basis of equality and to allow them freedom for their natural growth and development is, we believe, the only proper policy for Quebec and for Canada, and the only one consistent with contemporary international standards of human rights."
In his initial draft of what became Bill 101, Camille Laurin had this in Section 1: "Le français est la seule langue officielle du Québec." But he was persuaded to drop seule when he was told that it would certainly be struck down by the courts, thus confirming that English was also an official language of Quebec ..1

    Quebec's historical traditional demands


    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

    William Johnson: The myth of disestablished English - The Métropolitain

    The myth of disestablished English - The Métropolitain

    Even as English is again under attack at the National Assembly during the hearings on Bill 14, it is perhaps true that most Quebecers have been misled into believing that English is not also an official language of Quebec. But that’s entirely unfounded in fact or in law. English has been an official language of Quebec ever since 1763. Every law passed since then has been passed in English. Every law to be passed by the current Parti Québécois government will be passed in English as well as French, and the English text will be official, just as will be the French. 
    English is part of Quebec’s very identity. That part is largely what makes the difference between Quebec and other former colonies of France, such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Louisiana, Haiti, Vietnam or Algeria. 
    So how has the myth been propagated that French is the “sole official language?”  It began with the trickery of Robert Bourassa’s Bill 22 of 1974, the so-called “Official Language Act, which proclaimed – in English as well as French: “French is the official language of the province of Québec.” ...

    16 August 2018

    Quebec elections: equity notes

    Quebec elections: CAQ promises the return of a flat rate for daycare 


    The PQ is also promising $8.05 a day, $4 a day for the second child and free childcare for the third.

    Port de signes religieux: des partis pourraient recourir à la clause dérogatoire


    20 July 2018

    R v NS (SCC 2012): Niqab Rules Balance Religious Freedom and the Right to a Fair Trial - The Centre for Constitutional Studies

    R v NS (2012): Niqab Rules Balance Religious Freedom and the Right to a Fair Trial - The Centre for Constitutional Studies

    In R v NS,[1] decided on December 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on whether a witness could be allowed to wear a niqab[2] for
    religious reasons while testifying in a criminal trial. The Court
    determined that this issue would be examined on a case-by-case basis.
    The following featured court ruling examines the Court’s four-part test
    meant to balance the witness’ right to religious freedom (section 2(a)
    of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter)) and the accused’s right to a fair trial (sections 7 and 11(d) of the Charter).[3]

    If an accommodation is possible, do the salutary effects of accommodating the claimant outweigh the deleterious effects of doing so?[17]

    Jedwab: Diversity debate: Poll shows sharp divide between Montreal and regions

    As politicians spar over whether a woman in a hijab can be a police officer, details from a Léger poll reveal a deep divide between multicultural Montreal and the rest of Quebec on immigration.
    “There’s a Montreal vs. Quebec divide. There’s also a divide in Montreal between francophones and non-francophones,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies ...

    In Greater Montreal, with 4.1 million residents from St-Jérôme to St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 39 per cent of respondents want to reduce or eliminate immigration, while 41 per cent want to maintain current levels and 18 per cent want to increase it.

    In contrast, 58 per cent of respondents in central Quebec — the region most opposed to immigration — say it should be reduced or eliminated.

    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 ...

    MtlGz: English, French hold differing views on integration of newcomers: Leger poll

    While both hold positive views of immigrants, they are divided on how newcomers should assimilate, according to surveys conducted by Léger   


    While a majority of both groups said they held positive views of immigrants, francophones were more likely to respond in the affirmative when asked whether immigrants should give up their customs and traditions, or if the influx of non-Christian immigrants posed a threat to society ...

    In the latest survey, titled Multiculturalism versus Interculturalism: Myth vs. Reality, the survey found that 63 per cent of francophones held a positive view of immigrants, as compared to 74 per cent of anglophones. Asked whether immigrants should be “encouraged to give up their customs and traditions and become more like the majority,” francophones were more likely to either strongly or somewhat agree (65 per cent) as compared to anglophones (47 per cent) ...

    At the same time, francophones were more likely (58 per cent) than anglophones (40 per cent) to feel that “our society is threatened by the influx of non-Christian immigrants to Canada.”

    15 July 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].

    What are the core values of French society?

    Joie de vivre