20 November 2017

NDP leadership candidates debate Quebec religious accommodation bill

Caron chose to tackle the issue in his opening statement, saying it was important to fight racism and Islamophobia but also to support Quebec’s right to make its own decisions on the issue.

Implication: he would let the law stand as it is, or use notwithstanding clause to defend it

Angus says all laws must be Charter-compliant, implying that he would support challenging the law on Charter grounds

 

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.

Mathen: The tenuous constitutionality of Bill 62

http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/october-2017/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.

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

http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-theres-no-threat-in-sight-to-french-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

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/11/13/quebecs-face-covering-ban-is-ottawas-business-editorial.html

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.

15 November 2017

Jedwab: Scorn for multiculturalism in Quebec yields troubling results

http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-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 ...

30 October 2017

Singh's religiosity complicates the NDP’s Quebec quandary

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-ndps-quebec-quandary/article35667251/

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?

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/globe-editorial-which-side-is-the-ndp-on-in-quebec/article36589589/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com

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.

19 October 2017

Macfarlane: Quebec law banning niqab and burka is neither neutral nor constitutional

http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/quebec-neutrality-law-1.4360942

Much like past proposals by the former Parti Québécois government under Pauline Marois, the law here is defended on the grounds of Quebec secularism, but it is a perversion of secularism, which would normally see the state refuse to adopt or sanction particular religions over others. Instead, the version of secularism to which Quebec's political class seems to adhere is simply anti-religion, and more specifically, religions not reflected by the giant cross hanging in the National Assembly.

18 October 2017

Macfarlane: The NDP is wrong on secession, the Clarity Act and the Supreme Court

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-ndp-is-wrong-on-secession-the-clarity-act-and-the-supreme-court/

“The Reference requires us to consider whether Quebec has a right to unilateral secession. Those who support the existence of such a right found their case primarily on the principle of democracy. Democracy, however, means more than simple majority rule.”
This was a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada in 1998’s reference decision on Quebec secession. The Court went on to declare that only “a clear majority on a clear question” could compel the federal government and the other provinces to engage in negotiations with Quebec on the matter.
It is true the Court did not specify what would actually count as a “clear majority” (55 percent? 60? 67?). That, the justices said, was a matter for the political actors to decide. What is crystal clear, for anyone with the scarcest smidgen of reading comprehension, is that a “clear majority” is something more than 50 percent plus one. The highest court in the land has made an explicit distinction between “simple majority” and “clear majority.”