30 January 2016

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.” ...

Burgundy Lion gets OQLF warning over TripAdvisor sticker on front window

Lyle said the letter he received is vague, saying only that he contravened a law and that future action may be taken.
A spokesman for the OQLF said the letter is only for information purposes, and there are no penalties involved. The agency's goal, Jean-Pierre Le Blanc said, is to let business owners know that French-language versions of such promotional stickers exist.
"This is one of about 300 to 400 letters we sent this month to businesses," said Le Blanc. "It's not an investigation. It's not a complaint. It's an incentive."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/burgundy-lion-oqlf-1.3423616

07 November 2015

William Johnson: Quebec’s constitutional powers, real and imagined

William Johnson: Quebec’s constitutional powers, real and imagined | National Post

Quebec’s entire political class disgraced itself this week when the province’s National Assembly unanimously passed a motion that would be spurned as an absurdity in just about every mature democracy. Even Philippe Couillard’s nominally federalist Liberal members supported a motion that condemned the federal government for defending Canada’s constitutional order against a unilateral secession by Quebec.

The motion stated: “[Quebec’s] National Assembly condemns the intrusion of the Government of Canada into Quebec’s democracy by its determination to have struck down the challenged articles of the Act Respecting the Exercise of the Fundamental Rights and Prerogatives of the Québec People and the Québec State. The National Assembly demands that the Government of Canada abstain from intervening and challenging the Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State.”

The Act in question is Premier Lucien Bouchard’s Bill 99, which was passed in 2000 to counter the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the secession reference, and the federal Clarity Act. The Court had insisted that a majority vote for secession, even a “clear answer” to a “clear question,” would not give Quebec a mandate to secede. Independence could be achieved legally only through an amendment to the Constitution of Canada with the Parliament of Canada and the provinces concurring ...

Bill 101: PRO-French Provisions? No, ANTI-English

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/robyn-urback-the-new-trophy-of-french-cultural-protectionism-confused-anglos-roving-around-a-hospital

Quebec’s Bill 101 states that, “civil administration shall use only French in signs and posters, except where reasons of health or public safety require the use of another language as well.” The CISSS de Gaspésie was apparently in violation of this clause by having bilingual signs both for matters of health and safety (i.e. instructing people to wash their hands or wear masks in certain areas) but also for more minor instructions, such as directions to an examination room.

31 October 2015

Translator: From 1960s Ball Park French, to English, to 2010s OQLF French

Get 'em while they're hot!
biftek a la Hambourg = hamburger = hamburger (prev. hambourgeois)
saucisse fumee = hot dog = hot dog
frites = French fries = (pommes de terre) frites
liqueur = soft drink = boisson gazeuse
cacahuete = peanut = arachide
patate chips = potato chips = croustilles

Pierre Trudeau on the 1995 Referendum

William Johnson: How Jack Layton 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.


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.
  • 23 October 2015

    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.




    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