27 November 2014

What our Supreme Court can teach Spain about secession


It’s not often that you attend a symposium on constitutional law in Quebec and expect to be flummoxed. This in a province where, not that long ago, it was thought that children dreamed not of playing in the NHL but of teaching constitutional law.

But on a cold morning last December, in a small, dark room at the Université de Montréal, those in attendance witnessed an extraordinary political scene. There they were, in a high-noon intellectual shoot out: Stéphane Dion, father of the Clarity Act, and his old political foe, Joseph Facal, former intergovernmental minister in the PQ cabinet.

Don Macpherson: Comic Sugar Sammy's apparent defiance of Quebec's language law


Comic Sugar Sammy is good at making people laugh with his observations in French as well as English about life in Quebec. He’s also good at provoking hard-line nationalists to anger.
Last week, signs appeared in several Montreal métro stations advertising tickets for Sammy’s current standup shows. They prominently displayed a startling message, in English only: “For Christmas, I’d like a complaint from the Office de la langue française.”
It was a dare to the Office québécois de la langue française, the provincial government agency that enforces the Quebec language law familiarly known as Bill 101, which generally requires that French be predominant on commercial signs.

23 November 2014

Louise Mailloux honorée par le Mouvement laïque | National

Louise Mailloux honorée par le Mouvement laïque | National

Le Mouvement laïque québécois
décerne cette année son Prix Condorcet-Dessaulles à la professeure,
auteure et polémiste Louise Mailloux pour souligner sa contribution à la
promotion et à la défense de la laïcité au Québec.
Le Mouvement estime que par ses fréquentes interventions dans les
médias et ses nombreux écrits, dont ses volumes «La Laïcité, ça
s'impose» et «Une Charte pour la nation», Louise Mailloux a contribué de
façon notoire à la liberté de conscience au Québec.

Louise Mailloux, une ex-candidate du Parti québécois qui défendait le
projet de Charte des valeurs, a souvent créé la controverse par ses
propos. Elle avait notamment présenté ses excuses le printemps dernier
aux personnes qu'elle aurait pu «offenser ou blesser» en qualifiant le
baptême ou la circoncision de viol.

21 November 2014

Anne Lagacé Dowson calls for investigation into EMSB election - Montreal - CBC News

Anne Lagacé Dowson calls for investigation into EMSB election - Montreal - CBC News

Anne Lagacé Dowson, who was defeated
in her run for chair of the English Montreal School Board, is calling
for a formal investigation in one ward and a recount in another after
Sunday’s school board election.

Lagacé Dowson says the vote in Ward 7 (Ahuntsic/Montreal North) was rigged.

Sylvia Lo Bianco, the candidate seeking re-election in that ward
under the banner of Team Angela Mancini, won by a margin of about 800
votes. Lo Bianco’s sister ran the polling station.

Sugar Sammy asks for OQLF complaints, Montreal lawyer complies | CTV Montreal News

Sugar Sammy asks for OQLF complaints, Montreal lawyer complies | CTV Montreal News

18 November 2014

Lessons from the Quebec Charter of Values - Winnipeg Free Press

Lessons from the Quebec Charter of Values - Winnipeg Free Press

For instance, evidence from this past spring indicates that average
Quebecers rate immigrants as 51 on a scale that ranges from 0 (meaning
"really dislike") to 100 (meaning "really like"), 10 points lower than
in the fall of 2012 when Premier Pauline Marois and the PQ government
were first elected. Moreover, findings also indicate that Quebecers'
average ratings of more specific groups such as ethnic minorities,
allophones and racial minorities are now much more negative than they
were two years before. Our data also indicate that francophones and
independentistes, core components of Quebec society, have even more
negative perspectives toward these groups. In other words, these
attitudes cannot only be attributed to the more extreme views in Quebec

In terms of more specific
feelings of trust, our evidence shows that most Quebecers are only
"somewhat" trusting of "people from other countries" and that trust
levels have also declined by 10 per cent since Marois came to power.
This is particularly significant given that religious neutrality was the
stated intention of the proposed Values Charter. More striking still
are the findings that, since the Charter's proposal, Quebecers are even
less trusting of "people of another religion" and they are particularly
untrusting of those "who wear overt religious symbols." Once again, the
major segments of Quebec society -- francophones and independentistes --
stand out as being among the least trusting of these groups overall.

Lastly, when asked if they spend time with "people who were not born
here," most Quebecers indicate that they do this only a "few times a
year or not at all" as opposed to more regularly. Moreover, our data
indicate that Quebecers in general, and francophones and
independentistes in particular, are even less inclined to frequently
"spend time with people who wear overt religious symbols." These
findings are particularly relevant as they reveal an important
underlying impasse in one major region of this country in the ongoing
experiment with pluralism.

15 November 2014

Kelly McParland: Sovereignty’s children follow the tune of the Pied Peladeau


Pierre Karl Péladeau, the right-wing business magnate who plans to run for the leadership of Quebec’s left-wing Parti Quebecois, has one apparent attraction for the job. He’s well-known.
Beyond that single qualification, there is not much to recommend the man for the job. The PQ is a union-friendly party, while Peladeau is detested by unions. It views itself as a populist party, while Peladeau is the privileged offspring of one of the province’s wealthiest families. The party is in a period of decline and needs a skilled politician to direct a revival. Peladeau’s ham-fisted performance did much to turn the tide of the last election in the Liberals’ favour.

It’s a wonder he would even consider running, and that the party would consider electing him. But Peladeau has a Titanic-sized ego, with the sort of overwhelming self-regard that blinds him from any views other than those he chooses to hold. If Canada has a Donald Trump, it could be P.K. Peladeau.

14 November 2014

The Suburban News | Elections Quebec clarifies school election rules


Following protests about the conduct of last week’s school board
elections, The Suburban received a number of queries asking what are the
rules that govern the process and how individuals can file their own
The objections ranged from long lineups, rude election
staff and an inability to accommodate seniors and the disabled, to poor
compilation of and adherence to the eligible voters roll, as well as
allegations of campaigning in polling stations and employing school
board staff as political volunteers.
Asked about the lengthy queues
and allegedly intemperate election staff, Elections Quebec told The
Suburban that that is the responsibility of the returning officer, who
is appointed by the school board.

12 November 2014

Mayor getting more power over executive committee


The mayor’s powers have increased dramatically since the executive committee was created in 1921 as a condition for the province to release the city from trusteeship.
The government had placed the city under trusteeship as it teetered on financial ruin after years of overspending and corruption.
As a result, the executive committee was intended as a limit on the spending power of the mayor. The mayor didn’t have a seat on the executive committee, and its members were appointed by council from among its ranks. The executive committee was charged with managing municipal employees and the budget, while council adopted bylaws.