Canada Quebec's new language bill creates 'charter-free zone,' anglo rights group warns
Chris Selley: There is no principle that Ottawa won't readily abandon simply to appease Quebec
Justin Trudeau is not known for holding his tongue when it comes to denouncing intolerance, past or present. He has delivered no fewer than eight apologies in the House of Commons , easily the most of any prime minister. He apologized to the Sikh asylum-seekers on the steamship Komagata Maru, which was turned away from Vancouver in 1914, “for (Canada’s) indifference to your plight.” He apologized to the victims of government-sanctioned discrimination against gay and lesbian Canadians: “for robbing you of your potential; for treating you like you were dangerous, indecent, and flawed.
MONTREAL — An organization representing Quebec's English community says it has serious concerns about the potential impact of the province's new language bill.
The Quebec Community Groups Network says Bill 96 is wide-ranging, complex and represents a significant overhaul of Quebec's legal order.
QCGN head Marlene Jennings told reporters today the bill seeks to modify 24 provincial statutes as well as the Constitution Act of 1867.
Jennings says the government's pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause to shield the bill from certain constitutional challenges creates a "charter-free zone" involving a wide array of interactions between citizens and the province.
Hanes: The devil is in the details of Bill 96 — and they are alarming
Quebec anglophones were bracing for the worst when Quebec Premier François Legault tabled his long-awaited bill to beef up protection for the French language last month. And at first glance, it seemed like maybe all the hand-wringing had been for nothing. There is no outlawing of the controversial Bonjour/Hi greeting — it’s not even grounds for a complaint to the Office québécois de la langue française. Francophones aren’t completely barred from attending English CEGEPs, although their numbers will be capped. Municipalities with bilingual status can vote to retain it if the number of anglophones among their population has fallen below the 50-per-cent threshold.
Video: Quebec's Minister Responsible for the French Language explains his reform of Bill 101 (cbc.ca)
She says her group has urged federal Justice Minister David Lametti to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to study the constitutionality of Bill 96.
The legislation, tabled in May, is a major reform to the province's signature language law, known as Bill 101. The government has said the goal of Bill 96 is to affirm that French is the province's only official language and the common language of the Quebec nation.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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