New French Language Bill in Quebec violates fundamental rights

spaminator

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KINSELLA: Bill 96 will ruin lives in Quebec and radically change Canada
Author of the article:Warren Kinsella
Publishing date:May 22, 2021 • 21 hours ago • 3 minute read • 69 Comments
Bill 96 will ruin lives in Quebec and radically change Canada, writes Warren Kinsella.
Bill 96 will ruin lives in Quebec and radically change Canada, writes Warren Kinsella. PHOTO BY ANDRE FORGET /Postmedia files
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The government official isn’t in uniform, but his authority can’t be questioned. He extends a hand.

As your boss stands at the door to your office, looking away, you slowly hand over your cellphone to the grim-faced government official.


The official repeats the words of the legislation that brought him to your office. He has the power to take your cellphone, he repeats.

“Verify, examine, process, copy or print out data,” he says, quoting directly from the statute. He turns to your boss, and asks if there are any other computers that haven’t been accessed yet. Your boss nods, slowly, and he and the government official leave.

When the government official arrived at your workplace, word spread fast. Someone had called a snitch line. The wording on the door to the office was unacceptable, apparently, and someone had complained.

So the unsmiling plainclothes officials showed up. That was all the pretext they needed.

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Along with going through documents and data on computers in the office, the officials had taken some cell phones from those they suspected were not obeying the rules. Like you.

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The night before, you had heard from the mother of that nice immigrant family who moved in down the street. Her son had registered for some courses at the college your kids had gone to, but his registration was rejected. By the same government officials.

“They’re giving us six months to do what they want us to do,” said the mother, upset. “And if we don’t do it, we will be cut off.”

The rumours had been flying at work and at home for weeks. Everything was going to be affected: schools, businesses, courts, municipal governments. Businesses that were headquartered somewhere else: those had been caught by the powerful new law, too.

Because your boss has more than 25 employees working for him, he was going to have to set up a “special committee” at work. The committee would have to ensure that everyone is obeying the law, he said.

Contracts all had to adhere to the new rules. Same with any communications with government. Those had to be acceptable, too, or the government would simply stop responding.

Businesses with fewer employees were also hit, you had heard. If they didn’t satisfy the dour officials, they were going to have “special services” imposed on them by the government.

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Permits would be revoked if someone breaks the rules. Even retroactively.

Contracts, real estate purchases, all of that: all would need to carefully reflect the government’s wishes. If they didn’t, they would be torn up, and new conditions imposed. Big fines for wrongdoers.

No exceptions.


A new government agency had been created to enforce the changes, and given vast powers. Including police-like powers, to enter any place and demand answers. And take peoples’ property.

As the nameless government official had done with your cellphone. The phone containing pictures of your kids, and love texts to your wife, and innocuous emails to and from your office colleagues.

He didn’t really care what you were saying, the official said. He cared how you were saying it.

*****

The above is a story, of sorts. It hasn’t happened just yet. But it will.

It’s coming.

The story is about the Canadian province of Quebec, and the changes that are coming in the Quebec government’s recently-tabled Bill 96. The Bill will change the Constitution of Canada, and render Quebec “a nation.” The Bill will impose the changes described above to “protect” the French language, too.

And Justin Trudeau has approved it. And none of the federal Opposition parties oppose it.

Bill 96 is more damaging, more far-reaching, than the Meech Lake or Charlottetown Accords. It will actually ruin lives in Quebec — and radically change Canada in the process.

It must be stopped.

— Kinsella was Special Assistant to Jean Chretien.
 
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spaminator

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LILLEY: Trudeau needs to stand up to Quebec's attack on Charter rights
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:May 22, 2021 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • 77 Comments
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, left and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat in March.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, left and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat in March. PHOTO BY JACQUES BOISSINOT /The Canadian Press
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Much of the discussion about Bill 96 outside of Quebec is focused on the constitutional changes Quebec is proposing and how Justin Trudeau is not his father. I won’t argue that point, Justin is not Pierre and doesn’t share his father’s desire to protect individual rights above all.

Trudeau is looking at the controversial language bill in Quebec through an electoral lens and if that means letting Quebec run roughshod over rights and freedoms and unilaterally changing the constitution, he’s fine with that as long as he gets or keeps votes.

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There is a lot of academic debate about whether Quebec can change the constitution on its own. While academics argue about that, the impact of this bill on the day-to-day life of Quebec’s English minority — and others — is striking.

This bill will reduce equal access to justice, reduce the ability for municipalities to provide services in English and it will tighten restrictions on the ability of Francophone families to get education in English.

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This is something that Francophone families who want their children to advance in North America have long fought for. I know proud French families who value their language and culture but who want their kids to have a shot at being bilingual, and this bill makes that harder.

This isn’t a matter of primary education, this is a restriction on Francophones attending CEGEPs, the college level of education needed to enter university in Quebec. That means stopping 17 and 18 year olds from making a choice to study in English.

Take that away and many ambitious young Francophones will leave to study elsewhere and may not come back. This bill could hurt Quebec’s French future more than it helps it.

Perhaps most concerning is what it does to one of the grand bargains of Confederation. This bill specifically says that, “Every person has a right to justice and legislation in French.” It goes on to say that, justice in English will come at a cost.

“A certified French translation shall be attached to any pleading drawn up in English that emanates from a legal person. The legal person shall bear the translation costs,” the bill reads.

That goes against the current Charter of the French Language, the infamous Bill 101, that the province adopted in the 1970s. It also goes against the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982 and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In fact, Bill 96 violates the Charter with glee, invoking the notwithstanding clause early in the text. “This Act has effect notwithstanding sections 2 and 7 to 15 of the Constitution Act, 1982,” the bill reads.

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Section 2 covers freedom of expression, section 7 your legal rights and section 15 your equality rights — none of which will exist for English speakers in Quebec if this bill passes. Nor will the education rights of Francophone families seeking opportunity exist.

Strangely, Justin Trudeau is fine with this.

Trudeau is fine not only with Quebec unilaterally modifying the constitution, but also with the direction of the bill. He paid lip service to protecting the English minority, but asked in French about rights for Anglophones and whether he would challenge any part of the bill, Trudeau answered only about protecting French.

I don’t disagree that French does need some special protections in Quebec but this bill goes too far. As a Francophone friend put it, reducing the level of bilingualism among youth is not the solution to concerns about the future of French.


Neither is attacking the rights of Anglos in Quebec.

Most people in the province get along, the linguistic battles of previous generations are now mostly a thing of the past. That could change with this bill’s passage.

As the prime minister, Justin Trudeau should be speaking up for the constitution, he should be defending the Charter rights of all Canadians, he should not be speaking up for a bill that attacks both.
 
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no color

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May 20, 2007
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Looks like we’re heading back to a full-fledged language war in Quebec, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The Pandora’s box has been opened. With Bill 96 on the table, there’s no going back now. I already sense tension in the air. So much for getting along with my French speaking neighbors. If they think it’s alright for the government to take away my fundamental rights just so they can feel secure about their language, then friendship is a thing of the past. They live their lives and I live mine. I gather that most of my English speaking neighbors and friends feel the same way.

Furthermore, the Quebec government keeps preaching for us to get vaccinated. Neither me nor my family had made our appointments yet. However now with bill 96, as far as I’m concerned, they can keep preaching till the cows come home. We are sitting this one out.
 

no color

Electoral Member
May 20, 2007
306
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1967 World's Fair
A column written five years ago.

It would have been hard five years ago to put an end to the English-French division that has existed in Quebec for about half a century. Now with bill 96 on the table, it’s not ever going to happen.

On my side, I’ve stopped socializing with my French speaking neighbors. Things just won’t be the same in my neighborhood. Tension is in the air.

Also, as far as I’m concerned, the columnist below is a traitor. Backstabbing his own community.

“The refusal of some members of my Jewish and anglophone community to learn and live in French is embarrassing,” he said in a bilingual speech Monday to the Canadian Club of Montreal.
Garber, 52, said former premier Rene Levesque was correct to make French the predominant language of Quebec.

Montreal businessman Mitch Garber calls for end to divided Quebec