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.”



16 October 2017

Canadian Press: New Democrat MPs split over niqab


http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1312102/new-democrat-mps-split-over-niqab/

However, Mulcair did not object last spring when newly elected Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he intended to introduce a bill that would ensure civil servants who deal directly with the public do not cover their faces.
At the time, Mulcair said the proposal was “totally respectful of freedoms.” Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney called it “totally reasonable,” although there is no similar restriction on federal public servants.

R v NS (SCC 2012): Niqab Rules Balance Religious Freedom and the Right to a Fair Trial - The Centre for Constitutional Studies

R v NS (2012): Niqab Rules Balance Religious Freedom and the Right to a Fair Trial - The Centre for Constitutional Studies



In R v NS,[1] decided on December 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on whether a witness could be allowed to wear a niqab[2] for
religious reasons while testifying in a criminal trial. The Court
determined that this issue would be examined on a case-by-case basis.
The following featured court ruling examines the Court’s four-part test
meant to balance the witness’ right to religious freedom (section 2(a)
of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter)) and the accused’s right to a fair trial (sections 7 and 11(d) of the Charter).[3]

If an accommodation is possible, do the salutary effects of accommodating the claimant outweigh the deleterious effects of doing so?[17]



CCLA: Quebec [Anti-niqab] Bill 62 Infringes on Freedom of Religion

https://ccla.org/quebec-bill-62-infringes-on-freedom-of-religion/

CCLA has submitted a brief to the Quebec National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions as part of its special consultation and public hearings on Bill 62. Bill 62 — An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies — is a deeply troubling law that would infringe basic rights and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.

At the core of Bill 62 is section 9, which prohibits public employees and recipients of public services from wearing face coverings, such as the niqab, unless they receive special accommodation via a flawed religious accommodation process. We have argued that the bill unfairly targets individuals who wear religious face coverings and thereby infringes freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and the right to be free from discrimination. We have also pointed out inconsistencies in the proposed law – such as its special protection for “the emblematic and toponymic elements of Québec’s cultural heritage, in particular its religious cultural heritage, that testify to its history” – which exacerbate the bill’s purpose or effect of unfairly targeting individuals from minority religious, ethnic, and racial groups and, in particular, women from these groups.

CCLA is urging the Quebec government not to move forward with the bill.

15 October 2017

Notes: NDP "Unity" Act v. Clarity Act

The NDP's Unity Act, a private member's bill drafted by the party, spells out that a bare majority of 50% plus one vote would be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec’s secession, provided that the referendum question was clear and that there were no “determinative irregularities” in the vote and in the 'spending limits'.

The bill says that the Quebec National Assembly — by definition, directed by a Parti Québécois government — would have the right to table the question. 

The government of Canada would be able to object, but would have to take those objections to the Quebec Court of Appeal.
The Clarity Act, based on a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada,  specifies that the federal government will not negotiate secession unless a clear majority votes Yes on a clear referendum question. 
It does not specify what constitutes a clear majority, allowing parliamentarians to take into account the eligible voter turnout rate, valid votes cast in favour of separation, voting irregularities, and other factors, before concluding whether the result is sufficiently unambiguous to warrant divorce talks.
SOURCES:


13 October 2017

SCC: 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.




Léger: Cracking the Quebec Code: An insider’s guide to understanding Quebec's 7 core values

Jean-Marc Léger has written a book that only a Quebecker could write.  The famed pollster says so himself – and the bold title he’s chosen gives away the reason.
Cracking the Quebec Code: The 7 keys to understanding Quebecers, makes the kind of tantalizing promises for itself that a reader might expect from a marketing guru like Mr. Léger. “For the first time,” a foreword boasts, “English Canadians will have access to Quebeckers’ best-kept secrets.” Here, finally, is a “skeleton key” to the “question of Québécitude.”
Co-written with journalist Pierre Duhamel and business scholar Jacques Nantel, the book uses survey data, interviews with provincial leaders and a novel approach measuring reactions to hundreds of key words to come up with seven traits that define the Quebec character:
  • joie de vivre [ant: sobriety]  
  • easygoing [ant: sincere]  
  • non-committal [ant: principled]   
  • victim [ant: victor] 
  • villagers [ant: cosmopolitan]  
  • creative [ant: reasonable]  
  • proud [ant: assertive].

12 October 2017

Anglo rights: what is to be done

we first learn English at home

we master it in THE ANGLO SCHOOLS

11 October 2017

Quebecnocentrism

Ethnocentrism a la Quebecois:
Francosupremacy

Catholaicite

etc.
 

07 October 2017

Conservatives, Quebecers most biased, poll finds | Toronto Star


A majority of Conservative voters and people from Quebec — almost six in 10 — have “unfavourable feelings” for at least one religious or ethnic minority group, according to a new poll.
The telephone survey by Forum Research found that, overall, 41 per cent of Canadians feel unfavourable about at least one of the following groups: Muslims, First Nations, South Asians, Asians, Jews and black people.
Regionally, 57 per cent of respondents from Quebec felt unfavourable toward at least one of the groups, followed by 45 per cent from Alberta, 39 per cent from Atlantic Canada, 35 per cent from British Columbia and about one-third from each Ontario, Manitoba/Saskatchewan.

23 September 2017

William Johnson: What counts as history in Quebec

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/william-johnson-what-counts-as-history-in-Quebec

What these eminences stated in 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada would also state in 1998. But Quebec’s textbook, dated 2009, distorts history and law to legitimate unconditional secession.

Recalling Lévesque’s 1980 referendum, the textbook omits the fact that a veto was promised to the rest of Canada. 

Then, revisiting the 1995 referendum, it ignores the fact that Parizeau intended, with the merest majority, to overthrow the Constitution, even though the question was confusing and, as polls showed, most voters assumed that Quebec would remain in Canada. 

Then, Stéphane Dion’s Clarity Act of 2000, setting federal conditions for negotiating secession, is discussed with no reference to the Supreme Court’s decision on the conditions for secession. 

And there are more examples of bias. This is history?

Don Macpherson: What's wrong with Quebec's proposed new electoral map

http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/don-macpherson-whats-wrong-with-quebecs-proposed-new-electoral-map

You can’t please everybody, as we are reminded every time Quebec’s electoral representation commission proposes to re-draw the boundaries of the 125 provincial ridings to reflect changes in the distribution of the population.
This time around, the loudest complaints have come from Québec solidaire MNA Manon Massé.
Massé has been leading what so far has been an unsuccessful legal as well as political campaign to preserve her riding of Sainte-Marie—Saint-Jacques in south-central Montreal.

22 September 2017

Chris Selley: Charles Taylor … niqab defender?

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/chris-selley-charles-taylor-niqab-defender

Nor was there anything disreputable about Messrs. Bouchard and Taylor’s undertaking, which was to travel around the province and listen to Quebecers of all stripes vent their various cultural angsts, from the very theoretically legitimate (there’s a reason people would object to cops wearing niqabs) to the thoroughly bizarre (the mortal threat of unlabelled halal chicken). You can’t sneer such worries away, much as urban elites try. The Bouchard-Taylor report is in the main a sober call for calm and unity, an assurance that Quebec is not reasonably accommodating itself toward theocracy. And while forcing agents of the state to wear a non-religious uniform might run afoul of the Supreme Court — which settled turban-wearing cops a quarter-century ago — it’s not inherently outrageous ... 
But they must have known, from their observations and their travels, that Quebecers tend to be less resolutely secular than preferentially secular — particularly suspicious of Islam and particularly respectful of ostensibly “cultural” Christianity. Pauline Marois epitomized a very popular version of secularism that leaves in place a crucifix hanging over the speaker’s chair in the National Assembly that was installed in 1936 by noted non-secularist premier Maurice Duplessis. Ms. Marois’ “values charter” at least had the decency to target all religious symbols in the public sector; now Premier Philippe Couillard, channelling Mr. Harper, proposes to ban both giving and receiving public services with a covered face because “certain principles have to be clarified;” because “I think this is a line in the sand for many Quebecers and Canadians.” How convenient that it only affects the world’s least popular religion! ...
Of course, leaving those insecurities alone more or less entirely worked out rather well for Canadian politics for a very long time. That’s a pretty good option, too.

‘We are beginning to overcome the divisions’ in Quebec, Charles Taylor says of reasonable accommodation | National Post

‘We are beginning to overcome the divisions’ in Quebec, Charles Taylor says of reasonable accommodation | National Post



Nine years after signing a report that called for a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of “coercive” authority -— police and judges — McGill philosophy professor Charles Taylor says times have changed and Quebecers have changed along with them, and that he no longer endorses the recommendation.
In an open letter published Tuesday in La Presse, Taylor, who with sociologist Gérard Bouchard co-chaired a commission on reasonable accommodation of cultural communities in Quebec, wrote that his support for the measure was never more than qualified, but added that at the time, “to not impose these restrictions would have shocked public opinion to the point of jeopardizing our proposal for open secularism.”
But Taylor writes now that “things have very much changed since then, and that’s more than just my opinion.”

20 September 2017

Majority of Quebecers want ban on religious symbols [for positions of authority]: poll

The Repère communications firm polled 750 Quebecers in all regions of Quebec, concluding 63 per cent of respondents agree with the old Bouchard-Taylor formula on religious symbols: persons in positions of authority, judges, police and prison guards should not be allowed to wear them. (36.8 per cent don’t agree.)

http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/majority-of-quebecers-want-ban-on-religious-symbols-poll

QUEBEC — The Parti Québécois tried to shame Premier Philippe Couillard Wednesday, releasing results of a poll showing 60 per cent of Quebecers — including many Liberals — approve of a ban on religious symbols despite Couillard’s opposition to the idea.

But Couillard fired back that it would be a grave error in democracy for a government to make policy, especially on matters affecting minorities, based on polling results. The PQ did just that with its “infamous” charter of values and that was a disaster, he said.

 

Angus Reid: Could our national leader be: _____? Most in Canada, U.S. say they’d vote for more diverse candidates - Angus Reid Institute

Could our national leader be: _____? Most in Canada, U.S. say they’d vote for more diverse candidates - Angus Reid Institute



Could the PM be monolingual? English Canada says ‘yes,’ Quebec says ‘non


Visible religious symbols have long been a source of contention in Quebec, which perhaps explains why two-in-three say they could not support a party led by a person who wears a religious head-covering:






Jedwab: The worrisome tone of Quebec’s [Charter of Values] rhetoric

The worrisome tone of Quebece’s values rhetoric - The Globe and Mail

If the Quebec government has its way, it a new class of offenders will be introduced into society. They might be called values violators. The Nov. 7 tabling of the Charter of Quebec Values of Secularism (Bill 60) confirmed the potential list of violators includes doctors that wear kippas, nurses wearing a cross, daycare workers with hijabs and university professors with turbans.

The loss of employment is the ultimate punishment such offenders face if they don’t remove their threatening symbols. The genius of the Parti Québécois government’s proposed bill outlining Quebec’s so-called values is that it puts the burden for enforcement on those institutions that harbour potential values violators. This is surely a relief to the province’s law enforcement agents. But in the unlikely event this draconian bill ever becomes law, the potentially affected hospitals, universities, daycares and other potentially affected institutions would face a serious conundrum. Not implementing the law, they might assume, will result in cuts to their finances.

Quebec’s Muslims, Jews and Sikhs are the most obvious targets for potential values violations. Many members of these communities are extremely concerned not only about the consequences of the proposed legislation but are also worried with good reason about the very unhealthy tone of the values rhetoric. As revealed in an October Leger Marketing poll, the most fervent supports of the values bill are favorable to an extension of the ban on religious symbols beyond public institutions.

[PQ's Charter of "Secular" Values] is clearly unconstitutional, but could still become law - The Globe and Mail

Quebec’s secular charter is clearly unconstitutional, but could still become law - The Globe and Mail


By contrast, the PQ argues that preventing public servants from exercising religious freedom at work is part of a broader secularism or “state neutrality” with respect to the state’s role vis-a-vis religion. This is a perversion of the principle of the separation of church and state, which is normally regarded as preventing government from imposing particular religious doctrines on citizens (such as requiring children to say the Lord’s Prayer at school). Instead, the PQ government proposes to strip citizens of any overt religious identification when working in the public sector. That is a far cry from a “neutral” state objective.

As an entirely symbolic enterprise, the legislation should fail on the first step of the judicial test for determining whether an infringement of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is “reasonable in a democratic society,” which states that the government requires a substantial and pressing objective when it seeks to limit a right. In a case on prisoner voting rights, the Supreme Court majority made it clear that objectives which are symbolic in nature are “problematic” and noted that a legislature “cannot use lofty objectives to shield legislation from Charter scrutiny.”


16 September 2017

Globe editorial: It’s time for Quebec to kill Bill 62, and stop targeting religious minorities

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/its-time-for-quebec-to-kill-bill-62-and-stop-targeting-religious-minorities/article34073614/


The murder of six Muslim men praying in a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29 has provoked a watershed moment in the thinking of Quebec politicians, intellectuals and the public at large. Where Muslims were once an easy target for nationalist populists and radio shock jocks, now it is not quite so easy to stigmatize them for the sake of votes and ratings.
That’s a start. But there is still a stain on the province – one last official vestige of the fear-mongering that flowed from Quebec’s post-9/11 debate over the accommodation of immigrants and religious minorities. That is Bill 62. It needs to die, and now is the moment to kill it.
The mosque attack prompted an unprecedented show of grief and solidarity among Quebeckers of all beliefs. Premier Philippe Couillard spoke emotionally of the “demons” in Quebec society. Nationalist politicians, including Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, acknowledged the need to tone down their anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Line between religious heritage and discrimination unclear despite ruling against city council prayer

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/line-between-religious-heritage-and-discrimination-unclear-despite-ruling-against-city-council-prayer

By saying “not all” are in breach of the duty of neutrality, the implication is that many are. Gascon goes on to quote favourably a passage from the 2008 Bouchard-Taylor report on religious accommodation: “(We) must avoid maintaining practices that in point of fact identify the state with a religion, usually that of the majority, simply because they now seem to have only heritage value.”
And yet when the court had an opening to make a statement about two such symbols — the crucifix and the statue of Jesus with a glowing red heart found in two locations where Saguenay council meets — it declined. The Court of Appeal had declared the symbols were mere historical artifacts stripped of their religious meaning for most residents. The Supreme Court dodged the question by finding that the human-rights tribunal that originally heard the case and ordered the removal of the crucifix and Sacred Heart statue had no jurisdiction to consider the symbols.

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

Professors question health of academic freedom at McGill after Potter resignation

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/professors-question-health-of-academic-freedom-at-mcgill-after-potter-resignation

A CAUT official said the association received information from within McGill alleging ‘political pressure (was) placed on the institution to get rid of Potter’

13 September 2017

Quebec and the Constitution: A timeline of dead ends

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard wants to reopen the constitutional debate. Here’s a timeline of previous attempts.
 
http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/quebec-and-the-constitution-a-timeline-of-dead-e

Globe editorial: Why did McGill fail to defend Andrew Potter’s academic freedom?

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/globe-editorial-why-did-mcgill-fail-to-defend-andrew-potters-academic-freedom/article34411662/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

'Unless McGill offers a viable explanation, or Mr. Potter himself clears the air, the logical conclusion is uncomfortable: McGill professors can write whatever they want, as long as their views are palatable to Quebec’s establishment. There can be no harsher condemnation of a university. Or of a society, for that matter.'

10 September 2017

Ask the CCLA: Do I have to show my face? When? | Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Ask the CCLA: Do I have to show my face? When? | Canadian Civil Liberties Association



Generally, a person’s right to express their religious beliefs by wearing a religious article of clothing is protected and should be accommodated. For the purposes of identity and security however, it may sometimes be necessary for a woman to remove her niqab, though significant efforts should be made to ensure that any interference with religious freedom is as minimal as possible. Whether or not asking a woman to remove her niqab is a justified or reasonable restriction of her Charter protected religious freedom depends largely on the purpose of the request and the surrounding context.

CCLA (Via The Globe And Mail): When religious freedom should take a back seat to equality rights

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/when-religious-freedom-should-take-a-back-seat-to-equality-rights/article25784108/

In my view, both rights are fundamental for a society to be grounded in respect for human dignity. Indeed, in Canada, both rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – but the Charter, which applies to government action, would not directly apply to a commercial airline.
How far do we go to accommodate a sincerely held religious belief when it comes into conflict with the equality rights of someone else? If all rights are equal and there is no hierarchy, do we figure out these questions on a case-by-case basis? In Canada, decision-makers have ruled against a bed-and-breakfast owner who refused to rent to a gay couple. But some may ask, what about religious freedom? What about the innkeeper’s rights?
Personally, I don’t think that in a public or commercial space the religious beliefs of one person can be used to deny, or relegate (intentionally or not) as inferior, the equality rights of someone else. Religious freedoms are writ large and people are free to believe what they wish, and to act as they wish, short of causing harm to another. Gender segregation can and is upheld in private religious institutions freely attended by individuals – but in public spheres we must be vigilant about upholding the equality rights of all. If we wouldn’t tolerate the refusal to sit beside a racialized person, we shouldn’t tolerate sex discrimination, either.

Bill 60 (Charter of Quebec Values): CCLA Hearings Brief

CCLA’s Opposition to the Quebec Charter of Values: Read our Brief « Canadian Civil Liberties Association



CCLA has submitted a brief to the Quebec National Assembly’s
Committee on Institutions’ as part of its general consultation and
public hearings on Bill 60.  Bill 60, or the Charter affirming the
values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality
between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation
requests, is a deeply troubling law that would infringe basic
rights and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.  In our
submissions, CCLA argues that the Bill infringes freedom of religion,
freedom of expression and the right to equality and to be free from
discrimination.  CCLA also points out some concerning inconsistencies in
the proposed law which would have a disproportionate impact on
individuals from minority religious groups and, in particular, women
from these groups.  We are urging the Quebec government not to move
forward with the proposal and hope to have an opportunity to address the
Committee in person in their public hearings, which are scheduled to
start in mid-January, 2014.

08 September 2017

The stats bear it out: In Quebec, trust is low - Macleans.ca

The stats bear it out: In Quebec, trust is low - Macleans.ca





Two scholars on trust dig into the data to see what they believe Andrew Potter got right
—and wrong—about Quebec

01 September 2017

Supreme Court rules against prayer at city council meetings

Mayor Jean Tremblay of Saguenay argued reciting prayer respects Quebec’s Catholic heritage

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/supreme-court-rules-against-prayer-at-city-council-meetings-1.3033595
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the municipal council in the Quebec town of Saguenay cannot open its meetings with a prayer.

In a unanimous decision today, the country's top court said reciting a Catholic prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

The ruling puts an end to a eight-year legal battle that began with a complaint filed by atheist Alain Simoneau and a secular-rights organization against Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay.

Don Macpherson: The Charter of Pants encourages discrimination

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/montreal-gazette/20131109/281981785351833/TextView
But maybe the strongest kick was to the Quebec human-rights commission.
The rights watchdog had called Drainville’s original proposal not only a “clear break” with the province’s own charter of rights but also a violation of international standards for the protection of minority rights.
Drainville’s response was to add a new restriction in the rights charter: rights must be exercised with a “proper regard” for “the primacy of the French language.”
That has nothing to do with “secularism,” the supposed objective of the Pants Charter. But apparently, if the PQ was going to encourage discrimination against minorities, it didn’t want to overlook anybody.
And it’s slipped a poisoned pill to the official opposition Liberal party. Now the Liberals, whose leader Philippe Couillard had vowed to let the original proposal pass only “over my dead body,” will expose themselves to the accusation of being “against French” if they filibuster against the Pants Charter.

Jedwab: France’s ‘beautiful notion’ of secularism is not a model for Quebec

For a romantic getaway you can’t beat France. It’s a great place to visit, but as a member of a religious minority it doesn’t appear these days to be the best place to live. 
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois recently pointed to France as a model for Quebec (and presumably for all of Canada) in its approach to diversity. The French national doctrine of secularism seems to be a source of inspiration for the Premier’s proposed Charter of Values.
 While cautiously acknowledging imperfection in the French system, Ms. Marois prefers it to the British approach to diversity which she recently characterized as a source of severe social unrest and violence. While presumably not wanting to comment on the Quebec debate during a visit to the province last week, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici described French secularism as a "beautiful notion" that creates unity – not division. The terms he used resemble those being employed by the Quebec government to describe its Values Charter. The Quebec government conveniently chooses to ignore the deep inter-ethnic divisions around the Charter debate as reflected in public opinion surveys ...

Pro-Charter of Quebec Values rally in Montreal draws several hundred supporters

Pro-Charter of Quebec Values rally in Montreal draws several hundred supporters

"I respect everybody and what they do when they go to the synagogue or when they go to a mosque, that's their (business)," she said. "But I don't think it belongs in the public space." ...

Marchers carried cutout fleur-de-lis and Quebec flags. They carried signs that read "'we're born naked and everything else is superfluous" and "secularism that's open to closed religions doesn't work." ...

"For me the freedom of religion should not surpass liberty of expression and if we can't have political badges at work, why should we be allowed religious symbols?," Chantraine said. "It should be the same for everyone." ...

Quebec National-Sovereignism

The spectrum of socio-political views held by most Quebecois.

Examples include anti-partitionism, Franco-supremacy, and Catho-laicite.

Patrick Lagace: Quebec has a strange view of secularism

Quebec has a strange view of secularism - The Globe and Mail

The Quebec Soccer Federation announced last week that it won’t allow turbans on its soccer pitches because, well, FIFA’s Rule 4 on equipment doesn’t explicitly allow turbans on soccer fields.

FIFA’s Rule 4 also doesn’t “allow” players to wear gloves in freezing late October games. It doesn’t “allow” women to wear headbands for their ponytails. Still, you’ll find players wearing gloves and headbands without the QSF invoking Rule 4 to ban them.

 Apparently a recent FIFA ruling that lets Muslim women wear the hijab on the pitch wasn’t enough to convince the QSF that the spirit of the rules is tolerance ...

Jedwab: Religious accommodation survey promoted intolerance

http://www.pressreader.com/canada/montreal-gazette/20130528/281904475713770/TextView
MONTREAL — Is the Marois government moving toward requiring that a teacher of the Jewish faith in a Jewish private school remove his kippa?

That might sound preposterous. But a survey last March commissioned by the Quebec Ministry of Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship (as it is called) asked Quebecers the following question: “If the Government of Quebec decides to prohibit wearing religious attire would you agree or disagree that such a measure be applied to employees of private elementary and secondary schools?”

In preparation for this fall’s tabling by the government of what it is now calling a Charter of Quebec Values (a reworking of the original plan for a Secularism Charter), the survey also asked whether a similar ban on religious signs and symbols should be extended to health institutions — and more specifically to doctors and nurses.

What is 24 JUN? As usual, Quebec is ambiguous

from the (Quebec) National Holiday Act:


1. The 24th of June, St. John the Baptist Day, is the National Holiday.

Since St. John is the patron saint of French Canada (not only of Quebec), the day takes on an "ethnic church" dimension. So much for 'secularism'. These days the holiday's all about bonfires and getting drunk.

As the years went by and the sovereignty movement gained momentum, the celebration morphed into a sovereignist celebration as well. There isn't an Anglo-Quebecker older than 40 who doesn't remember the sickening television images of drunken revellers desecrating and burning Canadian flags, amid shouts of 'Vive la Quebec libre [sic]'

from Bonjour Quebec:

This holiday originates from the tradition, prevalent in several countries, of celebrating the summer solstice by lighting bonfires and performing popular dances. June 24 was officially designated "Québec's National Holiday" in 1977. Shows and bonfires will take place in several municipalities. Since 1984, the Mouvement national du Québec (MNQ) has been the national coordinator of this event.

This assumes that Quebec is a nation and/or a nation-state, rather than what is it: a province.


The government has been two-faced, claiming that the holiday is for everyone and then sub-contracting the organization of the event to radical groups.
If the government wants to signal that it really means that the 24th is a holiday for everyone, they must remove sovereignist groups as the exclusive organizer of the event.
In short, if you want a holiday that is inclusive, don't hire ethnocentrics to run the show, it's as simple as that.

The SSJB is what it is and everyone knows it. As long as the government employs them to run the show, sanctimonious protestations by Ministers decrying the decisions they take, is cynical and unfair.
On every level, it is politics at it's worst.
All the society has to do, is call it Quebec Day, and I'm all for it. Because in spite of myself, I am a Quebecer too.

Supreme Court sides with Quebec Catholic school on religious freedom

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/top-court-rules-on-catholic-schools-right-to-opt-out-of-quebecs-ethics-course/article23533643/

The decision Thursday handed a victory to Loyola High School, which went to court over a Quebec program that sought to teach ethics and world religions from a neutral standpoint. At the same time, the top court helped define some of the boundaries of Quebec’s goal of state secularism ...
 "A secular state respects religious differences; it does not seek to extinguish them," the court said ...
Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey says Thursday’s ruling strikes a blow against “strident secularism” in Quebec.

16 August 2017

Don Macpherson: Defending Quebec against undesirables | Montreal Gazette

Don Macpherson: Defending Quebec against undesirables | Montreal Gazette



Everybody in Quebec is a minority. Even the French-speaking Quebecers who form the political majority that wields power in this province are a cultural minority in North America, and even Quebec independence wouldn’t change that.
Minority consciousness can create feelings of vulnerability, fear of loss, and suspicion of others. In Quebec, where every group is a minority, it seems that every one of them is suspicious of some other, resulting in the wearisome particular divisiveness of the province’s politics.
Besieged minorities — and not only French-speaking Quebecers — need defenders against outside threats, real or perceived. This creates opportunities for volunteers, in the media and, as we saw again in Quebec this week, in politics.

05 August 2017

Don Macpherson: The wrong kind of Quebecers | Montreal Gazette

Don Macpherson: The wrong kind of Quebecers | Montreal Gazette



The concern was not about what people do. It was about what they are, about a characteristic they cannot change. The implication was that there aren’t enough of the right kind of people in Quebec, and too many of the wrong kind.
To put this in perspective, it’s hard to imagine mainstream politicians and commentators saying in 2017 that there are too many Jews in Quebec. But it was socially acceptable for them to say there are too many non-francophones.
It was a divisive message, telling the majority, once again, that its identity is threatened by enemies in its midst. And it told the linguistic minorities that it’s not enough to learn French and use it. Our simple presence here is the problem.

20 July 2017

How a snowstorm exposed Quebec's real problem: social malaise - Macleans.ca

How a snowstorm exposed Quebec's real problem: social malaise - Macleans.ca



The issues that led to the shutdown of a Montreal highway that left drivers stranded go beyond mere political dysfunction






11 July 2017

Challenge to Quebec sign laws headed to Court of Appeal — www.cbc.ca

Challenge to Quebec sign laws headed to Court of Appeal — www.cbc.ca



In seeking leave to appeal at Quebec's highest court Friday, O'Brien said that Quebec's sign laws are not just unconstitutional but outdated, as well. 


"In this case, we brought factual evidence about the current demographic situation of French in Quebec," he told reporters in Montreal. 
"Our view is that you cannot interpret [it] as being currently vulnerable. There's no threat of extinction of the French language right now."


10 July 2017

Julius Grey is anti-hate speech law

Supremes decided only the most extreme speech is hateful e.g., incitement

(a la Keegstra)

unpleasant, hurtful speech is not illegal (Beaubien Quebec)

mock, disapprove if you like

'the only proper answer to poor speech is more and better speech'

comedy exists to find a line, and jump over it

The Holocaust is not an excuse for censorship



Cult MTL | Montreal bleeds money on the Grand Prix

Cult MTL | Montreal bleeds money on the Grand Prix





For years we’ve been told that Montreal Grand Prix brings enormous
economic benefits to the city despite the hefty price tag —
$18.7-million in subsidies from three levels of government in 2015.


Turns out that’s about $10-million more than the tax benefits,
according to a study by the KPMG accounting firm conducted on behalf of
the Montreal International Jazz Festival, La Presse reports.


In comparison, the government tax take of Jazz Fest activities — many
of which are free to the public — were estimated to be more than double
the subsidies, $8.3-million on grants of about $4-million a year.