COMMITTEE EXAMINES EFFECTS OF AGENCY DIRECTIVES ON QUEBEC IMMIGRANTS

The National Assembly’s Committee on Culture and Education yesterday continued its clause-by-clause analysis of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Québec. The Committee proceeded in its study of clause 19 of the bill, covering Article 29.6 to 29.14 of the soon-to-be-modified Charter of the French Language.

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COMMITTEE CONTINUES TO CARVE OUT EXCEPTIONS TO EXEMPLARY USE OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE

The National Assembly’s Committee on Culture and Education resumed its clause-by-clause study of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Québec on Tuesday. They continued evaluating article 25 of the bill, which introduces articles 22.2 to 22.5 of the Charter of the French Language 

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EXEMPTIONS TO THE USE OF FRENCH BY GOVERNMENT UNDER SCRUTINY BY COMMITTEE

The Committee on Culture and Education continued its clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec yesterday, discussing clause 15 of the proposed legislation. This portion of the Bill deals with exceptions to the requirement that agencies of the civil administration (i.e. government institutions) communicate in the official language.

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BILL 96 – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE DEBATES “HISTORIC ANGLO” CLAUSE

The Committee on Culture and Education continued its clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec on Wednesday.

The Committee began by continuing its consideration of article 12, which would require agencies of the civil administration to file an annual report shall stating the number of positions within its organization that require knowledge of a language other than French. Liberal Committee members questioned the universal application of this section and proposed that agencies of the civil administration required or designated to communicate in English be exempted. The government explained that government-wide statistics are required, but that it did not want to impose obligations on existing entities that are not required to produce annual reports. The article was adopted without further amendment.

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LANGUAGE RIGHTS UNDER HEALTH ACT WILL NOT BE TIED TO ‘HISTORIC ANGLOPHONE’ DEFINITION

The Committee on Culture and Education reconvened yesterday for its ongoing clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. Members began with article 6 of the legislation, that requires the civil administration to use the French language, promote the languages’ quality, protect it, and ensure its development, all in an ‘exemplary manner’. Article 6 seeks to modify articles 13.1 and 13.2 of the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101).

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THE RULE OF LAW

Once upon a time in the West, the law was determined by, enforced, and adjudicated by the ruler. But the ruler was not subject to the law. He or she was placed above the law. The ruler was sovereign and considered immune, with a divine source of power…

Two things happened. The nobility – which had to pick up the tab for and fight the sovereign’s wars – became fed up with the capricious exercise of royal power. This is what the great Magna Carta Libertatum agreed to by King John at Runnymede in 1215 was all about. It would take a few more centuries however for the West to land on the idea that the sovereign was a subject of law, and that the source of their power was not divine, but derived from the governed.

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WHAT IS PARLIAMENTARY SOVEREIGNTY?

Quebec’s Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec would add the following paragraph to the preamble of the Charter of the French Language:

“Whereas, in accordance with parliamentary sovereignty, it is incumbent on the Parliament of Québec to confirm the status of French as the official language and the common language and to enshrine the paramountcy of that status in Québec’s legal order, while ensuring a balance between the collective rights of the Québec nation and human rights and freedoms.”

In addition, the following was included in the preamble to Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State:

“AS, in accordance with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty, it is incumbent on the Parliament of Québec to determine the principles according to which and manner in which relations between the State and religions are to be governed in Québec.”

Parliamentary supremacy – although it’s referred to as sovereignty in both the preambles above – represents a core element of United Kingdom constitutional law. This is a principle to provide the legislative branch of government, Parliament, with the ultimate legal authority to create (or repeal) any law. In theory, British courts cannot overturn or change laws passed by Parliament. This is because the power to make laws is vested with the elected House of Commons, with the House of Lords reviewing legislation. British courts doled out the monarch’s (the executive branch of government) justice. In a nutshell, if the courts could overturn laws passed by the legislative branch, the monarch would be able to make an end-run and be empowered to thwart the will of the House of Commons. This system was carefully built on a series of compromises following the English civil wars of the 17th Century…

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BILL 96 AND THE DEAF: THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF LEGISLATION

Quebec recently unveiled plans to make substantial changes to the Charter of the French Language through Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. The purpose of Bill 96 is “to affirm that the only official language of Quebec is French.” It also affirms that French is the common language of the Quebec nation. Bill 96 pre-emptively invokes Section 33 (the notwithstanding clause) of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would shield the Charter of the French Language from judicial review.  In a nutshell, Quebecers will lose their fundamental freedoms, legal, and equality rights in the application of the Charter of the French Language.

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LE PROJET DE LOI NO 96 ET LA COMMUNAUTÉ SOURDE : LES CONSÉQUENCES IMPRÉVUES DE LA LÉGISLATION

Québec a récemment dévoilé ses plans de modifier la Charte de la langue française en passant par le projet de loi no 96, une Loi sur la langue officielle et commune du Québec, le français. L’objectif du projet de loi no 96 est d’« affirmer que la seule langue officielle du Québec est le français. », en plus d’affirmer que le français est la langue commune de la nation québécoise. Le projet de loi no 96 invoque en outre l’article 33 comme mesure préventive (la clause nonobstant) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés qui protégerait la Charte de la langue française d’une révision judiciaire. En bref, les Québécoises et les Québécois perdront leurs libertés fondamentales, leurs garanties juridiques et leurs droits à l’égalité dans l’application de la Charte de la langue française.

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MANY REASONS TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS

The first census in North America was conducted in 1666 by the Intendant of New France, Jean Talon. Going door to door, he recorded the names, ages, genders, and occupations of members of the population. This was the beginning of the national census that would eventually serve as a great contributor to our social development and to advancement in Canadian society.

Of course, there have been changes to the census over the years to reflect the changing Canadian landscape and to collect as much evidence as possible about the population. As the government looks to improve the lives of its citizens, the census helps to identify key socioeconomic trends in Canadian society. This, in turn, provides the government with vital information it can use to make decisions on national needs to be addressed.

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