Tag Archive for: Canadian Constitution

Bill 96: Protecting The French Language

Bill 96 is Quebec’s legislation which aims to make French the primary language of the province. Bill 96 would also declare Quebec ‘A Nation’—a move that would require opening up the Constitution. What could possibly go wrong?

Premier François Legault says the main reason for the need is the declining use of French in Quebec. Supporters of Bill 96 see it as essential because there is so much English in North America.

On the other side of the coin, is minority rights as anglophones in Quebec start to feel targeted. What has many concerned is Quebec’s plan to use the Notwithstanding clause to get what it wants. Constitutional law experts are at odds whether Quebec can unilaterally change the Constitution, which further muddies the water.

QCGN legal counsel Marion Sandilands discusses Bill 96’s impact on Canadian federalism and English language rights in Quebec with Warren Kinsella and Peter L. Biro.

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L’offensive constitutionnelle du Québec divise le pays

Francophones and non-francophones are at odds over the Quebec government’s desire to amend the Constitution Act of 1867 to recognize the Quebec “nation” whose “official” and “common” language is French.

As many as 79.5% of francophones – but only 25.2% of non-francophones – “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that Quebec should be defined as a nation in the Canadian Constitution, according to a Leger poll commissioned by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and the Association for Canadian Studies.

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Trudeau’s comments on Constitution spark backlash among Quebec anglos

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments that Quebec can unilaterally rewrite sections of the Constitution have upset representatives of the English-speaking community.

But the federal Justice Minister, David Lametti, insisted later that the federal government has not forgotten it has a role guarding the rights of Canadian minorities, including anglophones in Quebec.

Jennings expressed her worry about what Bill 96 might lead to in a letter to Lametti released Wednesday by the QCGN.  In the letter, Jennings raises “serious concerns” about Bill 96, its impact on the rights of minorities and what she suggests was Ottawa’s lukewarm response.

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Ottawa supports Quebec constitutional challenge on language reform, Trudeau says

In his first comments since the announcement of Quebec’s most notable language reforms in decades, Mr. Trudeau said Tuesday that the province can amend part of the Constitution to underscore that it is a nation and that its official language is French – adding that both things have already been recognized by the federal government.

In Quebec, the Quebec Community Groups Network expressed concern through a spokesperson.

Former Liberal senator Joan Fraser, speaking as a member of the network’s board of directors, said the organization supports the protection, promotion and preservation of the French language and culture in Quebec, but view Bill 96 as veering into the suppression of English rights.

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EDITORIAL: Quebec’s Bill 96 reignites language issue

Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s claim that his province can unilaterally change Canada’s constitution to recognize Quebec as a nation and French as its only official and common language has suddenly become a lot more serious.

That’s because the support of the Canadian government would be needed to approve it and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to already be on side.

But Marlene Jennings, leader of the Quebec Community Groups Network, a coalition of Anglophone organizations, says Bill 96 sets a dangerous precedent.

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