While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent criticism of the use of the notwithstanding clause by the governments of Quebec and Ontario is admirable, “English-speaking Quebeckers remain worried that the federal government is embracing proactive use of the notwithstanding clause through its proposed update of the Official Languages Act,” reads a letter from QCGN President Eva Ludvig to The Globe and Mail.
Tag Archive for: Notwithstanding clause
Premier Legault’s recent Twitter outburst “should not deter the Trudeau government from seeking a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the notwithstanding clause,” writes Joan Fraser, a former senator and editor in chief of the Montreal Gazette, as well as current QCGN board member.
When it comes to the use of the notwithstanding clause, law professors Jason MacLean and Kerri Anne Froc suggest a three-part regulatory framework that might make such use more deliberate. Groups like the QCGN ought to “pressure Ottawa to insist on such a framework being used whenever a province wishes to invoke the notwithstanding clause,” write Keith Henderson, former leader of the Equality Party, and Brent Tyler, a human rights lawyer.
(Audio) Quebec’s Bill 96, which comes with generous use of the notwithstanding clause, would entrench the French language as the only official language of the province and open up the Constitution to recognize the province as a nation. That brings up a number of questions: What about Quebec anglophones and their rights? Can a province open up the Constitution to make changes and do it without a debate? QCGN President Marlene Jennings and Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadians Studies (ACS), discuss these issues with Ed Hand on the podcast Unpublished Café
Who is ready and willing to stick their neck out? Once the much anticipated legislation beefing up Bill 101 is tabled in the National Assembly, who will step up and represent the concerns of minority communities in Quebec?
Premier François Legault has already made it clear his Coalition Avenir Québec government won’t hesitate to use the notwithstanding clause, an admission that fundamental rights will be in play.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is the organization most likely be at the forefront as the debate heats up. Its president, former MP Marlene Jennings, sounds like she knows what’s coming. “I’m ready to rumble,” she has said. The school boards, anglo institutions, human rights lawyers and English media will all have important roles to play.
Read more (Subscription required)
Get all the latest news about the QCGN in your inbox.
Sign up here!
1819, René-Lévesque Blvd W
Montreal, Quebec H3H 2P5