Today’s Quebec has drifted a great distance from the Quebec of 1832 that pursued equality when the Legislative Assembly passed the Emancipation Act to guarantee citizens the right to practise their faith.  Great Britain passed the equivalent to the Emancipation Act in 1859.

Today, the Quebec government refuses to ensure all citizens have identical language rights. Bill 101 limits the rights to use languages other than French to protect the French language. This is pure discrimination since the best way to protect French is to ensure all students receive an education in French from well-qualified teachers starting in kindergarten and until they graduate from high school.

The Quebec government destroys the voting rights of all Quebec citizens. Bill 39 will change the voting system so that 80 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly will be elected by voters in their electoral districts and the remaining 45 seats will be filled by representatives of each political party based on a second ballot, which is proportional representation. This prevents voters from directly controlling the National Assembly and allows politicians who could never win in an electoral district election to have a National Assembly seat.  

The Quebec government refuses to ensure that the voting power of citizens is almost equal. The number of registered voters in the 2018 provincial elections varied from 10,670 in Îlesde-la-Madeleine to 60,180 in Saint-Jean, which means 1 vote in Îles-de-la-Madeleine was equal to 5.64 votes in Saint-Jean. This is easily fixed if the Quebec government passed a law setting the maximum number of voters per electoral district to be within ±10% of the average number of voters per electoral district.  Then 1 vote in the smallest district equals 1.2 votes in the largest district.

The Quebec government refuses to maintain the existing religious rights of all citizens. Bill 21 prohibits police officers, public school educators, and judges from displaying their religious beliefs while working.  

The Quebec government destroys the constitutional education rights of all citizens to control and manage their own educational affairs. Bill 40 seeks to replace school boards with English-language and French-language service centres.  It also gave the Minister of Education powers to deal with education including the power to unilaterally modify the territories of English-language school service centres, retroactively annul decisions of school boards, and determine objectives relating to the administration, organization or operation of school service centres.

The Quebec government wants to provide a legal basis for discriminating against citizens whose common language is not French.

Bill 96 creates a hierarchy of fundamental rights, making language rights paramount by limiting human rights protection provided in both the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Bill gives powers to government language inspectors to perform their function without warrants or judicial review and increased blockades to accessing in the judicial system.

Since Canada is officially bilingual, the best thing to do is to ensure all Canadians are bilingual by giving all students an education in French and English from well-qualified teachers starting in kindergarten and until they graduate from high school.   Any type of discrimination is totally unacceptable.

Hy London

TMR

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