An upcoming debate on the charter, says Jolin-Barrette

Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette believes Quebec should govern under its own charter of rights and liberties, not the one imposed by Ottawa.

For the past four years, the Legault government has put forward the concept of “collective rights” to justify certain nationalist reforms, even if it means violating the rights of minorities.

“Ever since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was introduced, it has been about individual rights. Many people have denied the existence of the Quebec nation. Many people have denied the collective rights of the Quebec nation. What we are bringing is a realignment,” Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said in an interview with our Parliament Office.

From the outset, the controversial no-objection clause was applied to the Secularism Act and Bill 101 reform to protect them from court challenge.

This new approach to Quebec politics has drawn widespread criticism from the PLQ and groups representing minorities, including the English-Montreal School Board.

Far from backing down, Mr Jolin-Barrette recalled that between 1982 and 1985 the Lévesque government applied the exception clause to all its laws.

For the Attorney General, Quebec’s laws should be evaluated according to the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and not the one imposed by Ottawa during the adoption of the Constitution in 1982.

“This charter [canadienne] of rights and freedoms, it was not adopted by the Quebec National Assembly. So there is a lack of legitimacy,” he emphasizes.

When the “Quebec model of coexistence” or the French language are in danger, “it is not for the courts to define the moral contract, the contract of coexistence, it is for the elected members of the National Assembly to do it”.

derogation clause

The minister therefore wants a “collective discussion” on how to evaluate Quebec’s laws. “I believe that we should govern ourselves according to the Quebec Charter,” he insists.

On the one hand, it was accepted by the elected members of the National Assembly, he recalls. But above all, it has been modified according to Quebec values, notably to recently include the notion of secularism.

“This discussion regarding the use of the provisions of parliamentary sovereignty in particular is currently being attacked in the courts of the Court of Appeal for the Secularism Act,” he recalls. So I think the debate will take place. »

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