Bill 60: “Underhanded second kick at the can on Bill 14” says Laval’s Ouimet

Demands Justice Minister St. Arnaud’s resignation

“Disclose justice ministry legal experts’ advice on Bill 60—or do the honourable thing”
Gilles Ouimet

By Robert Frank

Lots of people think that the courts would overturn the Parti québécois’ proposed values charter. Gilles Ouimet wants to know whether the provincial government’s own legal experts think so too.

“As Justice Minister, Bertrand St. Arnaud has a specific duty within the government to ensure that government legislation is legal,” the co-chair of the Quebec Liberal Party’s committee reviewing Bill 60 told The Suburban. “Both the Quebec Bar Association and the Quebec Human Rights Commission have indicated unequivocally that it is, in fact, illegal. If he’s truly concerned about his responsibilities, he should reveal what the justice ministry’s own experts have said about Bill 60. If he can’t do that, then he ought to resign.”

Quebec Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard asked the committee to look into the potential impact of the values charter.

“We revisited the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, which recommended a limited ban on conspicuous expression of religion by a very limited number of government officials who exercise authority, such as judges, police and corrections officers,” Ouimet said.

“Bill 60, which is a concern to all Liberals, affects a large proportion of the people in my riding of Fabre, in Laval, where the immigrant population is nearing 30 per cent,” he added. “It divides the population and singles out cultural communities. I plan to keep fighting for the rights of the minorities who have unfortunately been targeted by the Parti québécois government.”

Ouimet acknowledged that the péquistes are also using all the fuss about visible minorities as cover for their efforts to undermine the acquired rights of Quebec’s main audible minority.

“Most of the debate has focused public attention on conspicuous expressions of religion, but [Bill 60] also contains an underhanded second kick at the can on the French-language issues raised by [the now defunct] Bill 14,” he noted.

“They’re not reintroducing the same measures to infringe on English minority language rights,” Ouimet added. “Even the English community acknowledges that all of us sharing the French language is a positive part of our heritage and culture in Quebec.”

“But it is problematic the way that the Parti québécois government is trying [to use clauses that it has inserted into Bill 60] to reintroduce the idea that the French language is a fundamental right,” he concluded.

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