First Ontario, now Quebec: The notwithstanding threat - Loonie Politics

Oct 11 15:10 2018 Print This Article

 

Newly elected Quebec Premier François Legault has announced his intent to use Section 33 of the Constitution of Canada, more often referred to as the notwithstanding clause, to prohibit civil servants from wearing religious symbols when interacting with the public.

It’s an alarming announcement to me, as a lawyer and faculty member at a law school.  Here’s why.

Legault’s invocation of the clause, just weeks after Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s ultimately unnecessary threat to use it in his legal battle to shrink the size of Toronto city council, sent a signal to the prime minister and other premiers: Ontario and Quebec do not play by the rules.

Legault issued his threat even earlier out of the gates than Ford did, following a similarly stunning provincial election result.

He’s musing about using the notwithstanding clause to short-circuit the Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on a matter of fundamental religious freedom and freedom of expression.

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Loonie Politics

In September 2013, Loonie Politics started to provide Canadians with a different approach to Canadian political news and analysis. Loonie Politics is a trusted, independent news source that selects the must read daily Canadian political stories and analysis on line and provides a view of the landscape across the country in one location.

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