Attorney General won’t rule out challenge of Quebec’s new secularism bill
Justice Minister David Lametti did not rule out contesting Quebec’s new secularism law prohibiting public servants in authority positions from wearing religious symbols on the job.
“I did not say yes or no. We will look—we will study the law and we will look,” Lametti told reporters today in Ottawa of next steps for his government regarding Bill 21.
“We’ve been clear from the outset that we don’t believe it’s up to a government to tell people what they should wear or what they shouldn’t wear…We’re the Party of the Charter and we’re going to defend it.”
But the Justice minister would not say how possible involvement might unfold; as a standalone constitutional challenge or as intervenor in lawsuit filed by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
“We will look carefully at the arguments that have been put forward,” he said of the group’s joint legal challenge filed Monday, less than 24 hours after Québec’s National Assembly passed the law over the weekend.
At around 10:30pm Sunday evening, Premier Francois Legault’s majority government forced closure on Bill 21 debate and with Parti Québecois support, the legislation passed in 73 to 35 vote. Québec Solitaire and provincial Liberals voted against the new law.
The most senior Quebec MP in the federal Conservatives’ camp to comment on this contentious new provincial legislation was Gérard Deltell, who expressed a “hands off” view and said the province could use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause.
“(Bill 21)’s not a point of view we share. That said, we are in a democracy. People oppose it, they can say it clearly and that’s the beauty of it,” Deltell said.
“In our view, it concerns the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec. In the charter, in the constitution, it is marked and enshrined that (provinces) can use the notwithstanding clause.”
Whether you like Stephen Harper or not, one thing that we can agree on is that national unity concerns evaporated while he was in office.
For most of his time in office, Harper was popular in the West, divisive in much of Ontario, and unpopular in Quebec.
That was mirrored in the Conservatives electoral results between 2004 and 2015, with their support base always being in the West, combined with wins when they could increase their support in Ontario, and once in a while doing okay in Quebec when things aligned perfectly.
Yet, take note of what didn’t happen.
Even when Harper and the Conservatives were unpopular in Quebec, separatist sentiment didn’t rise.
In fact, support for Quebec separatism collapsed during Harper’s time in office, with the PQ narrowly winning one election, then getting crushed, then being basically superseded by a nationalist but not separatist party.
Quebec separatism was dealt a crippling blow during Harper’s time in office, and the reason it happened is quite simple.
Harper respected provincial jurisdiction and encouraged the growth of key Quebec industries.
Harper generally stayed out of Quebec’s business, didn’t interfere with provincial matters, and pushed for the growth of all sectors of Canada’s economy, including Quebec’s aerospace sector.
Even when Quebeckers didn’t like Harper, they felt he wasn’t actively against them.
As a result, many Quebeckers felt it was possible to succeed within Canada, even under a leader that wasn’t popular in their province.
And that brings us to Justin Trudeau.
Some establishment pundits claim the rise of separatist sentiment in Alberta and the West is simply because Justin Trudeau is unpopular.
But if that was true, separatist sentiment in Quebec would have surged because of Harper’s unpopularity.
And as we know, that didn’t happen.
So it’s not about Trudeau being unpopular.
It’s about the very real perception that Trudeau and his government are actively opposed to Alberta’s key industry.
The Trudeau Liberals are clearly more interested in global virtue-signalling than they are in supporting a key industry in our country. Yet, they continue to express support for industries like the auto sector and aerospace sector that use tons of oil and gas, and just so happen to be in the electoral battlegrounds of Ontario and Quebec.
So, we can see exactly what’s going on:
Alberta and the Western Canadian energy sector are being unfairly singled out by the government, and the resulting rise in anger and separatist sentiment is no surprise.
On Twitter, Anthony Furey summed things up well:
“It’s absurd to filter a decision on #TeckFrontier through emissions targets that we all know are just idealistic posturing. What serious politician does something silly like that to their own country and economy??”
This is why Justin Trudeau is already a failed prime minister.
A leader is supposed to serve their own nation, their own people above all else. In Canada, that means ensuring that each region and province is free and supported in the development of their own core industries.
When that happens, it’s actually very easy to keep Canada together, as Stephen Harper showed.
Yet, instead of serving all Canadians, Justin Trudeau is deliberately dividing our nation, putting international elitist opinion above the unity and prosperity of our country.
Now, because of Justin Trudeau’s failure, Canada’s unity is crumbling, and our nation is at serious risk of irrevocably breaking apart.
Millions of Canadians throughout the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, all the way to Newfoundland and Labrador, will be facing what unique and brutal snowstorm that will cover over 2,500 km of Canada under a blanket of snow.
Overall, the storm is expected to span three days in six different provinces, with the snow in some areas expected to pile up to 50 centimetres. It’s estimated that over 16,000,000 Canadians will be impacted by the February snowfall.
Snow is expected to begin Saturday and go strong into Sunday night, though more southern areas of Canada will start seeing snowfall as early as Wednesday and Thursday morning.
The Niagara region will face a unique challenge, as snowfall is expected to turn into hail and freezing rain on Thursday.
Overall, Ontario will experience the least harsh weather conditions of all provinces. The further east we go, though, the more is expected.
Southern Quebec will experience heavy snow early Thursday morning, which could have an impact on anyone travelling throughout the weekend. Snow is expected to pile up to 25 cm throughout southern Quebec. This includes Quebec City and Montreal.
Atlantic Canada, as is often the case, will be on the receiving end of the most snow, with as much as 50 cm of snow possible for parts of P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. The Bay of Fundy area near New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will also likely be experiencing some freezing rain.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has defended a $30 million, taxpayer-funded blimp by saying that the Quebecois should learn to take risks, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Legault’s decision to fund this blimp has come under intense scrutiny from other parties in Quebec’s National Assembly. Legault’s governing CAQ has defended the blimp, saying that it would be perfect for heavy transport.
Unlike the blimp, Legault enjoys self-inflation, calling the idea “brilliant” when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday. Legault’s plan, however, has gone down like the Hindenburg with journalists, who are sceptical over the cost of the project.
Defending this, criticized these helio-sceptics for not taking risks, which the Quebec Premier believes is necessary for a societies advancement. “If we don’t take risks we go nowhere,” he said.
Legault has admitted that this project has challenges, and the opposing parties have enjoyed using puns to criticize the government’s ambitions. “I don’t want to ‘burst the balloon’ for the minister, and I don’t know if anyone inhaled any helium at Investment Quebec,” said the spokesperson for the radical Quebec Solidaire party.
Montreal has become the latest city to ban plastic bags.
The city has had a partial ban on plastic bags since January of 2018 when thin plastic shopping bags were axed. The new ban will include large and regular-sized shopping bags—less than 50 microns, roughly the same thickness of a kitchen garbage bag.
“2020 is the last year for plastic bags in Montreal,” said mayor Valorie Plante, announcing that the city would change the previously in-effect law to now ensure all plastic bags are not available to shoppers.
Plante pointed to pressure from the public, who have been pressing her office.
“We have to reduce at the source,” said Plante.
Executive committee member for ecological transition Laurence Lavigne Lalonde said that the plastic bags currently being used pose a public health threat.
“I think the impact is significant and we have to ask ourselves questions about the actions we are taking,” she said.
“Reducing at the source is the solution, period,” she said.
“We have every good reason to move forward.”
Montreal joins a long list of other cities and even countries that have implemented similar laws. According to a list compiled by TorontoEnvironment.org:
“In Canada, the town of Leaf Rapids, Manitoba banned plastic bags in 2007. Other North American cities include San Francisco (also 2007), Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and Mexico City. The states of Hawaii and North Carolina have banned plastic bags, and states in Australia and India have done the same.
Countries that have banned disposable plastic bags include Italy, China, Bangladesh, many countries in Africa including Rwanda, Kenya, the Congo, and South Africa.”