May 24, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Jolin-Barrett is working on the “Constitution of Quebec”

Jolin-Barrett is working on the "Constitution of Quebec"

(Quebec) Rene Levesque thought about it, and the idea came back under Lucine Bouchard. Bernard Laundry took over, followed by Pauline Morois and Daniel Turp. Last year, even liberals of Dominic Anglade flirted with the idea. The draft of the “Quebec Constitution” is once again under construction: now Simon Jolin-Barrett holds the pencil.

Posted yesterday at 6:00 p.m.

Last May, the Legalt government was surprised: Bill 96 on the French language charter hopes to formally incorporate the fact that French is “the only official language of Quebec” and “the common language of Quebec” into the Canadian Constitution. . Article 45 of the 1982 Constitution provides that a province may amend the text of the Canadian Constitution, but only specifically for the relevant part.

While these explanations are formal and have no descriptive value to guide the court’s verdict, the commentary has been welcomed by many commentators, including Benoit Pelletier, a former minister and constitutional expert on Jean – Charles. Especially since Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the proposal was completely unconstitutional. Liberals of Dominic Angled also contributed to this idea. Minister Jolyn-Barrett said this accuracy still has legal implications, but many constitutional experts do not share his view.

In this spirit, the Minister of Justice wants to advance his thinking on a more complete text, the true “Quebec Constitution”. Its content is predictable, which certainly recalls the founding elements of Quebec’s diverse character: language, state secularism, gender equality, openness to newcomers, respect for minority rights, English speaker. If Minister Joelin-Barrett gets the green light from Franకోois Legalt, the project will be unveiled at the next meeting of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) next May. So far, he has basically worked in a vacuum with his political cabinet.

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Priority: The pandemic

Restarted by Press This week, the minister declined to “comment on this file”. Among the strategists in Quebec, we are a little skeptical; We have been informed of the project, but for the time being, the Legalt government is most concerned with a coherent exit from the pandemic. The project was not submitted to the caucus of CAQ deputies, but some soundings with some of them showed that they were careful. We are perplexed by how the population response will be if constitutional issues are re-centered in the political debate.

But this earlier progress was also reduced to the symbolism of the “declarative” provision without legal consequences, giving at least some content to the very muscular game plan invented by Franకోois Legalt in the constitutional file.

In late 2015, in front of his supporters, Mr Legalt unveiled his ambitious “new nationalist project”, the transfer of federal tax points to culture, the repatriation of power in immigration, for example, “more power, more autonomy, but in Canada”. At the time, we must not forget that CAQ was inspired by Pierre Carl Pelado’s PQ and its rigid sovereignty program. The CAQ guarantees that the proposal will require changes that do not require a pre-existing, provincial consensus. With the support of Franకోois Legalt for the Conservative Party and Erin O’Toole, it is unthinkable that the Trudeau government would be in a hurry to begin a dialogue with the CAQ government on the constitutional file.

A project that has not been around since yesterday

The project for the “Quebec Constitution” is a long soap opera in vain. In 1984, Renనే Lewesk asked constitutional expert Jacques-Yvonne Morin to consider the question. His proposal, submitted in the spring of 1985, remains a dead letter; Levesque resigned in June of that year. Subsequently, Jacques Parijou never showed much interest in this question. During his brief tenure, power was used to prepare for the referendum. For Lucy Bouchard, the question seemed radioactive, that there was no need to re-ignite the flame of sovereignty when the militant base called for a new referendum or a more mundane language policy.

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After leaving in 2005, Bernard Laundry said in an interview that if the PQ had won the 2003 general election, the draft would have gone ahead with the Quebec constitution.

As Prime Minister, before this election, he felt that, in his opinion, he did not have the legitimacy needed to finally launch a campaign that would be approved by a referendum. Jacques-Vivan Morin’s text also provided that this internal constitution should be submitted to the leading negotiators.

Subsequently, Pauline Morois and her deputy Daniel Turp, who became PQ leaders, came up with the idea. In opposition, she introduced Bill 195 on Quebec recognition and another Bill 196 on the Quebec Constitution. A heated debate ensued – Quebec citizenship, the right to be a candidate for a particularly elected office, was proposed as requiring “appropriate” knowledge of the French language. The controversial “we” strategy has been ignored. At the same time, the then opposition leader of the ADQ, Mario Dumont, also proposed giving Quebec an internal constitution, but he did not specify its content.