Saturday, October 20, 2007

MODERN QUEBEC: LESS TOLERANT THAN THE BRITISH EMPIRE

The Parti Quebecois is proposing legislation that would require all holders of public office in Quebec to pass a government mandated French language test.

Under the proposed law, immigrants who can't speak proper French after an appropriate apprenticeship in provincially funded language courses would be forbidden from running for election in provincial and municipal elections as well as those for school boards.
Now consider this:

Lower Canada was the first colony in the British Empire in which Catholics were allowed to hold public office. It was the only colony in the Empire allowed to function under the Napoleonic Code and not the Common Law for civil procedures. It was the only colony in the Empire in which a language other than English was made an official language of government record.

Now the heirs of that colony are denying their province's linguistic minorities the very tolerance and accommodation they were once provided. Maitres chez nous indeed.

[Link via Calgary Grit]

Update, the next day
: Ben points out of course that the right to represent one's fellow citizens is guaranteed under section 3 of the Charter, which is one of the sections that cannot be overridden by the nothwithstanding clause. Also, a short but interesting discussion is there in the comments about whether the LG of Quebec would assent to the bill or if the federal government would revive the power to disallow legislation.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:37 PM

Read or Post a Comment

The British Empire gets a bad rap.

The things it was bad about, its republican contemporaries were often worse about, and it was just as self-correcting as any modern democracy (which is to say not as quick as it should have been, but it got there in the end).

Posted by Blogger Ben @ October 23, 2007 1:52 AM #
 
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