Notwithstanding clause: Trudeau denies leading an attack on Quebec
Justin Trudeau refuses to let go and continues to repeat on all platforms that he is uncomfortable with the preventive use of the notwithstanding provision of the Canadian Constitution by provincial governments.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is staying the course: his government will intervene before the Supreme Court on the preventive use of the overriding clause of the Constitution by the provinces to suspend certain individual rights. It even makes it a matter of principle.
Questioned on Monday before starting a three-day retreat with his Cabinet, the Prime Minister once again indicated that Ottawa will not hesitate to intervene before the highest court in the country to defend the fundamental rights of Canadians. However, he defended himself from leading a frontal attack against Quebec.
Yet this is what François Legault accused him of on Saturday after the publication in The Pressfrom an interview where Mr. Trudeau said he was seriously considering submitting a reference to the Supreme Court on the preventive use of the notwithstanding clause – also known, erroneously, as the notwithstanding clause.
I have often said that I deplore when the provinces, whatever the province, […] use the notwithstanding clause [sic] in a precautionary way to suspend fundamental freedoms, said Justin Trudeau on Monday.
I think that's not a good thing to do, he continued, adding that his position was the same for all provinces.
“It's not a question of the feds versus the provinces; it's a matter of making sure we're there to defend everyone's basic freedoms.
—Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
For Mr. Trudeau, the debate is not new, insofar as his government had already made it known that it would intervene before the Supreme Court if it were to examine the Law on the secularism of the #x27;State (also known as Law 21) of Quebec, to challenge the preventive use of the notwithstanding provision, in particular.
Before the interview published in The Pressof Saturday, however, the Prime Minister had never stated verbatim that a referral to the highest court in the land was among the avenues studied by the federal Minister of Justice, David Lametti.
This new disagreement comes as Ottawa and the provinces have shown signs of rapprochement in recent weeks on the issue of federal health transfers. On this subject, the Prime Minister seemed convinced that the Legault government will be able to make sense of things.
There will always be issues on which we will not agree with the provinces […], but we will always work respectfully with them based on the principles and legislation that govern our country, a he assured.
The notwithstanding provision of the Canadian Constitution has been used twice since the election of the CAQ government of François Legault: to protect Bill 21 as well as law 96 on French, a common language.
In Ontario, the Progressive Conservative government of Doug Ford also considered it in order to prevent a strike by support workers in the education sector, before changing its mind under pressure from the government. #x27;public opinion.
In Ottawa, both the Liberals of Justin Trudeau and the Conservatives of Pierre Poilievre and the New Democrats of Jagmeet Singh are of the opinion that the federal government should intervene in the Supreme Court to challenge Bill 21. Of all recognized parliamentary groups , only the Bloc Québécois opposes it.
Pierre Poilievre's Quebec lieutenant, Pierre Paul-Hus, has nevertheless accused Justin Trudeau of playing a political game in order to provoke Quebec.
Obviously the Supreme Court has a say, but the fact remains that basically, wanting to initiate a review procedure is a political order from the Prime Minister, he said in an interview with Radio-Canada on Monday.
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In Quebec City, all parties represented in the National Assembly believe that Ottawa should refrain from intervening to restrict the use of the notwithstanding provision of the Constitution, except the Liberal Party, which currently occupies the official opposition benches.
Even if he opposes Bill 21, the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, took advantage of his pre-sessional caucus on Monday to invite Justin Trudeau to stand at the x27;dismissal of these debates, considering that they should be made and settled here, in Quebec.
According to him, the Prime Minister of Canada has no no lesson to be taught in the protection of human rights considering the way his government treats indigenous peoples.
On the show< em>Midi info, on ICIPremière, the interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Marc Tanguay, said for his part that he was not surprised that the federal government wanted to take the matter to court.
Now, at the end of the day, it's a political debate that will be settled in the National Assembly, he added, hinting that Law 21 will eventually be amended, or even repealed, by the Quebec Parliament.
With information from La Presse canadienne