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Quebec wants to include the child as a “subject of law” in the law

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Archives Le Devoir If she maintains that the State must develop a Charter of Children's Rights “as soon as possible” – one of the key recommendations of her report – Régine Laurent claims to have found there a way to introduce the file in a preliminary manner to the framework legislative. We see it here during the presentation of this report, in May 2021.

Failing to immediately create a Charter of Children's Rights, Quebec intends to make the child a “subject of law”. A measure which will have the effect of young people being listened to more in court, according to the former president of the special commission on youth protection, Régine Laurent.

While the study of Bill 37 on the Commissioner for Welfare and Children's Rights opened on Tuesday, Ms. Laurent and the former commissioners of the Special Commission on the Rights of Children and youth protection have in turn called for the preamble to the law to contain a direct reference to children as subjects of law.

“This would strengthen their capacity to defend themselves, to have their rights respected, and to strengthen their participation in discussions on the rights that concern them,” indicated Ms. Laurent in her brief submitted to the committee.

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Visiting parliament a few minutes later, former commissioner Jean Simon Gosselin also stressed the importance of concretely including the child in the Quebec legal framework. Especially in the context where Minister Lionel Carmant postponed the creation of a Charter on the rights of children last fall. “In our conception, the commissioner and the Charter, they went together,” he agreed, before inviting the minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, to take a first step through his draft law.

In practice, the child is already a subject of law, in the same way as any natural person, but the law does not formally specify this. “It doesn't seem like much, a little sentence, but to say that the child is a person in his own right and a subject of rights, that will reinforce what everyone is talking about: the child has the right to participate,” explained Mr. Gosselin in an interview with the Devoir upon leaving the committee. “Basically, what tires us a little is that everyone speaks for the children. »

“It’s something that goes without saying”

For Mr. Carmant, the introduction of children as subjects of rights is “an achievement”. “I completely agree. It’s something that goes without saying,” he confirmed to Régine Laurent, who had just recommended it to him, via screens.

“I remember a closed-door hearing with a young person. I think he was twelve years old and he told us that he didn't want to go to the other parent's house, in this case the dad. But he said: I had to go,” she said. “So where is the child’s right ? Where did we listen to the child’s words in this example ?” she asked.< /p>

If she maintains that the State must develop a Children's Rights Charter “as soon as possible” – this was also one of the key recommendations of her report submitted in May 2021 – Ms. Laurent claims to have found a way to to introduce the file in a preliminary manner to the legislative framework.

When tabling his bill in October, Minister Carmant confirmed the postponement of the development of a charter, pleading that the child welfare commissioner would be the best person to direct its editorial staff. “We’ll see what [the commissioner] will ask us. He will analyze the needs and we will see,” he said, even suggesting that it might never see the light of day.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116