It dawned on me as I went through the interviews I gave following last week's anti-Bill 14 demonstration, that people - including commentators - did not know what this Bill is about. It is only tangentially about language. Language is the excuse for some of the most retrograde init...iatives a western liberal jurisdiction can enact. Following is a list of just five of the most shameful elements of the Bill.
1. The Bill eliminates the term of law "ethnic minorities" which is a human rights designation in the UN Covenant on Human Rights (1948), The UN Covenant on Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992), The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance Quebec City Declaration (Oct.2012, accepted by this very government, the Canadian Charter and the Quebec Charter, with the designation of "cultural communities" which has no legal standing. Quebec thus becomes the first western democratic jurisdiction to opt out of an international human rights convention regime.
2. The Bill gives inspectors for the OQLF the power to seize anything in a place of business that they find objectionable; go to the director of criminal and penal prosecutions; swear out an affidavit; and get a court judgment for $2500 without any notice to the citizen. Quebec thus becomes the first western democratic jurisdiction to allow prosecutions without notice, a basic tenat of western law for a thousand years and considered by Montesquieu in "Les ésprits des lois" to be the basis of civilized legal regimes. Actually, Revenue Quebec officers had that power for a year and a half until I got that changed working with Jean St-Gelais, then DG of Rev Que, now head of the fonction publique.
3. The Parti Québecois has since its founding in 1970 made respect for ``démocratie locale`` a foundational organizing principle. Bill 14 will do away with bilingual status for the 89 municipalities - 70 of them more than 90% francophone - who have passed resolutions stating that they wish to retain their bilingual status. So much for local democracy.
4. Sec. 33 of this Bill directs anglophone Cegeps not to consider any applications from francophone students until all anglophone applications have been accepted. That`s called segregation. Would we ever accept this if instead of anglophone we used the word "men" and instead of francophone we used the word "women." Standards based on language are as discriminatory as those based on color, gender, or religion.
5.Soldiers who risk their lives for our safety will be forced to send their children to French schools even if they have been transferred here from other parts of the country and are themselves anglophones. Eliminating the Bill 101 exemption for soldiers is simply odieux.
People should read the Bill. And understand that evil is possible here. The bill is not about language. It is a venal attempt by a government that has had to back away from almost all its promises to keep its `"pur et dur" in line through the politics of demonization, nullification and interposition.