Conservatives make clear opposition to Quebec’s Invoice 21 following vote for however clauseFebruary 14, 2023
The federal Conservatives try to reassure the World Sikh Group of Canada that the social gathering stays against Quebec’s secularism regulation after its MPs voted in assist of a provision the province used to create it.
On Monday, the Conservatives voted en masse in favour of a Bloc Quebecois movement recognizing that provinces have a “reputable proper” to make use of the however clause, together with pre-emptively.
Requested for its rationale throughout a information convention held on a separate problem Tuesday, finance critic Jasraj Singh Hallan sidestepped questions relating to Invoice 21, whereas Pierre Paul-Hus, the social gathering’s principal Quebec consultant, referred to as the talk a waste of time.
However in a Tuesday letter to Balpreet Singh, a spokesman for the Sikh affiliation, deputy Conservative chief Tim Uppal accused the Liberals of attempting to spin a story that the Conservatives explicitly assist the “pre-emptive use” of the clause.
The however clause is a provision within the Constitution of Rights and Freedoms that permits provincial and federal governments to cross legal guidelines that circumvent elements of the Constitution for a interval of as much as 5 years.
When the clause is invoked pre-emptively, it successfully prevents anybody from launching a authorized problem in court docket.
“We’re speaking in regards to the suspension of human rights and the erosion of the Constitution,” Singh mentioned. “And that’s an enormous hit. Not only for minorities, however for all Canadians.”
The Sikh group is amongst a variety of teams vocally against Quebec’s secularism regulation, which bans some public servants in positions of authority from sporting spiritual symbols comparable to turbans at work.
Premier Francois Legault’s authorities invoked the however clause to usher within the regulation, in addition to Invoice 96, which reforms provincial language legal guidelines.
In 2021, the Ontario authorities used the however clause to revive elements of the Election Funds Act. It additionally invoked the clause final yr to impose a brand new contract on training employees, however shortly backed down from the measure.
In his letter, Uppal mentioned the however provision is a “long-standing half” of the Constitution and the power of provinces to make use of it’s “the authorized actuality.”
He goes on to say Trudeau’s authorities has “not made any makes an attempt to vary it,” regardless of having been in energy since 2015.
“Since Invoice 21 was launched in March of 2019, the Liberal authorities has taken no motion within the courts to oppose it,” Uppal mentioned.
Uppal mentioned that Conservative Chief Pierre Poilievre has been clear he’s against the Quebec regulation, and whereas he respects the province’s potential to cross its personal laws, he hopes it’s repealed. Poilievre’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Underneath its former chief, Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, the social gathering’s stance on the secularism regulation grew to become a subject of rivalry inside caucus, as many demanded he undertake a more durable place. It was one of many remaining battles he confronted earlier than being voted out by his MPs.
Singh mentioned Tuesday that he appreciates the social gathering’s clarification, however is dissatisfied with the Conservatives for selecting to vote for a movement that seems to be “empowering” provinces to make use of the clause.
“You may’t say that they will use the however clause willy-nilly,” he urged, whereas additionally arguing in opposition to Invoice 21.
For Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims CEO Stephen Brown, whose group additionally challenged the regulation and says it’s discriminatory, these two positions can’t be reconciled.
“You may’t have your cake and eat it too,” he mentioned, pointing to Quebec’s actions.
As for the governing Liberals, Brown mentioned their dedication to problem the pre-emptive use of the clause “is an efficient begin,” however that doesn’t hit on the coronary heart of the issue.
“It comes right down to a quite simple query: will we dwell in a rustic the place your authorities can take away your rights with none justification in anyway? That’s the basic query that everyone must reply. “
Lori Turnbull, a professor of political science at Dalhousie College, mentioned Poilievre desires to keep away from discovering himself wedged on the difficulty, significantly as a result of he hopes to develop his social gathering’s assist in Quebec.
She mentioned general, there’s a stark distinction between how liberals and conservatives view the clause. Whereas liberals view it as an emergency choice for use sparingly, Turnbull suggests conservatives seem like attempting to “normalize” its use as one other instrument at its disposal.
Nevertheless, she mentioned Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s rationale for utilizing it tends to deal with spending choices, whereas Legault’s revolves round secularism and particular person freedoms.