By Matthew McCully
Local Journalism Initiative
“We’re not just talk, we’re all about action,” said Task Force on Linguistic Policy President Andrew Caddell in an interview with The Record hours after filing an application for judicial review and declaratory judgment on Bill 96 Wednesday morning in Montreal.
Caddell is one of six plaintiffs named in the legal challenge, which claims that sections of Bill 96 (An Act Respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Quebec) are “unconstitutional, inoperative, ultra vires (meaning beyond the powers of a government body) and in violation of the Constitution Act, 1867, the Constitution Act, 1982, the essential framework of Canadian federalism, and Canadian constitutionalism.”
That’s a mouthful, but as Caddell explained, the bill “is a mess,” adding it infringes on the rights of anyone that does not fit the mold in the ‘Quebec Nation’–a term that on its own is problematic.
“Quebec Nation, by way they define it, is exclusionary,” Caddell said. The application points out that “this definition is exclusionary and does not include non-francophones or those who do not share the same ethnocentric, anthropological, sociocultural group of common characteristics, origins, and history with the francophone majority of Québec.”
Caddell said the legal challenge intends to skirt right past the notwithstanding clause.
“The present application submits that the clause does not obstruct from litigation of majority of the principal provisions and their invalidity,” it reads, going on to say that even if any articles in the Bill were found to be protected by the notwithstanding clause, it still wouldn’t apply, because “a. The notwithstanding clause cannot abolish the rights conferred by the Canadian Constitution;