Quebec 2018

Written by  //  June 22, 2018  //  Québec  //  No comments

22 June
Ottawa makes deal to buy three icebreakers for coast guard
Deal avoids major work slowdown, layoffs at the Davie shipyard ahead of Quebec provincial election
There has been growing concern in Quebec about both the shipyard — and its workforce of roughly 1,300 — and the coast guard’s ability to break ice in the St. Lawrence River.
What the federal government signalled Friday was its intention to award the contact to Davie.
Competing shipyards will have two weeks to challenge that decision and demonstrate they can deliver ships with similar — or better — capabilities.
The deal that was struck involves a straight-up purchase of three icebreakers, with the Davie yard set to complete a series of modifications, said sources.

13 June
New Quebec poll suggests Coalition Avenir Québec has healthy lead
The Leger/LCN survey indicated the Coalition had the support of 37 per cent of respondents, compared with 28 per cent for the governing Liberals and 19 per cent for the Parti Québécois.
CAQ could form minority government, but still lacks anglophone support

16 May
CAQ immigration plan sets 3-year deadline on learning French, passing values test
Critics say plan oversteps Quebec’s role in immigration system
(CBC) Under the plan, laid out in an “orientation document” made public this week, immigration candidates would receive a temporary three-year permit, referred to as a certificat d’accompagnement transitoire (CAT), and be tested on certain criteria such as knowledge of the French language in order to receive authorization to apply for Canadian residency.
Legault would not say what questions he believes should be asked in the values test, but said it would conform to the values set out in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea for a political party to write a values test,” he said. “It would be done by the immigration ministry.”

13 May
Quebec elections: Resignation announcements hit Quebec Liberals ahead of fall vote
(Global) News that several Quebec Liberals won’t seek re-election this year has fuelled speculation the governing party’s boat is sinking, but former politicians caution against assuming that is the main reason behind the impending departures.
No fewer than 14 Liberal members of the legislature, including five cabinet ministers, have announced they won’t seek re-election. Four others, including two ministers and the Speaker, are also said to be considering their political future ahead of the Oct. 1 vote.
While Premier Philippe Couillard’s party is completing just its first mandate, the Liberals have been in power for 13 of the last 15 years and are polling consistently behind the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

28 April
Most Quebecers feel they’re overtaxed and underserved: study
More than 70 per cent of Quebec taxpayers say their taxes are “rather badly” administered and spent, according to a Université de Sherbrooke study.

16 – 17 April
Barreau du Québec files bombshell motion
(Canadian Lawyer) A motion filed jointly on Friday by the Barreau du Québec and the Montreal Bar, asking the Superior Court of Quebec to issue a declaratory judgment that all of the province’s laws, regulations and decrees are illegal because they were drafted and adopted in French only, has stunned politicians, lawyers and legal pundits the province.
“It’s a bombshell, there’s no other way to describe it,” says Benoît Pelletier, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister. “I’m sure the Quebec government is quite upset about it — and worried, too.”

Quebec bar files motion calling on province to change law-drafting process
Quebec’s law society is heading to court to challenge the way the provincial government goes about drafting and passing laws.
(Montreal Gazette) The Quebec Bar Association, along with the Montreal bar, said the current process is flawed and doesn’t respect the Canadian Constitution, making the province’s laws and decrees null and void.
In a motion filed last Friday and that names national assembly Speaker Jacques Chagnon and Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, the bars state the problem is the laws are drafted in French and then translated into English only after the fact instead of simultaneously.
The bars argue legislators therefore never get to see the English version before a bill is passed.
According to an interpretation of Art. 133 of the 1867 British North America Act, while either language may be used in debates and pleadings, laws must be adopted in both English and French.
The bars say the resulting legislation deprives all Quebec litigants of the right to the same version of the law in accordance with constitutional norms.

(La Presse) Le Barreau veut faire invalider les lois du Québec
(Droit-inc) Les barreaux veulent invalider les lois québécoises!
Elles ne sont pas simultanément traduites et manquent de cohésion, ce qui serait inconstitutionnel…
La demande introductive d’instance a été déposée vendredi, au palais de justice de Montréal. Elle a été signifiée par Mes Louis Brousseau et Marie France Tozzi, du cabinet Jeansonne Avocats au président de l’Assemblée nationale, Jacques Chagnon, et à la procureure générale du Québec, Stéphanie Vallée.
Les deux barreaux, qui sont présidés par Paul-Matthieu Grondin et Brian Mitchell, estiment que le processus d’adoption des lois par le législateur québécois n’est pas conforme à la Constitution canadienne.

30 March
Editorial: At last, Quebec anglophones are on the radar
The anglo minority needs and deserves some support. This week, both the provincial and federal governments took welcome steps to provide it.
On Tuesday, the Quebec budget allocated badly needed additional funding for Quebec’s new secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers. Its job is to ensure that the community’s rights and interests receive consideration at the highest levels.
Then, on Wednesday, the federal government published its Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. While the distribution of resources is far from symmetrical — fair enough, the circumstances are not symmetrical — Quebec’s official-language minority does get some welcome attention, including $5 million to support community initiatives and $3 million to expand English health networks in rural and remote regions. (However, English-speaking Quebecers can only look with envy at the support for francophone immigration to the rest of Canada, to give a demographic boost to linguistic-minority communities there; political realities do not allow a reciprocal program.)
Both the provincial and federal governments have emphasized the need to support rural anglophones’ access to services. Certainly, this is an important issue. However, it would be fitting if greater notice were also taken of Montreal anglos’ concerns; while English services are in better supply on the island, concerns are growing about such matters as dwindling school enrolment and access to health care and social services.

27 March
Quebec Cuts Business Taxes in Fourth-Straight Balanced Budget
((Bloomberg)) With an economy growing at the fastest pace in almost 20 years, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is trying to reverse months of declining popularity in the run-up to an Oct. 1 election by offering tax breaks and increased spending on health care, education and families. Quebec residents are among the most heavily taxed in North America.
The latest measures are on top of moves announced by Leitao in November, when he introduced personal income tax cuts worth about C$1.08 billion to benefit 4.2 million taxpayers.
Quebec budget: $24.5 million for anglo secretariat
(Montreal Gazette) The bureau in the civil service with five employees and $1 million will have its funding doubled and doubled again by 2023

24 March
We need to find ways to break the isolation of anglo seniors, Weil says
‘There needs to be a major public campaign to sensitize people to the value that these seniors represent’
The minister has been on a provincewide tour consulting anglophones on their needs and concerns, after the announcement by the Liberal government in November of the creation of a new secretariat to ensure that the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are taken into account in government decisions and policies.
Anglophone seniors, Weil heard, tend to be doubly isolated, because of vulnerabilities related to age but also because many of them do not speak fluent French. This can affect their ability to access health care and social services and to participate in community activities.
As baby boomers hit their golden years, services for the elderly are increasingly financially strapped, and volunteers are desperately needed to breach the gap, the groups told Weil.

26 February
Opinion: Quebec anglos have rare political leverage, and should use it
By Robert Libman
This is an important year for the anglophone community. A provincial election is to be held Oct. 1, and for the first time in a generation, the community could actually have an impact on the result. This time, the chess pieces are arranged a little bit differently than what anglophone voters are accustomed to, after years of being held in check by the Quebec Liberal Party.
With appetites for change sweeping politics everywhere, the Coalition Avenir de Quebec (CAQ) seems poised to form the next government. Their apparent commitment to the federal system, with the Parti Québécois having taken independence off the table for now, is allowing anglophones to consider straying from the hive. To ensure a victory, though, the CAQ will still need to make some inroads in the Montreal area, and will thus try to reach out to the anglophone community, still an uphill battle for a former sovereignist.
The Liberals are aware that they need our votes this time to defeat the CAQ. Real competition for anglo votes gives the community rare leverage.
Now is the time for our community to forcefully put our issues on the table. The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), English school boards and representatives of our health care institutions must be vocal during this narrow window that we have. The QCGN must push with renewed vigour for real powers and mandates to be identified for the new anglophone secretariat, and for concrete measures to improve representation of anglophones in the Quebec civil service.

17 February
Quebec’s next budget to address needs of anglophones: Weil
Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone community issues says the next budget will address issues she is hearing from that community.
(Montreal Gazette) Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone issues is raising hopes that the concerns and needs of the province’s English-speaking communities will be tackled in a concrete way in Quebec’s next budget.
Kathleen Weil held an all-day forum at Concordia University Friday to hear from about 40 leaders of groups and institutions that serve anglophone communities across Quebec.
At the end of the day she told them the Liberal government intends to present a costed-out, five-year action plan on issues they have brought to her attention in online consultations and in her province-wide tour, which is ongoing.
While better access to health and social services in English has been the top concern raised, Weil said her consultations have highlighted other concerns such as:

  • a “brain drain” of young, educated and bilingual anglophones out of the province,
  • poverty in English-speaking communities across Quebec, especially in rural areas
  • the need for more education programs in English in the skilled trades
  • the need to increase anglophone hires in the civil service

29 January
Martin Patriquin: Trudeau fails Muslims by not challenging Quebec’s niqab law
(iPolitics) As Quebec commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shootings, in which six Muslims were slaughtered because of their religion, the Trudeau government have shown that when the Prime Minister’s storied empathy collides with political considerations, politics inevitably win out. … Even before the shooting, Quebec’s provincial government introduced Bill 62, a so-called ‘religious neutrality bill’, which compelled anyone giving or receiving a government service do so with their face uncovered. It became law on October 18, 2017 — exactly 262 days after the mosque shootings.

4 January
Looking back on the 1998 ice storm 20 years later
35 died, nearly 1,000 were injured, making storm among worst natural disasters in Canadian history
(CBC) Twenty years ago this week, starting on Jan. 4, 1998, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario were pelted with as much as 100 millimetres of freezing rain and ice pellets — an ice storm that lasted five days.
At its peak, 3.5 million Quebecers — roughly half of Quebec’s population — and more than a million Ontarians, as well as thousands in New Brunswick, were left in the dark, many for several weeks.The affected regions were hit with double the amount of precipitation they normally receive in a year. See CBC archive and In the heart of the triangle of darkness
A dreadful time, but the community response was absolutely heartwarming.
And who can forget the daily updates from Premier Lucien Bouchard and the President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, André Caillé?
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces walk to their headquarters in Westmount, Que., on Jan. 9, 1998. (Robert Galbraith/Canadian Press)

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