Marois would use notwithstanding clause to ensure charter becomes law

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois says she is prepared to invoke the notwithstanding clause to ensure her party's controversial secular charter is adopted.

Marois says she has plans to reintroduce the values charter project as it currently stands if her party forms a majority government in next Monday's Quebec election.

Marois told a news conference today that any legal threat against the charter will be met with the notwithstanding clause.

The clause is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and allows Parliament or provinces to override the charter in order to adopt legislation.

The federal government and other parties have already said they will take whatever action is necessary to stop the charter.

In the past, Marois has said she was confident the charter would be able to withstand legal challenges, but is bringing up using the seldom-used clause for the first time.

Identity issues and language have taken centre stage a week before the vote.

'Regrettable': Couillard

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said Monday it's clear to him the charter is an attempt at engineering a social crisis and that the PQ's ultimate goal is clear: a sovereignty referendum.

"It is regrettable, questionable and indefensible see how to Madame Marois and the PQ, the end justifies the means,'' Couillard said in Quebec City, describing the move as "machiavellian.''

The Liberal leader said the PQ charter is a political ploy that has nothing to do with Quebecers' identity.

"The goal was not to legislate on the so-called identity,'' Couillard said. "The goal was to create a big fight, a big division and build that in a truly machiavellian way toward a referendum.''

The PQ has pushed to move the discussion to identity and language just one week before the vote which has been dominated by talk about sovereignty and an independence referendum.

For his part, the Coalition for Quebec's Future said it wants to keep the focus on the economy in the final week of the campaign.

Coalition Leader Francois Legault noted he brought up the notion last August of using the notwithstanding clause. But he told a reporter on Monday he wasn't going to discuss the matter further. He is in favour of a modified version of the charter but said there are more important issues to discuss.

"I won't play Madame Marois's game by talking about the charter,'' Legault said in Quebec City. "I want to talk about the economy and I'm going to talk about the economy until April 7.''

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 12
  1. 1mohawkview posted on 03/31/2014 01:43 PM
    When will we get rid of this legalized racist law bill 101 and any other laws like it?
  2. Karla Liebrandt posted on 03/31/2014 02:27 PM
    While she may be able to invoke the "Notwithstanding" clause, the federal government has the ability to overturn any law passed by the provinces. I have often wondered why they have not done so in the past, when certain Quebec laws were deemed as unconstitutional. The "Notwithstanding" clause is only to be used in exigent circumstances, not to stop a perceived threat to what is at best a derivative language.
  3. Eric posted on 03/31/2014 05:09 PM
    I believe Marois and the PQ party will learn a valuable lesson on the 7th! Their ideals are not shared amongst all Quebecers. They are a party of the dinosaur age. Their xenophobic laws are not welcome here. I just hope they suffer a major defeat like what happened to the Bloc!
  4. Derek posted on 03/31/2014 05:46 PM
    This lady is delusional if she thinks that Quebecers are going to let her continue to get away with this nonsense. She is self destructing before our eyes and I am loving every minute of it. After April 7, 2014 we will all be able to wave goodbye to her racist views as she retires into obscurity to lick her wounds from the beating she is going to take! NA NA NA NA...NA NA NA NA... AYE AYE AYE...GOODBYE!
  5. Barcham posted on 03/31/2014 06:25 PM
    We will be stuck with these laws and the racist politicians who passed them until the day someone is elected who refuses to cater to the separatists and has the guts to stand up and say enough is enough.
  6. kbecbshr posted on 03/31/2014 08:11 PM
    for a group who likes to take pride in never having signed the canadian constitution, the separatists sure like to take advantage of it's built in escape clause (yes, Bourassa wasn't a true separatist, just a half one). on another note, what good is a constitution if it can easily be ignored?
  7. sandy posted on 03/31/2014 11:43 PM
    In 1982, the Quebec government under Rene Levesque declined to endorse this constitutional amendment, SO HOW CAN MAROIS INVOKE IT?
  8. Terry posted on 04/01/2014 01:35 AM
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms works for Marois! This after the Quebec charter of rights rules against her.
  9. Joe posted on 04/01/2014 08:04 AM
    By her mentioning this clause at all means she understands this racist law is illegal!
  10. joeN posted on 04/01/2014 08:22 AM
    Canadians should apply the not withstanding clause to revoke Marois's Canadian citizenship and deport her to France where she can start up another vine yard beside Pariseau and make all the viniger that they make.
  11. Barcham posted on 04/01/2014 10:27 AM
    The Charter violates the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms and will not make it past the Quebec Supreme Court so there is nothing to worry about. She cannot use the notwithstanding clause to override a provincial decision. If she loses in Quebec court, the federal Supreme Court just has to refuse to hear any appeal. Case closed.

    Not that this really matters as her political career will end on April 7th.
  12. Daemoncan posted on 04/01/2014 01:14 PM
    Quebec is worlds away from being a modern & progressive society. One only has to look across the border to New York State, which is passing legislation which guarantees a person's right to wear whatever they choose with regards to religion.

    The PQ have been taking pages straight from the Republican party playbook.
showing all comments

Share this article:

News Videos

Latest News