Quebec’s New Language Bill Creates ‘Charter Free Zone,’ Anglo Rights Group Warns

June 10, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021

MONTREAL—An organization representing Quebec’s English community says it has serious concerns about the potential impact of the province’s new language bill.

The Quebec Community Groups Network says Bill 96 is wide−ranging, complex, and represents a significant overhaul of Quebec’s legal order.

QCGN head Marlene Jennings told reporters today the bill seeks to modify 24 provincial statutes as well as the Constitution Act of 1867.

Jennings says the government’s pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause to shield the bill from certain constitutional challenges creates a “charter-free zone” involving a wide array of interactions between citizens and the province.

She says her group has urged federal Justice Minister David Lametti to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to study the constitutionality of Bill 96.

The legislation, tabled in May, is a major reform to the province’s signature language law, known as Bill 101. The government has said the goal of Bill 96 is to affirm that French is the province’s only official language and the common language of the Quebec nation.