October 7, 2020
What It Could Mean For Canada
In recent days, there has been a lot of controversy about Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values. The Charter of Values itself is centred around secularism. I have given this some thought and now believe the legislation might pass easily and here’s how that could happen.
Quebec’s Premier (Francois Legault) should request feedback from the Supreme Court of Canada, specifically asking for written confirmation of the founding principles of Canada as a nation. These underlying principles should be as follows: Freedom, Democracy and Secularism. The last is particularly important because it is the very basis of the Charter of Values. If I am correct about these principles holding true, then the Charter of Values is essentially the written embodiment of these principles, upon which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enshrined. In other words, it precedes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yes, you read that correctly.
Canada was conceived of as a secular country and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was not meant to change that fact. Rather, it guarantees that secularism ends at the doorstep of private households, places of worship and other private institutes so that there would always be a place in Canada for religion, without persecution. In other words, it created a boundary. Secularism ends where religion begins and religion ends where secularism begins. That is my understanding of how our country was created, though I am no expert. This should mean that the Charter of Values can stand on its own, without a “not-withstanding” clause, provided it is enacted as federal legislation, and is simply reiterating this interpretation of the conception of Canada as a country.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t expect this to happen because the Bloc Quebecois are unlikely to want to trigger an election on such an issue and they are the only ones who will gain within Quebec with this issue on the minds of Canadians. In the meantime, the NDP wouldn’t gain anything at all from it, but would have to play defense because minorities would likely turn to them for support. This would likely polarize Canadian politics because the Conservative party would likely support the legislation as “patriotic”. The Liberals would find themselves in the untenable position of somehow explaining to Candians why religion should be everywhere and all the time, while simultaneously assuaging concerns that we are headed to a dictatorship, if we no longer support secularism rigorously and instead choose to let our guards down.
In fact, the only parties that might gain, (in real terms and Canada wide), are the People’s Party of Canada and the Libertarian Party of Canada, both of whom would typically support secularism and also have nothing to lose by doing so because of their small, conservative base of voters. In the end, I don’t see anyone pushing this legislation any further. It is, was and always will be just a fascinating “thought experiment” to come out of Quebec.
Lots of love,
Voice in The Wind Magazine Inc.