High court strikes down Bill 104 - Macleans.ca

High court strikes down Bill 104

Quebec law closing loophole on English schooling declared “overly drastic,” but Supreme Court decision recognizes need to protect French language


This is not the unequivocal decision opponents of Bill 104 had hoped for. Far from sweeping aside the rationale for the law—which sought to close a loophole allowing greater access to English-language schooling—the Supreme Court of Canada has merely declared the legislation an “excessive” response to the problem. But the decision, written by Justice Louis LeBel, explicitly recognizes “the problem” as the Quebec government sees it, namely, the potential proliferation of privately funded English schools that would erode the primacy of French in the province. The Quebec National Assembly now has a year to amend its law before the SCC decision takes effect, which reduces the likelihood the Charest government will invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to protect Bill 104.

The Gazette

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