You are SO right about this case being the penultimate one (see Archives, April 28, 2003).
Indeed, I would hasten to say that as important as the language of commercial signs is because of its freedom of speech implications, freedom of choice in language of public schooling is 100 times MORE important because it directly impacts the concept of equality.
In fact, from the separatists’ and French Supremacists’ point of view, language of schooling is where the REAL battle is.
As it stands today in Quebec — and Canadian law — there are two civil rights categories:
Those that have the freedom to choose between sending their kids to either French or English publicly-funded schools. And those that MUST send their kids to French publicly-funded schools.
I can live next door to someone who is in the second civil rights category whereas I am in the first; even though we both may be citizens and both born in Canada.
This is, literally, segregation of civil rights where one class of citizens have one right, and another class of citizens have another right; and the determination of which civil rights category you are assigned to is based upon: who your parents are; and what THEIR classification is; and that this classification is handed down from one generation to another simply by virtue of the parent/child relationship.
That is why sections of Bill 101 are virtually word-for-word for South Africa’s now-defunct apartheid statutes (documentation on request).
A prediction: the Supreme Court; as they did in the Ford case, will appease and rule against freedom and UNANIMOUSLY rule in favor of Quebec.
And we will lose ONLY because of section 23 of the Canadian Charter.
The real outrage is that this section, created by then Justice Minister Jean Chrétien, was inspired by and based upon the language of education provisions of Bill 101.
Yes, a crucial part of our constitution has Bill 101 as its inspiration (I will cite you chapter and verse to back up this outrageous claim, on request): indeed, I have quotes from both the Supreme Court and Jean Chrétien himself saying this very thing.
Whereas, Bill 101 itself can be amended by a mere 50% + 1 vote in the National Assembly, the Constitution is “written in stone” and is VERY hard to change.
In other words, Chrétien took the VERY WORST part of Bill 101 and entrenched it for all time in the country’s most sacred document: the parent/child relationship and the handing down of rights is now for all Canadians to suffer from.
In virtually all respects, Tony is correct. Except in one issue he overlooked completely.
Because the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear Brent Tyler’s 3 cases, they have opened the door to catastrophe for the politicians who have crafted a status quo out of what they thought was an impenetrable fortress of linguistic and cultural outrages.
I have no idea why the Supreme Court has taken this decision, but the door has now been opened, and whatever ruling they deliver will create a whirlwind of trouble for ethnocentric Québécois nationalists and Jean Charest.
It no longer matters what is written in Bill 101 or in Section 23 of the Canadian Charter. What will matter once this case gets under way is ONLY the truth about Quebec’s racist language laws which will not be ignored by the whole of Canada.
If the restriction of the use of the English language continues to be an absolute government policy within Quebec, why then would English Canada accept the legitimization of mandatory bilingualism in English Canada.
Rene Levesque said it very clearly, all the way back from the 60’s. Quebec should be as French as Ontario is English. This language case might finally prove Rene Levesque right. Courtesy of Brent Tyler and the Supreme Court of Canada.
The irony is delicious.