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Just 16% of Canadians support Quebec’s use of the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 96

A minority of Quebecers believe Bill 96 was an acceptable use of the notwithstanding clause.

According to a study by the Angus Reid Institute, just 16% of Canadians believe it was acceptable for Quebec to use the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 96.

Bill 96, or “An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec,” as it’s known legislatively, was introduced by the CAQ on May 13, 2021 in order to strengthen the French language in the province.

The Quebec government led by François Legault has used the notwithstanding clause in order to prevent most types of legal challenges against Bill 21 and Bill 96. These provisions in the Canadian constitution are generally used in Parliament or a provincial legislature when the law being passed is thought to be good for the public despite some consequences for minorities.

“Quebec’s government under Premier François Legault has made big splashes with its use of the notwithstanding since the Legault-led Coalition Avenir Québec first won a majority in 2018. First, in 2019, when the government passed Bill 21, which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by public employees. Then, in May 2021, Legault and the CAQ government passed Bill 96, a broad piece of legislation aimed at protecting the use of the French language in the province by restricting the use of English in many settings, including in the legal system. Quebecers were varied on their views on Bill 96 in June. While overall 54% supported Bill 96, some measures inside the bill received more support than others. Bill 96 is facing legal challenges, though they have not yet been heard in court.”

Support for the notwithstanding clause is highest in Quebec (44%) and lowest in Saskatchewan (3%). In no province outside of Quebec does support for the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 96 surpass 8%.

bill 96 notwithstanding quebec clause canadians canada
Just 16% of Canadians support the use of the notwithstanding clause in Quebec to pass Bill 96.

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