Final Exam Review - The exam shares most of the same questions each year, this is a thorough compilation of answers. This is a final compilation after consulting with 3 other groups' answers. Very detailed analysis of Canadian Constitutional Law.

14 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Ran Hirschl

QUESTION 1 Quebec wants to be considered a distinct society with its own culture and as such feels it should be allowed special political economic and social privileges Of course language rights come into play heavily especially during and after the Quiet Revolution into the Charter era attempt to have French recognized as Quebecs primary language and integrate others living in Quebec into the French speaking majority This has more recently manifested itself with the sovereignty question the right to secedea 1980 referendum to negotiate limited sovereignty resulted in 6040 split and more notably in the mid1990s with the secession reference case and second referendum which barely failed It really gained momentum in the 1960s and onwards Quebequois want the federal government to acknowledge that Canada is composed of two peoples French and English Canadians and therefore the government of Quebec should be afforded special status as the residents of the province contribute a majority of French speakers in Canada and the electorate is primarily French speaking Essentially Quebec seeks a degree of autonomy that is not afforded to any province because they have a different culture language legal system majority religion etc Thus they argue that they should be afforded more leeway to decide for their province alone what is in its best interests this they argue requires Quebec to be given more political autonomy and by association financial autonomy so they can enact different laws from the rest of the Anglicized provinces Quebecs position is to stem the tide of federal centralization which leads into arguments over federalism and jurisdiction The issue has roots spanning centuries notably beginning at least constitutionally with the Proclamation of 1763 For much of the last few centuries we have seen a federal approach which largely ignored Quebecs issues It was only after the Quiet Revolution when we saw Trudeau and the subsequent prime ministers attempt to include provisions to appease Quebec in various documents Traditionalist Quebec sentiments rooted in idea of collectivity of the FrenchCanadian should withdraw into itself and emphasize traditional French and Catholic values although the Catholicism argument would disappear in the Quiet Revolution Out of the 5 major attempts FultonFavreau Victoria Constitution Act Meech Lake and Charlottetown all except FultonFavreau in some way incorporated provisions that would to some extent satisfy Quebec Indeed FultonFavreau collapsed without the support of Quebec and increased the separatist feeling in the province Examples of the provisions used to try and satisfy Quebec are veto powers on constitutional amendments for any province with at least 25 of population Quebec is one such nation Some constitutional moments addressing these issues will be discussed herewith Firstly the Meech Lake Accord 1990 The fourth of five attempts at constitutional change the Meech Lake Accord was an attempt by the Mulroney government to address the growing French dissatisfaction with the Constitution Act that had passed eight years earlier essentially an attempt at reconciliation after the Constitution Act had failed to be adopted by the province of Quebec and essentially deemed them minority citizens Also all Supreme Court of Canada cases had gone against Quebec in the intervening years big issues with Bill 101 and Ford v Quebec 1988 In the Accord the federal government would recognize Quebec as a distinct society which was the greatest concession it had allowed in order for Quebec to be brought back in to the constitution issue As a distinct society Quebec would have the responsibility to promote the French language and culture they would receive some immigration powers and input on Supreme Court of Canada nominations along with input on future amendments regarding senate makeup They also received essentially a veto power on certain issues Overall Meech Lake was one of the most significant concessions proposed to Quebec in a major constitutional moment allowing them recognition of a distinct society and political influence in Parliament and over provincial matters It did not concede to allowing the French language monopoly in the province though and this issue remains contentious in the legal system under ss 1622 and s 23 of Charter and s 133 of BNA Act for both Quebec and French speakers across the nationThe Quebec Secession Reference 1998 after the failures of both Meech Lake and Charlottetown both of which would have granted Quebecers some of their demands they decided a more direct approach to political autonomy was needed independence through secession Referendum called 501 not in 1favor of seceding as a result Parliament granted Quebec a constitutional veto and pledged to not ratify any amendment to the constitution under the 750 rule without Quebecs affirmation It also had the House pass a resolution finally recognizing Quebec as a distinct society Parliament posed reference case to Supreme Court of Canada regarding legality of Quebec to secede and Quebec had argued that under the pillar of democracy embedded in the Canadian Constitution it had the right to seek its independence Yet the Supreme Court of Canada said Quebec did not have the right to unilaterally secede Thus while Quebec was recognized as a distinct society after all and gained a veto power they still found themselves subordinate to the court and Parliament This constitutional moment was also important because it culminated the attempt to amend the constitution that had begun in the late 1960s and has remained the final mega attempt of Quebec to declare itself independent to some degree or another from the rest of Canada The whole affair addressed some concerns of Quebecers but ultimately told them they were not a true nation within CanadaThe Quebec Act 1774 was a significant preConfederation document although it had no legal constitutional status 11 years after the Royal Proclamation and the surrender of New France to the British the British governor thought that some Quebec culture should be reintroduced Essentially the Quebec Act provided the first forum for debate on how distinct Quebec should be within an Anglicized nation The Act itself attempted to curry favour of Quebecers in the face of the American upheaval As concessions for their loyalty the French civil law system was reintroduced to Quebec which preserved the French land owning system Furthermore it recognized the right to freedom of religion which was important to the Catholic territory The Act was the first official recognition of multiculturalism and the French were the first group to be denoted as such Along with the Royal Proclamation the Constitution Act of 1791 the Union Act of 1840 and the BNA Act in 1867 the Quebec Act saw the tug of war between French and English values emerge The document provides a contextual look at the historical divide between English and French Canada and in this case we see for strategic purposes the British concede to French Canadians some of their legal and societal culture The Charter of Rights and Freedoms too addressed these concerns The adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms served as an important step in the evolution of FrenchEnglish relations in Canada especially with respect to language rights However as Quebec did not ratify the Charter it has caused problems from the French namely Quebecer viewpoint Both within Quebec and in the other Anglocentric provinces all people are given constitutional rights that limit the ability of provinces from imposing linguistic uniformity with the government giving the idea that both English and French minorities across the country have support The Charter set down specific areas where English and French were to be used equally really throughout the whole government The government also made available some public funds for minority language education in provinces Quebec however had a problem with this policy seeing their language as the essence of their unique culture within Canada and as such represented their identity They should they argued have the right to make French the predominant language in the province As such they attempted most notably with Bill 101 requiring all teaching to be in French and Ford v Quebec AG 1988 dealing with French only public signs to maintain their identity The Supreme Court of Canada struck down both the above and other French language laws throughout the 1980s saying that the suppression of other languages was not necessary to achieve their aim Said that there could be French dominance on signs but had to allow other languages too Conversely as with The Manitoba Language Rights Reference 1985 french speakers outside of Quebec gained rights in this case the Supreme Court of Canada told Manitoba that all their English only legislation was invalidQUESTION 2Canada is a federal stateThis means that in common with a number of other countries which together form anywhere from onehalf to threequarters of the worlds population Canada divides its legislative powers regionallyIn Canada three levels of government federal provincial and municipal are present although only two federal and provincial are mentioned in our constitutionThis arrangement of legislative powers between several provinces and one national government was laid out at 2
More Less

Related notes for POL337Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.