PARIS – freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Charters, will not be called into question by the government Legault, at least not in the short term.
In an interview with The canadian Press earlier this week, prime minister François Legault has said to renounce his project to amend the quebec Charter of rights and freedoms of the person, not seeing the urgency of preventing extremist religious leaders to propagate their ideology, in defiance of quebec values.
In a first time, instead, he relies on his future “values test” imposed on the immigrants to flee the religious extremists.
A legislative amendment to the quebec Charter of human rights aimed to clamp down on extremists would be to restrict the freedom of expression, a fundamental right.
It is, however, what called for Mr. Legault in February 2015, when he was in opposition, urging the government Couillard to amend the Charter of rights, to prohibit the preaching of groups or individuals with extremist advocating values that goes against québec society.
“Everything that drags gets dirty,” said then Mr. Legault in a press conference in Quebec city in February of 2015, urging the government Couillard to intervene urgently by legislation, although the province of Quebec was facing, and to see his law being challenged in the courts.
His output occurred while we were learning, at the beginning of 2015, several of Québec’s youth, including four students from the collège de Maisonneuve, in Montreal, had gone on to join the group islamic State in Syria. Some young people took courses under the supervision of the preacher Adil Charkaoui.
The latter has rented classrooms at the college de Maisonneuve for the activities of the School of the companions, an agency affiliated to the community Centre islamic the is of Montreal.
Hunting for fanatics”
The 17 and 18 February 2015, Mr. Legault had convened two briefings to the national Assembly to start the hunt for “fanatics” and “radicals”, referring to the islamist fundamentalists.
His intentions were unequivocal: “If there are groups who want to preach to repeat the denial of values in quebec that are in the Charter of rights and freedoms of the person in Québec, it should be banned,” he said on 17 February.
The next day, he added: “I persist and I sign. I believe that the people of Quebec want their prime minister to put tags to prevent radicals from coming to preach systematically the denigration of values such as equality between men and women”.
We had to act, “he added,” even if it was “in contradiction” with the principle of freedom of expression.
In an interview in Paris earlier this week, when asked whether he was ready to repeat his statements of the past, Mr. Legault held a discourse more nuanced.
The fight against religious fundamentalism will thus not part of the bill that must be filed in the coming weeks the minister Simon Jolin-Barrette to prohibit State employees in a position of authority (police officers, judges, prison guards, teachers) from wearing religious signs.
But “there’s nothing else planned” on the part of the government, legislative, to regulate the expression of the religion, said the prime minister.
“At the time, he adds, there were some cases (preaching extremist), currently there is no case. So there was nothing planned.”
No intervention “for the moment”
It is believed that the adoption of its law on religious signs will be sufficient to avoid “slip-ups” or other manifestations of intolerance.
At the same time, discussions are ongoing with the federal government to force quebec immigrants a French test and a test of values.
In his eyes, this testing of values will be “sufficiently strong signals” sent to those who would seek to import customs, is not compatible with those of québec society.
In short, his message to those who want to immigrate to Quebec is the following: If you do not have the same values as Quebecers “maybe it is better not to come to Quebec.”
One thing is certain, argues stubbornly M. Legault, “we do not want Quebec to have people who will come to preach against our values, or even be at odds with our values”.
If his test of values is not enough to keep away the unwanted, he knows that he always has the possibility to intervene in a more forceful way during the next four years. This will not be right away, but nothing is excluded.
“For the moment, I don’t see the usefulness of” going further, ” he concludes.