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La Presse canadienne July 19, 2012
[Photo caption] Many people denounced Bill 78 during the May 22 protest against raising tuition fees. Photo: Jacques Nadeau — Le Devoir.
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) believes that the special law forcing the return of students to class this August violates the fundamental freedoms safeguarded by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
The Commission’s 56-page analysis concludes that articles 12 to 31 of the bill, which became Bill 12 after its adoption, directly or indirectly infringe upon the freedoms of conscience, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association guaranteed by the Charter.
The Commission also rejects the justification by the Charest government of invoking article 9.1 of the Charter, which provides a framework for controlling certain freedoms for the common good. The Commission considers that the provisions of the special law do not meet the criteria of minimal restrictions required by article 9.1.
The Commission had initiated a detailed analysis of Bill 78, when it was adopted on May 18, all the while expressing serious concerns about it in relation to the Charter.
The analysis of the Commission notes, for example, that to prohibit gatherings inside or on the premises of an educational institution is a direct attack on the freedoms of expression and association.
It also underlines that the same applies with imposing student associations with the responsibility of controlling their members when they have neither the means nor the right to do so.
The ensemble of articles 12 to 17 governing demonstrations and the responsibility of associations is thus considered contrary to the Charter, as are articles 18 to 31 dealing with sanctions to be imposed. The Commission considers that, by their severity alone, these sanctions will undermine the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.
The Commission concludes that articles of the bill should therefore be unenforceable in law.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.