Constitutional (mis)Adventures: Revisiting Quebec’s Proposed Charter of Values
AbstractIn November 2013, the Parti Québécois introduced the Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests (also known as Bill 60). This proposed piece of legislation would substantially alter how public services are offered and received in Québec. This article argues that this legislative project was much more than a simple law, and rather, as discussed, about reconfiguring the constitutional relationship that Quebecers entertain with the rest of Canada. As such, it engages with the constitutional “misadventures”, as experienced in Quebec in 2013-2014. Drawing on briefs submitted to the Commission des institutions before the National Assembly and the official report of debates, as well as relevant academic commentary and case law, this article offers a critical portrait of Bill 60 in order to understand its scope and its potential implications on a constitutional level, including a background to Bill 60, in terms of past confrontations with religious reasonable accommodation in Quebec. Ultimately, this article proposes a more careful elaboration of religious reasonable accommodation, how it would alter the meaning of accommodation under the Quebec Charter and the resulting tension with the Canadian Charter.