The soft rigorists of the Trudeau government

This is a revealing passage from David Lametti, Minister of Justice of Canada, to the Rouleau commission.

David Lametti and the Trudeau government are what one might call rigorists of the Constitution and individual rights.

They defend a rigid vision of rights. Almost absolute, as the recent negotiations on Law 96 and 21 indicate.

But the commission tells us that their principles do not apply everywhere.


The first thought would have been to deploy the army on the streets of Ottawa. A joke, they say.

We also learn that the Emergencies Act was already being considered the day after the arrival of the convoy in Ottawa. No jokes here.

More tellingly, Lametti believes that this legislative bazooka could be triggered according to his own reading of the Act.

You see, the Minister did not have to limit himself to the imperative of a “threat to national security” to invoke it, as the Act provides. He could widen his telescope.

I quote his words: “The same words will have not a broader meaning, but a broader field of interpretation, according to the structure of the Emergencies Act. »

Translation of politician jargon: the interpretation was elastic. As he pleases.

Now we discover another vision of the interpretation of rights. Yesterday’s testimony from Chrystia Freeland was similar. She evoked a dangerous moment, economic threats, NAFTA, the automobile industry. But a threat, a danger to Canadians? Never.

How not to make a link with Quebec? The Trudeau government is questioning the use of the notwithstanding clause in a preventive manner – as the Legault government did. We risk involving the courts.

Quebec is blamed for ignoring, so frivolously, certain individual rights and the Charter.

But then, why is such a rigorous vision of rights necessary with regard to Quebec, and such a soft and broad vision arrives in other places – as with the convoy?

How not to see, another time, a political use of Canadian legal rules to their advantage?


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