The initial public hearings of the Bastarache Commission in Quebec City have caused a political upheaval in Quebec. The political future of Premier Jean Charest, and his governing Liberal party, are now both openly questioned.
Following accusations made by a former Liberal Justice Minister, Marc Bellemare (2003-04), of influence peddling surrounding judgeships, Jean Charest named retired Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache to head up an official commission of inquiry into the judicial nomination process, and into the specific accusations made by Bellemare. Charest also decided to launch a civil suit against Bellemare asking for $700,000 in damages.
Over the past few months, the story of Naema Ahmed's expulsion from a French-language class in Quebec over her refusal to remove her niqab, a piece of clothing that covers its wearer's face except for the eyes, has stirred a media frenzy and debate over the meaning and practice of Canadian multiculturalism and citizenship.
Bill 94, authored in Quebec two years after the release of the Bouchard-Taylor commission's report, is the first piece of legislation in North America that bans face coverings from public and government buildings. In the name of "public security, communication, and identification," the bill enshrines the denial of essential services to women who wear the niqab.
In its budget last week, the Charest government mounted an attack on the principle of universal access to healthcare: it wants to charges citizens for visits to hospitals. At the time they file income tax, someone with cancer, going for weekly treatments in Quebec would be dinged $25 for each visit. Over a 30-week period they would run up charges of $750, plus the annual fee.
The Canada Health Act embodies an idea. Healthcare should be available to all those who are sick and in need, not just to those who can pay for it.
Manifestation du 9 juin 2012 à Montréal contre le Grand prix du Canada et le gouvernement Charest pour l'ensemble de son oeuvre.
June 9th demonstration in Montreal against the Canadian Grand Prix and the Charest government both in general and in particular.
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is holding a public meeting in Montreal on Thursday, June 21 as part of its fight to mobilize the working class in defence of Quebec's striking students and to make the student strike the catalyst for a cross-Canada working class offensive against all job, wage and social spending cuts.