Bill 59: Quebec will do its homework

ministre-justice-stephanie-vallee-admisCouillard The government understood the message: he will do his homework and present a new version of the bill 59 to counter hate speech against certain groups.

Most organizations involved in the consultation on the bill conducted by the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, came to say that it was poorly written, and guidance and ill-defined concepts to threaten the freedom of expression, if adopted in its current form.

Some have expressed concern that it has the effect of making illegal any criticism of religions. Others felt that it would not pass the test of the courts constitutionally.

After the consultation, which ended on Wednesday, Minister Valley has agreed that it should go back to his desk.

She admitted that she had better define the notion of “hate speech” and that it should withdraw from the bill “black list” of offenders that had to be made public, a direct attack on privacy according to several experts.

It is however not question, she added, any rewrite the bill, “all put in the shredder and repeat,” as would the opposition, she said.

However, “there is one thing that is clear is that there is a need perhaps to further define the terms, so we’ll work on it,” said the minister at a press point, Once the consultation is concluded.

She said she had not wanted to initially define the term “hate speech”, so as to leave to the courts and jurisprudence care to outline the concept.

But given the number of players came in turn express their concern about the vagueness of the concept, the justice minister change of approach, “for educational purposes” and now agrees that “sometimes it is appropriate to define to understand the scope of a bill. ”

She wished to reiterate its commitment not to attack freedom of expression and ensure anyone the opportunity to criticize religion and political ideas, a right “essential in a democracy.”

This bill seeks to prohibit hate speech and incitement to violence. In addition, it seeks to prevent forced marriages between minors and honor crimes.

The bill also gives more powers to the Commission on Human Rights and Youth, who will investigate and impose sanctions. It should moreover be authorized to make public the list of offenders.

But eventually the list “may include more than inconveniences than advantages,” concluded the Minister, having heard the many objections heard about it during the consultation.

It is not clear if the end of the parliamentary process, once known and shelled amendments, the opposition parties are going to give or not to support Bill 59. Everything will depend on the extent of the amendments presented by the government.

“I make a call to a serious and profound rewriting, if the minister wants to leave a legacy to Quebec society,” said spokeswoman Agnes Maltais PQ in term of trade.

“The first part of the law (the one on hate speech), it must be reviewed in depth. It can not happen with amendments when almost everyone decried that law that attacks freedom of expression, “she said.

For cons, the second part of the bill, which deals with the prevention of honor killings and forced marriages to 16 or 17 years, is rather consensus among the three opposition parties.

“We could settle this immediately,” according to Agnes Maltais MP.

“This is a good basis,” summarized the spokesman for Québec Solidaire, Françoise David.

Meanwhile, the future Quebec Coalition plans to present a series of amendments to the bill.

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