Should the Health Minister Order the Quarantine of the CAQ Cabinet Due to Its Severe Allergic Reaction to Religion in Québec?
The present Coalition Avenir Québec government has developed a severe allergic reaction to religion in Québec since its election on October 1, 2018. This presents a serious problem for the Member of the National Assembly for Sanguinet, Danielle McCann, who holds the major portfolio of Minister of Health and Social Services in the CAQ cabinet.
This severe allergic reaction raised its ugly head as early as February 7, 2019, when the MNA for Borduas, Simon Jolin-Barrette, introduced Bill n° 9: An Act to increase Québec’s socio-economic prosperity and adequately meet labour market needs through successful immigrant integration in the National Assembly. I guess Simon Jolin-Barrette was looking for something interesting to do as he holds only four portfolios in the present government: Minister of Immigration, Francization, and Integration; Minister responsible for the French Language; Minister for Laicity and Parliamentary Reform; as well as Government House Leader. It is interesting to note that one of his cabinet responsibilities is Parliamentary Reform, so, of course, in the disinterest of democracy, he orchestrated the closure procedures to pass Bill n° 9 into law on June 16, 2019, the first of four times the CAQ government has used le bâillon in the National Assembly in the last nine months.
Not willing to rest on his laurels, Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced Bill n°21: An Act respecting the laicity of the State on March 28, 2019 in the National Assembly. Again using the baseball bat of closure, Simon Jolin-Barrette orchestrated the passage of Bill n°21 into law on June 16, 2019. It is important to note that several coalitions of groups are in the process of preparing court challenges to Law 21 regarding its constitutionality.
Early in the week before the successful double usage of closure on June 16, 2019, the MNA for Charlesbourg, Jonatan Julien, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, introduced Bill n°34: An Act to simplify the process for establishing electricity distribution rates on June 12, 2019 in the National Assembly. You would think that this type of government bill dealing with the technicalities of hydroelectricity rates would avoid all controversy. Not with this government! Closure was used for the third time on December 8, 2019 to pass Bill n°34 into law. How very surprising and unnecessary!
On October 1, 2019, the MNA for Chambly, Jean-François Roberge, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, introduced Bill n°40: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance in the National Assembly. The Minister introduced so many friendly amendments to Bill n°40 that the government again resorted to closure to reduce drastically the time normally allowed for the opposition MNAs to debate the amendments. Bill n°40 was passed into law by closure in the middle of the night on Saturday, February 8, 2020. It is no surprise that coalitions of groups are in the process of preparing court challenges to Law 40 regarding the constitutionality of the abolition of School Boards as well as les Commissions scolaires.
On January 10, 2020, Jean-François Roberge invited Quebecers to participate in an online public consultation on the Ethics and Religious Culture program of study. Quebecers were also asked to share their opinions on some of the themes that could eventually be included in a reformed curriculum. The deadline to participate was February 21, 2020. Individuals and groups were also invited to submit briefs by February 27, 2020, that could discuss themes at greater length and how they could be incorporated in a new program of study.
The Minister of Education and Higher Education, of course, conducted no consultations of any kind with the associations of educators of Ethics and Religious Culture, the teacher unions, the School Boards, or les Commissions scolaires. In the online consultation document, it is interesting to note that religious beliefs are buried within the volet of societal culture.
What type of critical thinkers will we be graduating in the future? I fear for graduates, who in addition to learning history devoid of the important contributions of First Nations, Anglophones, and Allophones, will not be exposed in any depth at all of world religions, religious beliefs, and the important influence religion has played over the centuries in the history of our world. No wonder that there is no mention of student success in page after page after page of Law 40!
“EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH YOU CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD!” – NELSON MANDELA