Canadian Party of Quebec, a new political party in Quebec, officially launched at the end of June in Montreal for the upcoming 2022 provincial election. The political party was an offshoot of the Task Force on Linguistic Policy, a group that was formed about a year ago to inform the public about Bill 96, after certain members decided to branch off into the political realm.
Founding leader of the party, Colin Standish, said that the party is seeking to protect the constitutional rights of all Quebecers after the adoption and proposition of Bill 21 (secularism law), Bill 40 (abolition of school boards), and Bill 96 (language law) in Quebec.
“That advocacy only took us so far (with the Task Force). It was great to raise the alarm bells, but myself and a few others got together to found an Exploratory Committee on Political Options. That was to see if a new provincial party would be viable in 2022,” explained Standish. “The response was overwhelming, overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to go ahead with the party.”
Standish noted that the Canadian Party of Quebec is a new federalist option that defends basic rights and freedoms, the constitution, and language rights in Quebec for the prosperity of all Quebecers.
“There is a fundamental assault on various basic human rights and freedoms that are protected by the constitution, as well as language rights. The ability to live in English in Quebec, or in a language that simply isn’t French, is basically extinguished by Bill 96,” he said. “(…) I encourage all Quebecers to stand up for their basic rights and freedoms, their right to exist in this province, to exist in a prosperous, free, society.”
Standish mentioned that despite this being a case, he felt that no one was speaking up at the national or provincial level.
“So, we are trying to provide an option that says ‘hey, we are Quebecers too. We have the right to stay here and live our lives in peace’ and that’s really the genesis of this party,” said Standish.
The Canadian Party of Quebec is based on six foundational principles.
“The first one is a rights are rights are rights, so that is the humans rights and freedom aspect. Secondly, is the integrity of the Canadian Constitution. (…) Bilingualism of course, we believe Quebec is a bilingual province, that English, despite what people say about it, is an official language in Quebec,” explained Standish. “(…) Educational choices is another bedrock principal, to allow people to choose the education that is best for their children and themselves. As well, propensity for all Quebecers is our fifth principal. (…) Then sixthly is reconciliation and rapprochement, that Quebecers are working with our Indigenous communities and nations to ensure a new societal consensus.”
According to Standish, the Canadian Party of Quebec plans on addressing Bills 21, 40, and 96 at the National Assembly for a full reversal and appeal.
“Bill-21 is the so-called secularism law that discriminates against all Quebecers, in particular religious minorities. Bill-40 is often not talked about that much, but that actually abolished all school boards in Quebec,” explained Standish. “The Eastern Townships School Board is a very important community institution. It really is the only vestige left in the Eastern Townships that recognizes the historical boundaries of the Townships and is controlled by English speakers giving out an important government service. (…) Then as well Bill-96, a law with 201 articles that modifies 24 laws, regulations, and the Constitution Act.”
The Canadian Party has already announced a slate of candidates, a total of eight so far, but are looking for other people to get involved, especially in the Eastern Townships.
“At this point in the game, we are very [focussed] on Montreal, the Eastern Townships, and Western Quebec (Gatineau and Pontiac). Those are areas we know we can win based on the polls we have seen and based on the response,” mentioned Standish.
For more information about the Canadian Party of Quebec.
Listen to the full interview below: