October 23, 2017: more on that Quebec face covering law

Well, I did promise that I would have more to say about Bill 62, the law recently passed by Quebec than bans niqabs, veils and, um, sunglasses.

First, a piece written for Policy Options.

Second, an interview with Don Martin of CTV Power Play.

There has been lots of talk about whether the Prime Minister is being too timid in his response.  But it is often rooted in completely misinformed views of the federal government’s powers.  It may sound hard, but it actually isn’t the job of either order of government to protect people from Charter violations they may experience from the other order.  The federal and provincial legislatures are masters of their own affairs – accountable first to their polities, second to the courts, third to the Rule of Law and fourth to the long view of history.  Having the Prime Minister rail against the law might be satisfying, but it actually would do little to assuage the situation, and could seriously damage intergovernmental relations.

As for the idea that the PM should refer the matter directly to the Supreme Court, there are pros and cons.  But I think the balance tilts towards hearing from Quebec courts, first.