Critical Review: Allison Hanes’s Column “The devil is in the details of Bill 96 — and they are alarming”
Allison Hanes wrote and published this garbage and I felt compelled to critique it in roughly same manner, albeit more roughly, as I would have were I still in grad school grading papers. Not sure how this fits in to the general theme of my blog yet, but I felt compelled to post it. I might spin this type of article into its own thing.
I sincerely hope Bill 96 works to protect Indigenous language and culture. There is actual evidence that the CAQ is taking this seriously, you can read about such efforts here. Again, you fail to mention these efforts in a concerted effort order to paint Quebec in the worst possible light. The alternative is that you’re just a legitimately bad journalist. If you’re willing to claim the latter let me know.
Your column makes countless unsubstantiated claims, failing to place them within a larger context which would shed light on their motivation and consequently their justification and value. You’ve tried your hardest to stoke embers of division with fear by making the absolutely worst assumptions possible and then running wild with them.
While there might be some legitimate concerns buried within the column, it’s impossible to dissenter which of those concerns are real when they are interwoven so tightly with intellectual dishonesty, fear mongering, and the outright lies you’ve published under the guise of competent journalism. Allison, your column is a great disservice to the Anglophone community and their concerns. You should be ashamed and embarrassed of this column. Unfortunately, I doubt that will be the case since this kind of garbage and the fear it generates is what pays your employer’s bills by driving traffic, clicks, and engagement to The Gazette’s website. All of which is done at the expense of contributing to the development of a constructive dialogue between those involved.
Bill 96 doesn’t specify who belongs to the Quebec nation, said Marlene Jennings, president of the QCGN. But it drops strong hints that membership would be based on language. Essentially, it would elevate the collective rights of francophones over those of individuals and minority groups.
It isn’t clear to us what this means so we’re going to make the worst possible assumption and run with it.
“Bill 96 also calls for the most sweeping use of human rights overrides in the history of Quebec and Canada, ousting the application of both the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,”
You need to substantiate this claim with sources/examples.
But since Bill 96 governs a much broader array of activities, it would effectively create a “Charter-free exclusion zone” around commerce, employment, education, health care, the legal system, and so many aspects of Quebecers’ lives.
How would this happen? You needs to source/provide evidence to back up this claim.
“It’s literally a reordering of our constitutional architecture,” Jennings said. “Why does the protection of the French language require the blanket suspension of human rights?”
The QCGN compares Bill 96 to an iceberg, with only a small, innocuous portion visible and immense peril lurking below. For instance
This is unsubstantiated hyperbolic rhetoric.
Large numbers of allophones and other linguistic minorities could be stripped of the ability to communicate with the government in English. Eva Ludvig, a QCGN board member, said Bill 96 would essentially freeze the English-speaking community in time like a “fly stuck in amber” to constrain its growth and vitality.
Quebec civil servants could face disciplinary measures if they speak or communicate in English with citizens deemed ineligible.
Again, how would this happen? This argument needs to be substantiated with examples and sources that back up your claim.
There are no guarantees ensuring emergency services like 911 or Urgences-Santé ambulances would continue to be offered in English.
I find it hard to believe a 911 operator would hang up on someone because they only spoke English. I’ll assume that they picked this out simply because it didn’t explicitly state they would, allowing them to instead turn its absence into evidence of absence.
The new powers granted to the OQLF — infamous for insisting the word pasta be translated into French on an Italian restaurant menu — include the ability to:
You have cherry picked a banal example without engaging with the larger context to score cheap points.
Jennings said Bill 96 is an extremely sophisticated and carefully crafted piece of “enabling legislation,” one that paves the way for radical change.
But if that sounds scary, even more frightening is the fact few are standing up to question, challenge or debate it.
Quebec francophones are so supportive of protecting the French language, they are blind to some of hidden consequences of Bill 96.
More claims which you fail to substantiate with actual evidence/explanations as to how this will happen.
The Quebec Liberal Party is busy rebuilding and needs to court francophone Quebecers if it ever wants to win power again.
How could any political party in Quebec win without the support of francophones?
Worse, Quebec is an increasingly important battleground that could determine who wins or loses the next federal election and whether the next government is a majority or a minority. No one wants to rock the boat.
Unfortunately Quebec is an important demographic federal politicians must consider.
If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a champion of diversity, felt powerless to stop the suppression of religious minority rights under Bill 21,
More unsubstantiated hyperbolic rhetoric.
Other provinces who might have concerns are keeping a low profile, fearful of stoking Quebec nationalism or Western alienation. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is supportive of Legault’s aim to alter the Canadian Constitution because it might help advance his own agenda.
Everyone is out to get you.
Only Indigenous leaders are standing up as allies, with Kanesatake Mohawk Grand Chief Serge Simon this week releasing a video statement describing Bill 96 as a “second colonization.”