MPs pass Bloc motion on Quebec nationhood, constitutional change

Screenshot 2021-06-16 at 17-44-15 Le chef du Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet réagit au vote sur une motion du parti

Federal lawmakers are acknowledging Quebec's right to unilaterally change the Constitution in line with proposed reforms to the province's language law.

In the House of Commons today, a motion from Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet that asked lawmakers to recognize that right passed 281-2 with all-party support.

Blanchet's motion cleared a path for House recognition of Premier Francois Legault's attempt to amend the country's supreme law by affirming Quebec as a nation with French as its official language.

"Now, it's more clear than ever that whatever the future holds for us, all of us, Quebec is a nation, a French nation," said Blanchet. "A nation with one official language — French — and one common language — French. And that is acknowledged by the federal parliament."

The legislation, known as Bill 96, has stirred up debate as experts fret that constitutional acknowledgment of a distinct society would push courts to interpret laws differently in Quebec or hand it greater provincial power.

Blanchet said Tuesday Quebecers need to know where the parties stand ahead of an election that could come this year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said an initial Justice Department analysis concluded the province can go ahead with the changes, but some experts disagree, saying constitutional tweaks to language use require a parliamentary green light.


English questions start at 12:48