The Prime Minister made a comment alluding to his own dislike of Bill 62 yesterday.
Then Trudeau backtracked a bit, basically saying it’s up to the provinces to govern themselves. Trudeau’s not wrong. Still, it’s a soft stance on an issue that is dividing many in Quebec and beyond.
But even if the federal government decided to take action against Bill 62, there isn’t all that much they can really do.
Trudeau can’t void a low passed by the Quebec government.
There is another course of action the federal government can take.
A legal expert speaking to Global News said that the Trudeau government can take an active role in court challenges to Bill 62.
Challenging Bill 62 in court is a process that needs to be started by a Quebec citizen, but that seems like a likelihood. Enough people are already angry over Bill 62 and its implications, so there’s almost a guarantee someone is going to challenge it.
And when that happens, the Trudeau government can fast-track the challenge, making it move up through the Canadian court system at a faster rate.
Normally, getting a case taken to the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest legal body in the country, could take years. But with the federal government playing a role, things could move far more swiftly.
To do so, the federal government would need to work with the Quebec government a bit and decide on aspects of Bill 62 that will be discussed in court ASAP.
Then the federal government would need to send a “reference question” to the court, says Global’s source. From there, a quicker ruling could unfold, one that technically wouldn’t be law but would most likely be followed by Quebec’s political leaders.
This is all speculation, of course, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Hopefully the federal government will step in at some point, especially if a court challenge is made, because a bill that’s dividing Canadians should be addressed by the body meant to unite the nation.
The borders may still be open, but both Canada and the United States are advising against travelling to the opposite country right now unless it's essential.
On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S.' national public health agency, website, Americans are being told not to travel to Canada right now because of the "very high level of COVID-19" in the country.
If one must travel to Canada, the CDC reminds them to ensure they are fully vaccinated and warns that due to "the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants."
Canada is basically saying the same thing about travelling to the U.S. — or anywhere else in the world — right now.
On December 15, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that the Canadian government was immediately advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel outside of Canada.
"If you do not have to travel internationally, please do not," Duclos said.
A call to avoid international travel currently appears on the federal government website, citing "the risk of the Omicron variant that causes COVID-19."
However, this advisory only acts as a guide and individuals are still permitted to travel abroad at their own risk. The Government of Canada states that "The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad."
Now, a Quebec moving company is jokingly offering to help. In an ad mocking the stranded influencers, Déménagement Le Clan Panneton says its expertise makes it capable of making the 5,823-kilometre trek from Mexico to Quebec. (It's a 61-hour drive according to Google Maps.)
TVA reports that the ad even appeared in the Journal de Montréal.
"We move your furniture to Mexico!" the ad reads. The extraordinary undertaking, the company says, is part of its new "Ostrogoth sans-dessein" special, referring, of course, to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tirade against the wayward group of Quebecers.
Customers who take advantage of the deal could even win a free selfie stick, the ad promises. Iconcludes with an apology in Spanish to Mexicans on behalf of Quebec "for sending you these rude gringos."
The fine print warns that Le Clan Panneton won't move furniture in exchange for exposure on influencers' social media pages.
At least one other company is capitalizing on the frenzy of ridicule for the Sunwing partiers. Local burger chain La Belle et La Boeuf advertised a joke "influencer burger," a monstrosity with ingredients such as "gros piment" and "gros jambon" — both of which can mean something akin to "big idiot."
In addition to becoming the butt of jokes, the partiers are now subject to a federal investigation that could land them thousands of dollars in fines if they're found to have committed an offence.
Barred from boarding two airlines, subject to an investigation by the Canadian government and now on the receiving end of ridicule by the prime minister of Canada — the group of Quebec influencers reportedly shown on video partying maskless on a private Sunwing flight to Cancun might not be having the relaxing week they thought would.
Justin Trudeau weighed in on the incident in a press conference on Wednesday. He said it was "unacceptable that people are putting at risk, not just other passengers, not just airline workers, but their fellow citizens."
The prime minister said he was particularly disheartened by the fact that the group of partiers, who the Journal de Montréal identified as local influencers and reality stars, engaged in this behaviour while the majority of Canadians are following health rules and reducing contacts.
Canada continues to advise residents to avoid non-essential travel.
Influenceurs partis \u00e0 Canc\u00fan en faisant la f\u00eate dans l\u2019avion : \u00ab Une gang de sans-dessein \u00bb, dit le premier ministre Justin Trudeau.pic.twitter.com/eRU7VWKq2B
— Radio-Canada Info (@Radio-Canada Info)
"When a gang de sans-desseins decides to leave like Ostrogoths on vacation, it's extremely frustrating," a visibly annoyed Trudeau said.
"Sans-desseins" can politely be translated as "purposeless or clueless people."
Sunwing has cancelled the group's return flight to Canada. Air Transat said Wednesday that it would also deny boarding to the group, whose members had apparently been trying to book tickets back.
Transports Canada is in the process of investigating the incident.
In a joint statement Tuesday, transportation Minister Omar Alghabra, health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and public safety Minister Marco Mendicino said they were taking the incident, and alleged COVID-19 rule violations in particular, "very seriously."
They warned that members of the group could be in for thousands in fines if they're found guilty of an offence.
In the latest turn of events in the mounting national opposition to Quebec's controversial Bill 21, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that Toronto's city council will vote on a motion to help fund legal battles against the law, which bans many public servants from wearing religious symbols while performing their duties.
Tory also voiced his personal opposition to Bill 21 in a statement published on Twitter. "I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21," the mayor wrote.
I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Toronto City Council has also repeatedly voiced its opposition to this bill. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21.pic.twitter.com/TyekKVJ2NX
This news follows a recent letter published by Brampton, Ontario mayor Patrick Brown in which he implores mayors across Canada to consider pooling their cities' financial resources to help "fight Bill 21 in the courts."
Mayor Tory said Thursday that he stands with Brown and "[encourages] other cities across Canada to join this fight to uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
In the past week, Quebec has been under fire for applying Bill 21 to remove elementary school teacher Fatemeh Anvari, who wears a hijab, from her position in the city of Chelsea. The incident prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak out against the law.
"I don't find that in a free and open society that someone should lose their job because of their religion," Trudeau said at a press conference on Monday.
Quebec Premier François Legault clapped back, insisting laws need to be enforced. He said the local school board made a mistake by hiring Anvari.
What will Legault have to say about this latest move by Tory?