Drainville proud of Charter defence, won't resign as MNA
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014 2:39PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 9:24PM EDT
One of the chairs of the Reasonable Accommodation commission is demanding several members of the Parti Quebecois resign from the National Assembly.
Gerard Bouchard says Bernard Drainville, in particular, acted not just irresponsibly, but was "sinister" in dealing with immigrants and members of ethnic minorities in Quebec.
In particular Bouchard takes offence to Drainville's misleading the public about the nature of the legal opinions that Drainville used to promote the Charter of Values.
In an open letter in La Presse and translated into English by CJAD, Bouchard, one of the men who criss-crossed the province of Quebec in 2007 and 2008 as part of the commission on reasonable accommodations, said the party needs "a major cleanup."
Bouchard, whose brother Lucien led the PQ for many years, said more than anyone else Pauline Marois and Bernard Drainville disgraced the PQ, and since Marois has resigned he is "waiting for Drainville to do as much."
Drainville proud of his actions
In response Drainville said he will not resign, and in fact is proud of his actions in promoting the highly divisive bill.
"When it comes to the Charter I will not renounce anything, I am proud of what we did and time will justify our actions," said Drainville in a radio interview.
Drainville was repeatedly asked in the months after he first presented the Charter what legal advice justified some sections which many observers, including Quebec's Bar Association, said were discriminatory and violated Quebec's and Canada's Charter of Rights.
Drainville said often that the the PQ had legal opinions in favour of the Charter, and there were several prominent jurists, including former Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, who supported the measure.
"I'm arguing because I had all of these opinions, and analysis, and counsel from different legal experts including a former Supreme Court judge, and I have another formal legal opinion from Professor Henri Brun and I had legal opinions from the Minister of Justice. I argued that I had the whole thing covered. I did have an overview of the legal issues, or the constitutional issues with regard to the Charter," Drainville told CTV.
But last week the provincial Justice Department revealed that the PQ government had never asked for a government-sanctioned inspection of the draft bill -- further clarifying this week that only sections of the bill had been approved by government lawyers.
The PQ also cited the opinion of constitutional lawyer Henri Brun, who publicly supported the Charter, as one of its legal advisors.
That came as a shock to Brun, who said the PQ government had ever asked his opinion on Bill 60.
Brun did admit he had sent the PQ a short brief concerning words such as "ostentatious" when the PQ invited all citizens to comment via web submissions on its proposals.
Even though Brun was never formally asked for his legal advice, Drainville continued to state on Tuesday that the PQ had relied on Brun's opinion.