More than just a poster boy for liberal folly and excess, Justin Trudeau is a segregationist.  So was his father.  Indeed, Pierre Trudeau is responsible for entrenching in Canada’s Constitution provisions of segregation that discriminate against, among others, Americans who come to live in the Province of Quebec, including their descendants.

The repeal of these provisions should, I believe, be included as part of current NAFTA negotiations and be a condition upon which the United States consents to any future deal.  The New York Times has seen fit to publish an op-ed by a former Mexican cabinet minister calling on human rights provisions to be added to the accord, and there is no reason why this same standard should not be applied to Canada.  President Trump should demand that this discrimination against Americans stop.

Trudeau believes in two sets of rights for residents of Canada, segregated by race.  Not by skin color – that would be too obvious.  But it’s a form of racial discrimination acknowledged and recognized not only by the United Nations, but also by the governments of Canada and the United States.  And it’s a discrimination procedure that lies at the foundation of the now defunct Apartheid system of South Africa, which, in places, is word for word equivalent to the Canadian statute.

Where is this law found?  The Province of Quebec segregates the rights of all of its residents through the language of education provisions of The Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as Bill 101 (see, specifically, ss. 72-73).  This results in two separate and distinct civil rights categories:

a) those with the freedom of choice to send their children to either French-language or English-language publicly funded schools and

b) those who can send their children only to French-language publicly funded schools.

Unless married to a category (a) Canadian, Americans residing in Quebec fall under category (b) above.  The discrimination procedure used to determine placement in either of these two civil rights categories is based upon descent:

1) who one’s parents are and

2) what the parents’ classification is (i.e., eligibility certificate).

This classification is handed down, generation after generation.

“Descent” is one of the listed definitions of racial discrimination in article 1 of the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, of which both Canada and the U.S. have been signatories since 1966.

Visual inspection of skin color is the commonly understood means of racial discrimination.  But descent, in both jurisprudence and codified law, has long held a more stringent standard than mere inspection of skin color – at least under Apartheid.  In South Africa, in Moller v. Keimoes School Committee and Another (South Africa Law Reports, A.D., 1911 635), the parents of a child who was accused of not being “white” had three hurdles to overcome in order to maintain their child in a school designated for whites only: (1) visual inspection, (2) associations, and (3) descent.  The child easily passed the first two hurdles: he was completely white in appearance, and all his social interactions and associations were with whites.  However, one grandparent classified as “colored” was enough, through descent, to hand down this classification to the grandchild, and the grandchild was denied entry into the school.

Compare South Africa’s descent-based Apartheid statutes with those of Bill 101’s descent-based language of education provisions:

Statutes of the Union of South Africa; Act No. 18 of 1936 …


“Native” means –


  1. any member of any aboriginal race or tribe of Africa … ; and
  2. any person whose father or mother is or was a native in terms of paragraph (a); and
  3. any person whose father or mother is or was a native in terms of paragraph (b); and
  4. any other person, one or more than one of whose ancestors is or was a native[.] [Emphasis added.]

Quebec’s Charter of the French Language


72. Instruction in the kindergarten classes and in the elementary and secondary schools shall be in French, except where this chapter allows otherwise. …


73. The following children, at the request of one of their parents, may receive instruction in English:


(1)  a child whose father or mother is a Canadian citizen and received elementary instruction in English in Canada, provided that that instruction constitutes the major part of the elementary instruction he or she received in Canada;


(2)  a child whose father or mother is a Canadian citizen and who has received or is receiving elementary or secondary instruction in English in Canada, and the brothers and sisters of that child, provided that that instruction constitutes the major part of the elementary or secondary instruction received by the child in Canada[.] [Emphasis added.]

Quebec discriminates against Americans in a second significant way: Americans falling under category (b), above, cannot transfer to category (a) even if they become Canadian citizens.  This is because the Quebec government has, for the past 37 years, refused to implement section 23.1.A of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Section 23.1.A is in force in every province in Canada except Quebec.

This means that immigrants from French-speaking countries, such as France, whose first language learned and still understood is French, can come to any of the nine predominantly English-speaking provinces outside Quebec, become Canadian citizens, and have the constitutional right to send their children to French publicly funded schools.  However, immigrants from English-speaking countries, such as the United States, whose first language learned and still understood is English, who come to Quebec and become Canadian citizens, do not have the constitutional right to send their children to English publicly funded schools.  The category (b) imprint is, like DNA, as immutable as skin color, and the designation remains for life and beyond.  Americans’ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren maintain the classification ad infinitum.

Race-based discrimination has no place in free and democratic societies.  American citizens residing in Quebec must be assured that they will be treated, at most, equal to Canadian-born English-speakers residing in Quebec and, at least, equal to French-speaking immigrants residing in any of the other nine provinces.

I urge the Americans to include this important issue as part of NAFTA renegotiations.  For their part, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Quebec counterpart, Liberal premier Phillipe Couillard, can, forthwith, demonstrate to our American friends the openness and tolerance of the Canadian and Quebec governments and the nation’s people by advocating for equality for Americans residing in Quebec.  With Justin Trudeau’s endorsement, Quebec must invoke its constitutional right and opt into S. 23.1.A.

Tony Kondaks is a self-employed businessman currently living in Vancouver, B.C.

Image: Alex Gulbord via Flickr.

More than just a poster boy for liberal folly and excess, Justin Trudeau is a segregationist.  So was his father.  Indeed, Pierre Trudeau is responsible for entrenching in Canada’s Constitution provisions of segregation that discriminate against, among others, Americans who come to live in the Province of Quebec, including their descendants.

The repeal of these provisions should, I believe, be included as part of current NAFTA negotiations and be a condition upon which the United States consents to any future deal.  The New York Times has seen fit to publish an op-ed by a former Mexican cabinet minister calling on human rights provisions to be added to the accord, and there is no reason why this same standard should not be applied to Canada.  President Trump should demand that this discrimination against Americans stop.

Trudeau believes in two sets of rights for residents of Canada, segregated by race.  Not by skin color – that would be too obvious.  But it’s a form of racial discrimination acknowledged and recognized not only by the United Nations, but also by the governments of Canada and the United States.  And it’s a discrimination procedure that lies at the foundation of the now defunct Apartheid system of South Africa, which, in places, is word for word equivalent to the Canadian statute.

Where is this law found?  The Province of Quebec segregates the rights of all of its residents through the language of education provisions of The Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as Bill 101 (see, specifically, ss. 72-73).  This results in two separate and distinct civil rights categories:

a) those with the freedom of choice to send their children to either French-language or English-language publicly funded schools and

b) those who can send their children only to French-language publicly funded schools.

Unless married to a category (a) Canadian, Americans residing in Quebec fall under category (b) above.  The discrimination procedure used to determine placement in either of these two civil rights categories is based upon descent:

1) who one’s parents are and

2) what the parents’ classification is (i.e., eligibility certificate).

This classification is handed down, generation after generation.

“Descent” is one of the listed definitions of racial discrimination in article 1 of the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, of which both Canada and the U.S. have been signatories since 1966.

Visual inspection of skin color is the commonly understood means of racial discrimination.  But descent, in both jurisprudence and codified law, has long held a more stringent standard than mere inspection of skin color – at least under Apartheid.  In South Africa, in Moller v. Keimoes School Committee and Another (South Africa Law Reports, A.D., 1911 635), the parents of a child who was accused of not being “white” had three hurdles to overcome in order to maintain their child in a school designated for whites only: (1) visual inspection, (2) associations, and (3) descent.  The child easily passed the first two hurdles: he was completely white in appearance, and all his social interactions and associations were with whites.  However, one grandparent classified as “colored” was enough, through descent, to hand down this classification to the grandchild, and the grandchild was denied entry into the school.

Compare South Africa’s descent-based Apartheid statutes with those of Bill 101’s descent-based language of education provisions:

Statutes of the Union of South Africa; Act No. 18 of 1936 …


“Native” means –


  1. any member of any aboriginal race or tribe of Africa … ; and
  2. any person whose father or mother is or was a native in terms of paragraph (a); and
  3. any person whose father or mother is or was a native in terms of paragraph (b); and
  4. any other person, one or more than one of whose ancestors is or was a native[.] [Emphasis added.]

Quebec’s Charter of the French Language


72. Instruction in the kindergarten classes and in the elementary and secondary schools shall be in French, except where this chapter allows otherwise. …


73. The following children, at the request of one of their parents, may receive instruction in English:


(1)  a child whose father or mother is a Canadian citizen and received elementary instruction in English in Canada, provided that that instruction constitutes the major part of the elementary instruction he or she received in Canada;


(2)  a child whose father or mother is a Canadian citizen and who has received or is receiving elementary or secondary instruction in English in Canada, and the brothers and sisters of that child, provided that that instruction constitutes the major part of the elementary or secondary instruction received by the child in Canada[.] [Emphasis added.]

Quebec discriminates against Americans in a second significant way: Americans falling under category (b), above, cannot transfer to category (a) even if they become Canadian citizens.  This is because the Quebec government has, for the past 37 years, refused to implement section 23.1.A of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Section 23.1.A is in force in every province in Canada except Quebec.

This means that immigrants from French-speaking countries, such as France, whose first language learned and still understood is French, can come to any of the nine predominantly English-speaking provinces outside Quebec, become Canadian citizens, and have the constitutional right to send their children to French publicly funded schools.  However, immigrants from English-speaking countries, such as the United States, whose first language learned and still understood is English, who come to Quebec and become Canadian citizens, do not have the constitutional right to send their children to English publicly funded schools.  The category (b) imprint is, like DNA, as immutable as skin color, and the designation remains for life and beyond.  Americans’ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren maintain the classification ad infinitum.

Race-based discrimination has no place in free and democratic societies.  American citizens residing in Quebec must be assured that they will be treated, at most, equal to Canadian-born English-speakers residing in Quebec and, at least, equal to French-speaking immigrants residing in any of the other nine provinces.

I urge the Americans to include this important issue as part of NAFTA renegotiations.  For their part, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Quebec counterpart, Liberal premier Phillipe Couillard, can, forthwith, demonstrate to our American friends the openness and tolerance of the Canadian and Quebec governments and the nation’s people by advocating for equality for Americans residing in Quebec.  With Justin Trudeau’s endorsement, Quebec must invoke its constitutional right and opt into S. 23.1.A.

Tony Kondaks is a self-employed businessman currently living in Vancouver, B.C.

Image: Alex Gulbord via Flickr.



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