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Bill 101 suffers legal setback over education

The Story

It's being hailed as the most important ruling thus far involving Canada's Charter of Rights. The Quebec Association of Protestant School Boards had argued Bill 101 violates sections of the charter guaranteeing the right of French and English linguistic minorities to an education in their language. The Supreme Court unanimously agrees. The court rules that legislation like Bill 101 cannot override the Charter of Rights. Today's ruling means the battle for families like the Begins is over. Chris Begin, who began his education outside Quebec, can now stay at his English school. Bill 101 meant that Chris had to switch to a French school at the end of the school year. The family welcomes the Supreme Court's decision. "The pressure is off," says his mother Diane, "it's definitely good to feel like we're Canadians again and we can make our own decisions."

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 26, 1984
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Susan Copeland, Vicki Russell
Duration: 4:03

Did You know?

• Canada's new charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed on April 17, 1982.
• The Quebec Superior Court also ruled on Sept. 8, 1982, that the Charter of Rights took precedence over Bill 101. The Parti Québécois government had appealed the ruling, which is how the case ended up in the Supreme Court.
• Under Bill 101, enrolment in English-language schools declined from 16 per cent in 1976 to 13 per cent in 1981 to 10.5 per cent in 1986. 


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