(Bady 2012) Quebec’s Law 78


Bady, Aaron. Il faut défendre la société contre les étudiants: Québec’s Law 78 [Internet]. New Inquiry. 2012 May 19. Available from: http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/il-faut-defendre-la-societe-contre-les-etudiantes-quebecs-law-78/. Accessed 2012 May 20. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/67ojff643.

Bady condemns the emergency anti-protest measures of Quebec’s Law 78 as a fundamental subversion of free expression and the rule of law: “Rights are not rights if they are withdrawn in response to their use, in anticipation of their use, or to prevent them from being used.” The problem is not merely that the law’s provisions are vague and its penalties harsh. They are also subject to change whenever, and to whatever extent, might be necessary to crush the student movements against which they are directed:

In a way, it’s actually a lot worse than explicitly making protest illegal, because that would at least be a law that could be consistently applied. If you want to argue that society must be defended, do so. Because then, at least, the principle of legality would still exist. What this is, and should be seen as, is an expressed commitment on the part of the Québec government to put into place whatever legal mechanisms are necessary to stop a specific set of protest. If you want to argue that a specific law is necessitated by some kind of universal principle, you cannot then change basic principles to match the perceived needs of the moment without admitting, pretty clearly, that principles are irrelevant, window dressing, the lipstick you put on the pig when it’s not being slaughtered.

 

 

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