Challenge of Quebec secession law makes it before the courts after 16-year wait

MONTREAL—The long-awaited constitutional challenge of Quebec’s secession law finally found its way before a judge on Monday, nearly 16 years after it was launched.The provincial law, known as Bill 99, was adopted in 2000 by the Parti Québécois government of the day as a direct response to the federal Clarity Act.Drafted by the Lucien Bouchard-led PQ, it affirms the legal existence of the Quebec people and its right to self-determination.The law was meant to counter the Clarity Act, which states a “clear majority” vote on a clear question on secession would be required before any negotiations are held.Keith Henderson, an English professor and former leader of the now-defunct Equality party, launched the constitutional challenge in 2001.Article Continued BelowIn 2013, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government chimed in with federal lawyers seeking to have Bill 99 declared invalid, much to the chagrin of provincial politicians who unanimously denounced the move.Henderson said Monday his belief is the law is unconstitutional because it gives Quebec the right to unilaterally declare independence, doing an end run around the Constitution in the process.Monday was spent debating whether the court would accept certain documents.

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