Canadian Lawyer

November 2020

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UPFRONT 12 QUEBEC UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Author acquitted of child pornography charges Novel containing passage describing a man's sexual assault of his daughter had come under fire THE SUPERIOR COURT of Quebec has acquitted Yvan Godbout, author of the horror novel Hansel et Gretel, of producing and distributing child pornography under s. 163.1 of the Criminal Code on Sept. 24. In Godbout c. Procureure générale du Québec, 2020 QCCS 2967, the court also acquitted Godbout's editor, Éditions ADA inc., of distributing child pornography. The novel, published in 2017, retells the German fairy tale and contains a passage wherein a man sexually assaults his daughter. Justice Marc-André Blanchard found that certain provisions of the Criminal Code on child pornography were too broad and targeted literature that neither endorses nor promotes pedophilia. Blanchard went on to invalidate some Criminal Code provisions. A citizen filed a complaint about the novel in 2018. Charges were filed against the author in February 2019 and an arrest was made in March. Sherbrooke Times reported that some viewed Godbout a pedophile from then on. "I can't believe that in 2020 people are making connections between an author and his characters; it's completely absurd!" Godbout told the Sherbrooke Times following his acquittal on Sept. 24. Godbout also reported that he had lost his passion for writing for almost two years, had considered taking his own life and cried for two hours upon hearing news of the acquittal. In February, PEN International called Labrador Innu sue Hydro- Quebec over Churchill Falls dam The Innu Nation of Labrador has filed a lawsuit against Hydro-Quebec seeking $4 billion in compensation for the ecological and cultural damage caused by the damming of the upper Churchill River in the early 1970s. Senior Innu leaders said on Oct. 6 that the provincially owned utility illegally took land from the Indigenous group without consultation in the late 1960s as construction started on the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project in central Labrador. The massive hydroelectric project led to the creation of the Smallwood Reservoir, which flooded 6,500 square kilometres of traditional Innu territory. Official languages commissioner concerned by Bill 101 Raymond Théberge, Canada's commissioner of official languages, has expressed reservations about the desire of Quebec and three federal parties to extend the application of the province's French language charter, known as Bill 101, to businesses in Quebec that are under federal jurisdiction. If the plan goes ahead, French would become the language of use in all businesses in Quebec with more than 50 employees. The Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic Party and, more recently, the Conservative Party have all expressed their agreement with the Quebec government's intention to subject companies under federal jurisdiction to Bill 101. Canadian Marketing Association calls for privacy alignment Responding to proposals to reform Quebec's private sector privacy law, the Canadian Marketing Association has urged greater alignment with other jurisdictions. The reform proposals, contained in Bill 64, come at a time when the Government of Canada and key provinces, including Ontario and B.C., are consulting on their own privacy laws governing private sector organizations. The CMA is particularly concerned about provisions in the bill inspired by the EU's stringent GDPR framework, including additional requirements for consent and transparency, cross-border data transfer requirements and significant monetary penalties and enforcement measures. Quebec's Engineers Act is modernized The modernization of Quebec's Engineers Act was finalized on Sept. 24 when Bill 29, An Act to amend the Professional Code and other provisions in the oral health and the applied sciences sectors, was passed by the National Assembly. The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec welcomed its passage, describing its descriptions of engineering activities and works as more encompassing than those in the current act. The definition of an engineer's field of practice was also updated to include references to fields of engineering practice that have emerged in the past several decades. Six judicial appointments made in Quebec On Oct. 1, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti announced the appointment of six new justices in the province of Quebec. Guy Cournoyer and Sophie Lavallée were appointed puisne judges of the Court of Appeal of Quebec; Marie-Hélène Montminy was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Quebec; and Tiziana Di Donato, Alexander Pless and Katheryne Alexandra Desfossés were appointed puisne judges of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal.

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