Bilingualism is a Basic Requirement to Interpret Bilingual Federal, Provincial and Territorial Laws at the Supreme Court of Canada
WINNIPEG – In light of the recent announcement of Justice Marshall Rothstein’s retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada, the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law inc. (FAJEF) reiterates the importance of appointing bilingual judges to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Allan Damer, FAJEF President, declared that, “Legislatif bilingualism has progressed to such an extent in Canada that in addition to federal bilingual statutes approximately seventy percent of all Canadians reside in provinces or territories that are also currently governed by bilingual provincial or territorial laws with entirely equal legal status.” Mr. Damer adds that, “Since Supreme Court of Canada judges are often required to interpret the French and English versions of federal statutes, as well as those of numerous provinces and territories, bilingualism must be considered an essential and basic requirement to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
It must be noted that all members of the federal judiciary have access to language training and a significant number of federal judges, including several at the Appellate level in Western Canada, are able to hear cases in French without the assistance of interpreters.
French-speaking Canadians have the right to be heard and understood at the Supreme Court of Canada without the help of interpreters. It is concerning that non bilingual judges have continued to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada since this practice seriously undermines one of Canada’s fundamental principal, which dates back to1867, whereby French and English are equal at the judicial and legislative levels in Canada.
Mr. Rénald Rémillard, Executive-Director
Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law inc.
Telephone: (204) 415-7551