Bilingualism at the supreme Court: the turn of Choquette to respond to saganash section

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick, The canadian Press
NDP mp Romeo saganash section

NDP mp François Choquette grieves the turn taken by the debate on her bill on the bilingualism of judges to the supreme Court. If he said he was sensitive to the arguments of his colleague, Romeo saganash section on the importance of valuing indigenous languages, he believes that this valuation should not be at the expense of the French or the English.


The open letter sent by Mr. Choquette to Duty is titled ” One does not correct one injustice by creating wrongs “.


“Of course, Romeo saganash section asks a legitimate question about the place of aboriginal languages within the official languages Act, we read in this letter. However, we must not lose sight of our objective, to make the supreme Court more accessible. “


The bill C-203, Mr. Choquette stated that, to become a judge of the supreme Court of Canada, a person must understand English and French ” without the assistance of an interpreter “. It has been defeated.


As a member of néodémocrate, Mr. saganash section should in theory support it. However, it is voluntarily absent at the time of the vote. He explained to the Duty that the bill C-203 perpetuated the view that the “colonialism” in defining bilingualism as the mastery of the two languages of the peoples of the colonizers.


According to him, a person speaking a native language other than English or French should be considered as bilingual for the purposes of appointment to the Court or to obtain a position in the federal public service requiring bilingualism.


“Of course, there are the first nations, it must never be forgotten, but there are also the two founding peoples, even if the term is perhaps not the good,” retorted Mr. Choquette in a telephone interview.


“These are two peoples that are important also, anglophones and francophones. They, too, have rights, which are recognized by the official languages Act. We can’t add rights to the indigenous languages by removing rights to the founding peoples. We would correct the situation by creating a discrimination or injustice new. “


When Mr. saganash section suggests that the control of the cree, inuktitut or other aboriginal language should be equivalent to the mastery of French or English, Mr. Choquette regimbe. “You can’t substitute an aboriginal language to French or to English. “In his eyes, it is clear, therefore, that a person speaking, for example, the English and the cry,” can’t be a judge of the supreme Court “.


Mr. Choquette is especially unfortunate that this deeper reflection on the place of aboriginal languages in Canada is to shadow the prime objective of the draft law : “access to justice in both official languages “. “The debate on the indigenous languages is important, but it distracts the attention of the other debate, is the importance of having bilingual judges to the supreme Court. “


The deputy Choquette reminds us that all of the lower courts, a litigant may plead in the official language of his choice. It is not necessary to do this to require bilingualism of all the judges : it is enough to assign the judge who is competent in the language of the citizen. The supreme Court is different in that its nine justices are almost always together (although panels of seven or, more rarely, five judges are sometimes trained). The presence of one judge only comes then torpedo the bilingual workforce.

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