NDP bill in Canadian Parliament to require bilingual Supreme Court justices passes 140-137

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Interesting story here where an NDP private member's bill to require Supreme Court justices to be bilingual has passed Parliament 140-137. This might be one of the cases where I'm not really that in favour of a law strengthening French in Canada, simply because it's largely symbolic; the Supreme Court is too small a body for this to have anything more than a symbolic effect, and there are interpreters in the court anyway. That being said, I'm not heavily opposed to it either as it seems to specifically refer to appointees, so it doesn't mean there would be a sudden passing of judgment on the current justices on whether their French is up to par and a quick expulsion if it is not.

Also note that the law technically means that appointees who speak French only would not be allowed to join the Supreme Court either, so a Judge Stephane Dion probably wouldn't have been able to be appointed if this law had been in place previously and required a real comfortable fluency in the language.

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