Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Private Members Bill C-232

Just a short time ago Bill C-232, Yvon Godin's (NDP from Acadie-Bathurst New Brunswick) private members bill passed 3rd reading by a vote of 140-137 and is now headed to the Senate.

C-232: This enactment amends the Supreme Court Act and introduces a new requirement for judges appointed to the Supreme Court to understand English and French without the assistance of an interpreter.

So the NDP, Liberals and Bloc have passed a Bill that requires new Supreme Court Justices to speak both official languages and in doing so have effectively ruled out many otherwise well-qualified candidates, from across the country, for the high court in the process.

All I can say is Nuts!

Do we want the best legal minds for the job or do we reject them in favour of possibly mediocre legal minds only because they can speak both languages and can comply with this politically correct nonsense?

While I recognize that having anyone, including SC Justices, be able to understand both official languages would be beneficial, that requirement alone should not disqualify anyone from from the job. We are not talking about a clerk working the phones at a government office here, we are talking about the Supreme Court where impeccable legal credentials, good character and sound judgment should greatly outweigh a persons ability to speak both languages; and considering the translation services that are, and will continue to be available, it is also unnecessary.

Another thing that stinks about this Bill is that these high and mighty opposition MP's are demanding that future SC Justices have to comply with a requirement that will NEVER be imposed on MP's. Shouldn't those same demands be placed on MP's as well for all the same reasons they use to justify it for the SC? Perhaps the Bloc would like to propose that in a private members bill in the near future, but we all know that will never happen.

Political correctness is again running amok and the opposition are leading the way.

Here is how they voted.


David Thomson said...

I understand what they are driving at but...

I guess that solves the issue with the Inuit needing to be understood in our top court.

Shit, I don't care if the judge speaks only French, so long as they understand the law.

Anonymous said...

Very sneaky. The West will not like this at all.

Ardvark said...

Maybe Ignatieff should have made this a qualification for those attending the Liberals Big Thinkers conference.

After all, how big could these thinkers be if they are not fully bilingual?

The_Iceman said...

Is this suggesting that potential defendants have the right to present their case in front of a judge who can speak their language without an interpretter. So what of the thousands of Asian Canadians who speak neither official language fluently. Should all judges then also speak Mandarin?

Linda said...

"Very sneaky. The West will not like this at all." -- This is sneaky! I hope the Senate can block this. It is an under-the-table way of ensuring Eastern domination of the Supreme court -- with heavy representation from Quebec/Eastern Ontario . . . and likely ensuring judges with left-leaning proclivities. I think this is a blow to fairness.

Now it is one thing to suggest the judges need to speak both languages, but invariably they will be less fluent in whichever is not their native language.

Translators, however, do have significant facility and what I am suggesting here is that a translator is more likely to catch nuances that could be missed by someone who simply "passed the exam".

Ardvark said...

What are they really asking for here? Plenty of people can speak a second language well enough to get by but not well enough to read or write it and when it comes to 'legalese' I imagine it would be even harder to be really fluent in both.

Are they going to require a written and oral test for this?

BTW Perhaps they should add Latin to the list too.

Anonymous said...

The comments re the nuances of a language are dead on. When I worked in Mexico and South America I could get by in conversational Spanish and the people I worked with could more than get by in English. The problems arose when we got into discussions about engineering problems. The terminology in that discipline was virtually impossible to understand across the language barrier. I can just imagine how much will be missed in something as complicated as a Supreme Court Case.

Bert said...

Don't the Independant and Conservative senators have more senate seats than the liberals ?. If so, let them turn it down.

Ardvark said...

If someone can show me an instance where justice was not done because a SC Justice was not fully bilingual then I might be persuaded to change my mind, but that has not been the case.

There is NO need for this.

Le Grand Duc said...

Three things:
1. The senator who proposed the bill is a francophone from Alberta and represents the strong linguistic minority (220 000) french speakers that reside in that province and the many more in western Canada.

2. Canadians laws are adopted in French and English and both have equal force of law. Understanding canadian law is understanding french and english linguistic, legal and historical culture. While there are many nationalities in Canada, not all languages are represented in our laws.

3. Beverly McClachlin learnt french just fine and heads the court. Lesson being, if you want to go to the supreme court, learn the language of the laws!

Therefore, Bill C-232 is essential.

Ardvark said...

3 things:

1) The Senator you speak of was appointed AGAINST the wishes of the people of Alberta, and she represents NOTHING but Liberal arrogance and elitism. If she cared at all about Alberta she would step down, but we all know what Liberals care about; Liberals.

2) Great, so there is no need to be bilingual if the laws are written in both languages is there? Being a good linguist has NOTHING to do with being a good jurist.

3)I am not sure who McClachin is but Beverly McLachlin would NEVER have been appointed to the SC as she was NOT bilingual at the time. She learned French AFTER she was appointed to the bench.

Therefore your points are full of it, and C232 is politically correct nonsense that is divisive to the country and not needed.