That piece of legislation would discriminate against fully qualified people who can't speak french, mainly those in the west and could divide the country. Language would come first. That's an outrage!
Liberal Globe and Mail contributer, Robert Silver reports on what retired Supreme Court Judge John Major has to say about this.
A NDP private member's bill - Bill C-232 - passed the House of Commons last week. The legislation would require that all future Supreme Court justices be bilingual. Specifically, the act says that:
"Section 5 of the Supreme Court Act is renumbered as subsection 5(1) and is amended by adding the following:
(2) In addition, any person referred to in subsection (1) may be appointed a judge who understands French and English without the assistance of an interpreter."
On CBC Radio's The Current today, retired Supreme Court judge John Major came out and spoke strongly against the bill in a rather remarkable intervention for a former justice.
Among his more interesting comments:
1. According to Major, only two or three current justices would qualify as "truly bilingual" - capable of fully understanding a case without translation. This is a key point Major makes - that the level of language skill required to understand a complex legal case is not something you can learn in a month in french (or English) immersion or even high school second-language skills. It requires perfectly bilingual LEGAL second language skills, a rather rare skill that disqualifies the vast majority of Canadian lawyers.
2. If the bill passes, you will no longer have "the best," "most competent" people appointed to the bench. He says the bill would be a big "step backwards."
3. The regional inequity of the proposal is problematic to Major - specifically in terms of disenfranchising the West. He says there would "be a very modest number" of qualified candidates in the West and you would have to "settle" for lesser candidates to meet this qualification.
4. He criticizes by specific reference former justice minister Irwin Cotler and Bob Rae that he was "astounded" the bill got through with their support.
NDP official languages critic Yvon Godin (who proposed the bill) appears on the show both before and after Major. His rebuttal of Major was weak, to say the least as were, in a bit of irony, his English language skills.
This Bill MUST NOT BE ALLOWED to pass in the Senate. Contact all Senators now to make sure this bill does not become law! I think this whole this is about partisanship politics especially on the Liberals part. They should know better.
What's going to happen when Ruby Dhalla's bill comes up? You know the one would reduce to three, from ten, the number of years elderly immigrants to Canada have to wait before being eligible for an Old Age Security pension.