Access to justice in both official languages a fundamental right
OTTAWA - New Democrats today applauded Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser’s decision to launch an important study aimed at improving access to justice in both official languages for all Canadians.
The study will examine in detail two issues under federal responsibility that contribute to the institutional bilingualism of the superior court judiciary: the selection and appointment process for the judiciary; and language training for judges appointed to superior courts.
“I’m heartened that this morning an Officer of Parliament is acting where the Government has failed to act,” said NDP Official Languages Critic Yvon Godin (Acadie–Bathurst). “Access to a judicial system capable of rightfully serving its citizens in the official language of their choice is more than just a question of language policy,” Godin insisted, “it is a fundamental right and a question of equality and fairness.”
“When defendants, plaintiffs and lawyers have their day in court in Canada,” added Tyrone Benskin (Jeanne-Le Ber), NDP Deputy Critic for Official Languages, “they deserve every confidence that their trial is fair, whether they choose to proceed in English or French.”
“This study is a crucial step towards a more inclusive, balanced and accessible justice system,” Godin concluded. “The NDP eagerly awaits the results and will continue to ensure respect for Canada’s official languages.”