I was pleased to hear that franco-albertaine judge Mary Moreau has been nominated to fill a vacancy in Canada’s Supreme Court. If her appointment is approved, Moreau will be the first francophone from Western Canada in the position.
Moreau is known for her sensitivity to respecting the language rights of French-speaking citizens and has been a strong advocate for equal access to justice in both of Canada’s Official Languages. She was the trial judge in Fédération franco-ténoise v. Canada (AG), which concerned the nature and scope of the language obligations of the government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government. She also acted as a lawyer in R v. Paquette, a case where the accused applied for a trial by a judge and jury in French in Edmonton but was refused (and later accepted), and she acted for the appellants in Mahé v. Alberta. This case established that Section 23 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires that parents of the official language minority in each province have the right to either be represented on their local school board or to have a school board that operates in their language, to protect the education rights of their children. Moreau also helped to create the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta, which is dedicated to promoting French language rights in the province.
Moreau will participate in a question and answer session before members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and a member of the Green Party of Canada on November 2nd, and then a decision about her nomination will be made by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Image: Courtesy of the Court of Queen’s Bench
Catherine Fisher, blogger