An inside look at the Canadian Supreme Court

The bench of the Supreme Court of Canada – the only bilingual (English and French) and bijural (common law and civil law) supreme court in the world – currently includes three justices who were law graduates of McGill Law School, and the university’s Alumni blog recently published an interview with the three judges, Sheilah Martin, Mahmud Jamal and Nicholas Kasirer.

The Court works and decides cases in English and French, in all areas of law (such as family, criminal, and tax law).

The judges each give their own perspective on the job, and in particular how life at the Canadian Supreme Court differs from its American counterpart. Continue reading

Monday smiles – Dogs (don’t) have to be bilingual in Montreal

800px-Dogs_and_people_in_snowy_dog_parkFollowing Friday’s post on bilingualism in Canada

A spoof news report led to quite a few red faces in Quebec a couple of weeks ago. CBC Radio ran a story about a new City bylaw which was to require dogs to learn French and English commands, otherwise “dog parks would descend into chaos”. City employees were to be on hand to administer comprehension tests for basic commands.

The ‘new bylaw’ came in a context of disputed language laws in the province (see this post about retailers’ signs), and therefore, it seems, was considered quite plausible.

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High court judges should be bilingual…

Mr. Judge… according to the President of the Quebec Bar Association, on the occasion of the  formal swearing-in ceremony of the newest judge at Supreme Court of Canada. The head of the bar  declared “it is essential” that high court judges be drawn from the ranks of the best legal minds who “master” both official languages “given Canada’s linguistic diversity.”

The recently elected Mr Justice Richard Wagner is bilingual, as was Justice Marie Deschamps, who he replaces.

Another think struck me though, in addition to the arguments about linguistic diversity – how about the argument for bilinguallism and multilingualism as a way to open the mind? 🙂

Quebec’s Official Gazette now free access

The end of this week has a decidedly Canadian flavour after yesterday’s post about McGill.

In December last year, Quebec’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jean-Marc Fournier announced the filing of a draft regulation aimed at making the Gazette officielle du Québec available free of charge on the Internet. The regulation is now in force and allows free access to Parts 1 and 2 of the Gazette on the website:

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