The Quebec Supreme Court has ruled that it has jurisdiction to challenge the nomination of Canada’s governor-general, Mary Simon, who is not fluent in French.
Organizations and citizens want the appointment of MMe Simon be declared “void, void and unenforceable”.
The Association for the Defense of Individual and Collective Rights of Quebec and the organization Justice pour le Quebec believe that this appointment violates the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides that “French and English are the official languages of Canada”. .
They therefore believe that Canada’s governor general is constitutionally required to communicate in the country’s two official languages.
Even before the case went to trial, Canada’s Attorney General pleaded with the Quebec Supreme Court that only the federal court could hear the case.
But Judge Catherine Piché, in her June decision, concluded that the appointment of the governor-general does not fall under any of the “extraordinary grounds” that would require the case to be heard in federal court.
Judge Piché therefore dismissed the Canadian Attorney General’s request for a “denial jurisdictional exception” and affirmed that the Supreme Court proceeding would continue.
François Boulianne, the lawyer for the two organizations and the two people contesting the appointment, now expects the case to go back to court in the autumn.
The organization Justice for Quebec, one of the plaintiffs, says it will continue to pursue the lawsuit despite the death in May of its president Frédéric Bastien, historian and former candidate for leadership of the Parti Québécois.
“It’s certainly a matter of principle, it’s not about Mary Simon herself, it’s about respect for the Constitution,” Ms. saide Boulianne in an interview on Wednesday.
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