2015

The Supreme Court of Canada upholds the validity of Alberta’s unilingual statutes

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of the Languages Act of 2000, which provides that Alberta laws may be enacted in English only.

Gilles Caron maintained that the preservation of Francophones’ legislative and judicial rights was a condition of Canada’s annexation of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory in 1870. According to Mr. Caron, the language rights of the inhabitants of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory were entrenched in the Constitution at the time, which would mean that Alberta’s Languages Act—under which all acts and regulations are to be published in English only—is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected this interpretation. According to the majority of the Court, “Alberta is not constitutionally obligated to enact, print and publish its laws and regulations in both French and English.

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