A governor-general who doesn’t speak French: Mary Simon’s appointment is challenged in court

A group of citizens have petitioned the Supreme Court to invalidate Mary Simon’s appointment as Governor-General of Canada, saying her inability to speak French – one of Canada’s two official languages ​​- violates Canada’s constitution.

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“It’s our Canada Day gift to Mr. Trudeau,” says Frédéric Bastien wryly, adding that the legal grounds behind this declaratory judgment are serious. Justice Quebec founder and historian and former PQ member Étienne-Alexis Boucher are behind this motion, which was filed in the Quebec court yesterday.

They have some opposition to the appointment of Mary Simon, an Inuit who speaks English and Inuktitut but not Molière’s language, in a “blatant violation” of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Article 16 of the supreme state law states that English and French “have the same status and equal rights and privileges”, while Article 20 states that the public has the right to communicate with federal institutions in the language of their choice.

The example of New Brunswick

It’s the decision of a New Brunswick court that ruled that appointing a monolingual English lieutenant governor violates Canada’s Charter, giving Mr Bastien the impression that their approach has legal basis. However, this decision, made in the spring, was contested by the federal government.

In addition to an advisory group responsible for finding a successor for Julie Payette, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth II approved Mary Simon’s appointment, ignoring Canadian bilingualism. Conversely, it is “hard to imagine that the Governor General of Canada cannot speak English,” says the motion.

Mary Simon’s appointment should therefore be declared “void, inapplicable and invalid” by the Superior Court if she agrees with the arguments of the Quebec Justice.

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