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Results: 16 - 30 of 60
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
This is a very important issue.
I know that a lot of thought is being given to it.
Again, I want to assure my colleague that the government will consider any private member's bill that is put forward for the purpose of enhancing official languages capacity in our courts and will assess the merits of that bill on a principled basis, but of course, we have to—we must—respect the principles and the values that are enshrined in our charter.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Absolutely.
I alluded to the importance of the minister being in dialogue with the commissioner for judicial affairs when it comes to implementing spot-checking of or audits on official languages capacity. We have also asked the commissioner to develop new assessment tools so that we can stay on top of the proficiency of our judges who are on the bench. In other words, that means developing new tools to assess the existing capacity of our superior courts to provide services in both official languages.
The minister has been engaged in dialogue with her provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure they are also looking at ways to enhance access to justice in our provincial courts, which is where most of the legal work occurs, not in our appellate courts and certainly not in our Supreme Court.
The bulk of the work will be done in provincial and superior courts.
Those are some examples of where we're using the funds under the current action plan to ensure that the degree to which people can access justice in both official languages remains very high.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-11-21 16:09
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank the witnesses for being here today.
I am going to follow up on what my colleague, Mr. Arseneault, was saying regarding training and information.
Often, when we talk about a bilingual court or bilingual judges, people think that that means having a judge who can hear a case in both official languages. However, it goes further than that. If the stenographer or members of the court administration team are not bilingual, it will be very difficult for the litigants to be heard in their language. Often, even if the judge is bilingual, if the team is not, this causes long delays.
All of this comes back to the issue of training and the part of the five-year, $40-million amount that will be allocated to it. What is the specific plan with regard to allocating those funds?
I know Mr. Arseneault spoke about it, but I'd like to get back to it anyway because I think that training is crucial. There are colleges that offer legal training in French. In my province, in Ontario, there is the Collège Boréal, among others. That training is also offered in New Brunswick and in other colleges elsewhere in Canada. And so we have the necessary resources.
How do you plan to execute the action plan by supporting the training of those who want to join the judiciary?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
You are right. It isn't just about more training for judges and lawyers. The justice system is supported by many other stakeholders, such as university law faculties and even high schools. That is precisely where it starts. Last week, I was in Forest Hill, in my riding, and we have students there who want to study law. That's where it starts.
You asked about the action plan.
It will touch on all of these aspects. It will include supporting initiatives and collaboration with the University of Ottawa; I know there is a project there. It also includes ensuring that court support staff have the ability to operate in both official languages. It's multi-faceted.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
As I mentioned, this is the subject of an ongoing collaboration between the minister, the commissioner and, obviously, the judicial advisory committees. When a candidate has been successfully appointed to the bench, there has been a dialogue between the minister and the commissioner for judicial affairs to develop new assessment tools to ensure that the level of official languages and bilingualism capacity remain at the high levels that we expect that to be at in order for Canadians to access justice in the official languages of their choice.
In practical terms, this can play out in two ways. One, there can be spot checks or audits. I've already mentioned that. Two, through role players such as the National Judicial Institute, which provides training to all judges, we can encourage ongoing training and continuing legal education in both official languages to keep those levels of bilingualism high.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for your question.
First of all, as I told our colleague, we evaluate the merits of every private member's bill brought forward by members of the House.
We will evaluate them on the basis of their merits. While I appreciate your question, I have to dispute the contention that there has been any politicization when it comes to our appointments process. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the appointments process is open, transparent, and merit based. The quality of the appointments that we have seen to the superior court has been universally supported. That is I think in large part because of the great improvements we have made to the appointments process.
With regard to bilingualism, I think you will agree that the statistics bear out that we have made progress, both at the Supreme Court, through the appointment of Malcolm Rowe, who is functionally bilingual, and in superior court.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would say so, yes. The figures bear that out. As I said, we had somewhere around 300 qualified applicants, and of those, 27 judges were appointed.
That's progress.
View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
I understand the expenses, but don't you think we're also trying to show that government and the judiciary should be treated the same as the members of Parliament and ministers. Canadians should know what is happening in the courts.
View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
That's probably a better answer than saying all of them are 100% perfect, but it still underlines the question that taxpayers are in the dark about whether there is a judicial officer whose claims are being repeatedly rejected or what have you.
You keep talking about judicial independence, which is, of course, a hallowed principle in our country, but I'm still trying to connect the dots between how, if you have greater public accountability.... Prove to me or show me how that infringes on the independence of the judge.
The judge still gets the paycheque from the Government of Canada, yet no one says that is an outrageous denial of judicial independence. How is it that the judge can be paid by the Government of Canada, ergo the taxpayers of Canada, yet the expenses are still in this alternative universe of process?
Can you walk me through it?
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
The last thing I would say is this. I take it the specific concern, frankly, is for these individualized expenses, and specifically in relation to travel, since you keep coming back to that. I understand that it's the Federal Court we're talking about, and the tax court or the travelling courts. Isn't the simple answer for the courts to simply say, “This judge writes this number of decisions and sits on this many panels”, and then that information is published alongside any expenses?
I don't see a reporter or any member of the Canadian public taking seriously any concerns if they see that the large travel expenses for an individual judge are commensurate with the work that this individual judge is doing.
The Chair: We're at time.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
A number of people who appeared before us have raised the issue of impartiality. That's not in any way a reflection on you, but on the process. They feel that your office is appointed by the government, the funding for your office goes through the government, and funding for individual claims to groups also goes through the government, so there is some apprehension as to whether they're submitting a claim to a process that is deemed to be impartial.
How do we strengthen that? How do we ensure that confidence is there for people to come forward?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
The other element is obviously funding. When you have a big funding mechanism, this is often seen as aiding the government, or as restricting the ability of a group to go through a claim, as opposed to facilitating it.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-05-30 12:27
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Jutras, thank you very much for being here with us. I have read your bio and I congratulate you on your achievements.
A number of aspects intrigue and interest me. As you know, access to justice in both official languages is critically important, at least for me. When we go to court, we have to know that the judge in front of us can understand us in the language of our choice, especially at the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in a bilingual country.
Your career took you to the Supreme Court, You worked with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as—
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-05-30 12:28
…executive legal officer in the Supreme Court. You said that, when the judges meet for their discussions, everything goes on in both languages. In your experience, and so that we understand clearly, if someone comes to the Supreme Court and presents a brief in French when there is a unilingual anglophone judge—because there have been some in the past, even during the years when you were there—there is no translation—
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-05-30 12:28
So they cannot ask the translation service to translate the brief for them?
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