CFN – Human rights activist Howard Galgalnov advised Cornwall Free News that he’s been informed that at 10 AM on Thursday, December 6th, the Supreme Court will announce via EMAIL whether they will or will not give LEAVE to hear the case that he and Jean Serge Brisson are presenting. The two are asking the court to uphold their Charter Freedom of Expression, that a Superior Court judge ruled could legally be trampled on. They’re asking the court to respect all Canadians’ right to post commercial signs in any language of their choosing, rather than allowing individual municipalities, like Russell Township, to impose a form of forced bilingualism.
Viewers may be interested to know that Canadians for Language Fairness spokesperson Beth Trudeau reports that one or more Russell Township Francophone businesses have apparently found a way around the bylaw by claiming that, since they’re funded with tax dollars BECAUSE they’re a Francophone group, they are exempt. In other words, Anglophones must abide by imposed bilingualism, but some French businesses do not.
The following is from Galganov’s press release.
The three Judges who will make that decision are:
Justice Michael Moldaver is a Conservative appointee of Steven Harper, originally from Peterborough who came under considerable criticism from French Activists because he cannot speak French. What is not in our favor, is that he does not like overturning legislation. But, at the same time, he is a strict Constitutionalist who does not favor people who play fast and loose with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Justice Marshall Rothstein is from Winnipeg, who was also appointed be Steven Harper. And like Moldaver, he cannot speak French, and was pilloried in the press (English and French) and by the NDP for “reneging on a promise to become bilingual”, even though Rothstein says that there never was such a promise.
It is because of Rothstein, French language Activists are demanding that all future Supreme Court appointees be 100% bilingual.
Rothstein’s biography indicates that as a Jurist, he was active with the Manitoba and Canadian Human Rights Commission. That said, if he was appointed by Harper, it is more likely than not that he is a Conservative.
Justice Maurice Fish is from Montreal, who has an extensive and celebrated record in Criminal law. He was appointed to the Supreme Court as one of the last Prime Ministerial Acts by Jean Chretien. He is fluently bilingual and is considered to be fair, very smart and tough-minded.
Here is how the appeal works:
We are asking for three of the rulings to be appealed.
1 – My status of STANDING.
The very good news here, is that in September 2012, the FULL Supreme Court, including the three aforementioned Judges ruled unanimously in an almost identical case as mine concerning STANDING, that people in my position do indeed have standing based upon nearly identical criteria as mine.
But, even before this particular Supreme Court Ruling, our lawyers (Bickley, Gowlings and Reynolds) were 100% convinced that under previous jurisprudence . . . that I indeed had standing.
2 – SECTION 2b . . . Whether the Ontario Municipal Act gave the RIGHT of municipalities to pass bylaws infringing upon Constitutional Rights as part of their authority. We argued that the municipalities have the right to legislate signs in terms of size, position and other physical attributes, but according to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, NOT to dictate the message that goes on the sign or in which language.
All four Judges (Metivier and the three Appeal Court Judges) admitted that Section 2b was indeed violated by Russell’s FORCED Bilingual Sign Law.
Therefore, we contend that forcing one person to use the language of another person in any means, including upon signs is ULTRA VIRES (beyond the jurisdiction) of a municipality, otherwise, where are the limits of Municipalities when it comes to passing bylaws?
3 – Section 1 . . . The four Judges ruled that Jean-Serge Brisson’s RIGHTS were not violated by the Russell Bylaw, even though, as a French Speaking Canadian, his RIGHTS to post a sign ONLY in his language is now ILLEGAL as a result of the Russell law.
The most interesting aspect of this finding by the four Judges, is that even though a Section 1 argument was never really articulated by Casa on behalf of Russell, they favored the Russell Bylaw because it was the right thing to do. Our question is this . . .
What in law justifies their decision that it was the right thing to do?
The way that I understand it . . . if just one of these three issues is accepted by just one of the three Judges, we will get LEAVE from them to hear our FULL Appeal.
I have no idea or feeling that we will be successful or not. So, just like all of you, my fingers are crossed in anticipation. But, whichever way it goes, everyone who has had any hand in making this defense possible should be VERY proud.
Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.