SCC Selection Process and the Question of Bilingualism for Indigenous People

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The government’s new Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) selection process should take into consideration that indigenous candidates are bilingual but the languages might not always be French and English, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“Instead, they may speak French and Cree or English and Mohawk or any other First Nation language — and that should still be recognized,” she tells the online legal news service.

Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, says requiring all candidates to be fluent in French and English would exclude many indigenous judges from that top appointment because they’re not bilingual in both of the official languages but speak two other languages.

“I support the notion of bilingualism for judges totally, but I think bilingualism for First Nations candidates may not be English and French,” she says.

Deliscar, who speaks and practises law in English, French and Spanish, agrees with Sen. Murray Sinclair, former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who told the Canadian Press that requiring indigenous candidates to be “functionally bilingual” in both English and French creates unfair barriers for them.

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