Alberta appeals decision over French traffic ticket


Praxius
#1


http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...725?hub=Canada

Quote:

EDMONTON -- The Alberta government is appealing a court decision that threw out a traffic ticket against a francophone trucker because it was written only in English.

But it's really a legal fight to ensure that all French-speaking Canadians can get government services in that language, says the man's defence lawyer.

"Rather than spend many years in court, we would like the government to recognize the constitutional rights of the francophone community of Alberta, and the rights of all French speakers in Alberta," Rupert Baudais said Thursday in an interview from his law office in Regina.

Provincial court Judge Leo Wenden ruled earlier this month that the ticket issued in 2003 to Gilles Caron wasn't valid because it wasn't printed in French.

"It really never was about a traffic ticket specifically. It's about raising the constitutional validity of Alberta's language law, which makes English the only official language in the province," Baudais said.

Similar cases have been fought over traffic tickets in Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba, he said.

Alberta Justice is mounting the appeal, seeking to clarify whether the province's Languages Act and Traffic Safety Act must be written in both languages.

A Supreme Court decision in 1988 ruled that the provinces have the power to determine their own language rights legislation.

"The issue to us in this case is that the judge's decision seems to suggest that Alberta's laws, as they are written in English, are invalid," said David Dear, a spokesman for Alberta Justice. "Our argument has been that the Supreme Court has already ruled on that matter and, in fact, our laws as they are in English, are valid."

Under the North-West Territories Act of the 1870s, both the English and French languages had equal standing under the law, he said.

But because of the Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s, provinces had the right to repeal that act, and that's what Alberta did, Dear said.

But Baudais said the Alberta government, and all other provincial governments, are obligated to honour the commitment to ensure language rights, which he said were guaranteed when the responsibility for the northern territories was transferred to Canada by the United Kingdom in the 1800s.

"I think this has to go to the Supreme Court because it's obvious the government will not voluntarily correct this situation," Baudais said.

The Alberta government adopted a law in 1988 which, in essence, abolished French language rights, Baudais said.

"Without that, there can not be any French language services rendered by government agencies or departments. So it takes that foundation in order to have French language services from the government in areas which really matter to citizens," he said.

While Dear said the legal case may have specifically centred around Caron, he suggested the provincial government was concerned about the message the ruling might send.

A 90-day stay on the original court decision remains in place and Alberta's traffic rules will continue to be enforced.

"As we said in applying for our stay of Judge Wenden's decision, it's to no one's advantage, not to the legal system's advantage, nor the Alberta public's advantage, to have a person to whom some of the laws would no longer apply," Dear said.

Dear argues that provisions have been made to provide court services in French to people who don't speak English, including hiring interpreters and providing French-speaking prosecutors and judges for trials.

No date has been set for the appeal in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench, though Baudais said he's been told by the Crown that it must be heard within the next 120 days.

While Baudais said the case should go to the Supreme Court, he also admitted that Caron may not have the financial resources to take it that far.

Geez... can't help that the officer who wrote the ticket in Alberta only spoke and written in english.... was he supposed to just suddenly know how to speak french after probably never having to use it for years past?

I don't see the big deal, if I went to Quebec and I got a ticket written in french.... that wouldn't suprise me.... but I'm not that incompetent that I can't translate the ticket or seek english translation or english legal council to deal with the matter.... nor would I be so damn petty to disregard the ticket because it's not in my favored language.

You got people bitching about the rights of french speaking people..... well what about the English speaking people in which you are interacting with when you enter their provience or other country? Do you expect to have everybody on bended knees to suit your language issues? What about your own obligations to their languages when you are in their area?

What's next? People who speak Korean or Arabic now can exclude tickets that are written in english and are not in their own preferred language?

Am I supposed to suddenly learn Gaelic when I head to Cape Breton....... just in case?
 
karrie
#2
Arab, Korean, and Gaelic aren't in our official languages act Prax, so, I don't really get why you'd bring them up. The Official Languages Act states that all Canadians have a right to access government in their preferred language. Is a traffic ticket 'government'? (and I'm talking the actual form, not the little bit an officer fills in)

It seems to me it does definitely count. I know Alberta doesn't like to recognize their French populations (to such an extent that hubby hides the fact he's French when he's working... how sad is that?), but, there are HUGE French communities here.
 
Praxius
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

Arab, Korean, and Gaelic aren't in our official languages act Prax, so, I don't really get why you'd bring them up.

And french apparently isn't in Alberta's act:

A Supreme Court decision in 1988 ruled that the provinces have the power to determine their own language rights legislation.
So language rights don't hold any place as it would seem, so being french or Korean or anything else wouldn't matter.... if they want their legislation all in English, apparently based on the above, they can.

Quote:

The Official Languages Act states that all Canadians have a right to access government in their preferred language. Is a traffic ticket 'government'? (and I'm talking the actual form, not the little bit an officer fills in)

First, you said they have the right to access the government in their preferred language, which covers my Korean, Gaelic, etc. examples, as you didn't state "Access the Government in Both Official Languages." Just "Preferred Language"

Secondly, are you talking about federal or proviencial government? I can see federal having to follow the above, but if the supreme court of Canada said each provience is allowed to determine their own language rights.... such as how Quebec uses it to its extent to make French the primary language, they have their own laws where advertisement has to be in french and english (Or at least just in french), where it's almost next to impossible for most people to get a decent job unless they speak french.... and speak good french I might add........ Where's the fight against all that descrimination against English only speaking people or any other language for that matter?

I already know that people going to Quebec who speak only english and get into legal troubles can access people to help them with translations, etc.... and french people can do the exact same thing outside of Quebec. This person who got the ticket wasn't accessing the government, the government was accessing them by issuing the ticket.... they don't know if the person they are pulling over is french, english or from mars.... they have a book of tickets which is all in english, because the majority of whom they pull over is english in their area.

The person in question can still get the situation explained to them after the fact and dispute the ticket in a court of law, but just because it was in a different language then what they prefer, that doesn't invalidate the ticket or offense and give him a free ride out of troubles.

All I see is hypocracy and some arsehole trying to weasle their way out of a ticket due to a claim they can't read english.

Quote:

It seems to me it does definitely count. I know Alberta doesn't like to recognize their French populations (to such an extent that hubby hides the fact he's French when he's working... how sad is that?), but, there are HUGE French communities here.

And there's plenty of french in the Acadian areas of Nova Scotia, some in Cape Breton... all our street signs, highway markers, stores, everything is in English. In areas where the french communities are larger, the signs are in both French and English. If someone gets an english speaking police officer pulling them over and they speak a different language, they can seek assistence from an interpreter, like you can all across the country..... but if you don't ask for one, that doesn't give you a get-out-of-jail card later on when you goto the media and say you got your fine or ticket in a different language then you speak.

That's just a blaitent loophole scam... and if they're going to uphold that sort of behavior, then you bet your arse I'll be milking the hell out of the system in the exact same way when it occurs to me.
 
Lester
#4
I had a couple of French guys on my crew once, and I asked them why they weren't at their assigned tasks they would always reply "par le par englais" while shrugging their shoulders and giving me a puzzled look, after a couple of times catching them doing nothing I said " no work... No Check" they understood that well enough.
 
Praxius
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Lester View Post

I had a couple of French guys on my crew once, and I asked them why they weren't at their assigned tasks they would always reply "par le par englais" while shrugging their shoulders and giving me a puzzled look, after a couple of times catching them doing nothing I said " no work... No Check" they understood that well enough.

Yeah, if they can't speak the language, wtf did they move there? I have no issues with people trying to protect their language or herritage, etc.... but it's people like this who abuse the system so they can get away with something they normally wouldn't that really piss me off.

I can't speak enough french to save my life (I can speak a little bit) which is why I don't visit Quebec.... which is also why I don't go there to fight their laws.... it's their provience, it's their way of life.... just as Alberta has their own laws and their own way of life. You can't ignore the laws you broke in another provience just because the law enforcement didn't accomidate all your petty needs.

Speeding in an English majority area is still the same as Speeding in a French majority area.... Shooting someone in Alberta is the same as in Quebec or here where I live.... just because you got issued a ticket or arrested by someone who can't accomidate your language right then and there, doesn't mean what you did is disqualified.
 
dj03
#6
This ruling will be overturned, the only language used by the Government of Alberta is english, an Act was passed back in the 80's saying so, the Supreme Court already has a precedent and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms only protects bilingual language rights on a provincial level in New Brunswick.

If you are passing through Calgary this summer, be advised, the whole city is under construction and radar traps are everywhere...but they haven't caught me yet!!
 
justfred
#7
We should hope that the dumb french truck driver, along with the equally dumb lawyer will pay for the case to go to the Supreme Court of Canada. I think that after they have spent about $10,000 taking it to the Supreme Court, maybe, just maybe they will realize that $50. is less, not more than $10,000. But we have to realize that we are dealing with a dumb truck driver and an equally or dumber lawyer.
 
scratch
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Praxius View Post

Yeah, if they can't speak the language, wtf did they move there? I have no issues with people trying to protect their language or herritage, etc.... but it's people like this who abuse the system so they can get away with something they normally wouldn't that really piss me off.

I can't speak enough french to save my life (I can speak a little bit) which is why I don't visit Quebec.... which is also why I don't go there to fight their laws.... it's their provience, it's their way of life.... just as Alberta has their own laws and their own way of life. You can't ignore the laws you broke in another provience just because the law enforcement didn't accomidate all your petty needs.

Speeding in an English majority area is still the same as Speeding in a French majority area.... Shooting someone in Alberta is the same as in Quebec or here where I live.... just because you got issued a ticket or arrested by someone who can't accomidate your language right then and there, doesn't mean what you did is disqualified.

Right on the money, Prax!
 

Similar Threads

0