in the cultural war advised by liberal hack frank graves. Tasha has some advice for out of touch iffy. The grits really are the party of national disunity.
A little French? Hmm. As someone who studied and practiced law in both French and English, I can tell Mr. Ignatieff that “a little French” won’t cut it if the goal is to be able to listen to a complex legal argument, read a factum, and ask intelligent questions in the language of Molière.
But his other comments are even more bizarre. Just because place names are French doesn’t mean current residents are (ever been to Louisiana sir?). And invoking the old Reform slogan “The West wants in” is not only condescending, but so 1980’s, it belongs in one of those “Forever Young” Diet Pepsi ads. Sorry Mr. Ignatieff, but the West is in the Supreme Court – the Chief Justice hails from Alberta, in case you didn’t notice.
Requiring all Supreme Court justices to be fluently bilingual (because that it what they would have to be, to tackle French pleadings without interpreters) is a bad idea. It would greatly limit the talent pool for our highest court, while not helping to decide more Quebec cases, either. There is a reason Quebec already has one third of the places on the court – so it can ensure that cases which involve matters of civil law are properly decided. It’s not just a question of a second language, but a second legal system. A western judge who speaks French but has only a common-law background would be just as disadvantaged hearing a matter from Quebec as if he or she was unilingual.