EDMONTON, NOVEMBER 20, 2015 – It is with tremendous disappointment that l’ACFA learned of the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment in the Caron-Boutet Case. « It is a sad day for us. We consider ourselves full citizens of Canada – it is therefore difficult to accept that because we live in Alberta, our historical linguistic rights are not recognized, » said Jean Johnson, President of l’ACFA.
This judgment confirms that the Province of Alberta is required to pass all its legislation in English only and that the Alberta Languages Act, passed in 1988 and which imposed unilingualism, is constitutionally valid.
It is important and essential for l’ACFA that a sincere conversation between the association representing francophones and the Government of Alberta be quickly held. « After the judgment’s release this morning, I had the occasion to speak with the Minister responsible for the Secrétariat francophone de l’Alberta, the Honourable David Eggen. He reiterated his commitment to building a strong relationship with Alberta’s francophonie. » said Mr. Johnson.
The francophone population of Alberta is dispersed everywhere in Alberta and is constantly growing especially due to interprovincial migration, immigration and French educational programs. It is therefore essential to meet its needs by increasing services in French. L’ACFA’s role is to represent the collective interests of the francophone community of Alberta and to continue to work with the Government of Alberta towards that objective. We wish to contribute to a stronger Alberta, a province that is inclusive and holds a choice position within the Canadian confederation, » concludes Jean Johnson.
L’ACFA sincerely wishes to congratulate and thank the two citizens of Alberta, Gilles Caron and Pierre Boutet, as well as all the witnesses, expert witnesses, lawyers and other persons involved in this case who demonstrated profound determination and exemplary commitment for nearly a decade, standing up for the full respect of our linguistic rights.
Let’s recall that the Caron-Boutet Case requested the Court to decide on the constitutional status of the French language in all legislation; today’s judgment affects Alberta, Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions. L’ACFA had been granted the status of intervenor five times in this case in order to represent the global interests of the francophone community of Alberta. Founded in 1926, the ACFA (French Canadian Association of Alberta) is the official voice of the Alberta’s French-speaking society and is committed to ensure its continued development.
For more information on the appendixes, please visit the ACFA website.
APPENDIX 1 : Alberta’s Francophones APPENDIX
2 : The Constitution of Canada and the Official Status of French in Alberta APPENDIX
3 : Today’s francophonie in Alberta APPENDIX 4 : Elsewhere in Canada
For general information: Cynthia Huard, Public Affairs Assistant
T 780.466.1680 x. 204