Support access to justice: Appeal against Bill 96 goes to the Supreme Court of Canada

Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides the basis for a just society for all Canadians. However, a just society for all Canadians can never be realized if we allow governments to create unfair barriers that deny justice.

I won a Quebec Human Rights Commission case against atrocities committed by the City of Gatineau's Police in Quebec. But DHC Avocats, a Montreal-based bilingual law firm, decided that during court appearances, they would only address the court in French, and the judge would reply to them only in French.

This allowed both the Judge and DHC Avocats to discuss me and my case without allowing me to defend myself, simply because I couldn't understand what they were saying.

When I issued a complaint against the exclusionary use of language, the judge responded that it was "my responsibility" to hire an interpreter whose costs can make a lawyer’s fees look like pocket change.

This is an atrocity against justice.

In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada declared in 1994 that Canadians in all civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings have the right to a free Court interpreter, but this right was denied by the Quebec Superior Court Judge.

Quebec’s Bill-96 reinforces this discrimination by limiting the use of English language in government settings, including a court of law where all citizens are supposed to be equal.

Instead, thanks to Bill-96, people who are not francophones in Quebec, who cannot afford to hire either a $300/hr plus francophone lawyer or an even more expensive private interpreter, cannot effectively defend their rights through the Quebec court system, no matter how wronged they have been by an unscrupulous entity like the City of Gatineau's police.

By contrast, francophones outside of Quebec, including in Ontario, have a right to a free court interpreter in all criminal, civil and administrative proceedings.

Your GoFundMe contribution will enable me to initiate a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in support of ensuring that anglophones and other Canadians in Quebec have the same rights of a free interpreter in all criminal, civil and administrative-related proceedings as francophones outside of Quebec.

My sought Supreme Court of Canada challenge will expose the fundamental inequity of Bill 96 as a device that does not simply preserve the French language, but instead denies access to justice. The Bill not only violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but also the Quebec Charter, which stipulates that "social condition" is a prohibited ground of discrimination.

The Quebec court system seeks to maintain the position that if you don't have the "social condition" to hire a private interpreter and "you're not one of us," then you have no rights.

We, the supporters of this GoFundMe petition deplore the efforts of the Quebec Courts to deny language minorities access to justice in contrast to francophones outside of Quebec whose constitutional rights have been respected.

We furthermore support the sought appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the Quebec Superior Court decision to perpetrate discrimination against non-francophones.

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