The president of the national organization representing Canada’s Francophone and Acadian minority community views as a “fundamental injustice” the fact that once more, a Francophone minority has to go before the highest court in the land to argue for education rights that the Charter already grants. As the Supreme Court hears the case initiated by the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSFCB), Mr. Johnson pointed out that 50 years after the 1969 Official Languages Act, Francophones should not have to rely time and time again on the courts to see that their rights are respected.
The FCFA is particularly appalled by the fact that six provinces and one territory filed interventions in this case to state that the right to French-language schools of equivalent quality simply costs too much. “When are we going to stop treating French like a language of accommodation? When are provinces and territories going to understand that French has been an official language in this country for half a century and is equal in status to English?,” asks Mr. Johnson.
For the FCFA, Francophones having to once more turn to the Supreme Court shows that there is currently a crisis of legitimacy of French as an official language in this country. More than ever, federal political parties currently campaigning across the country need to address this issue.
“Today, I’m calling on federal party leaders. What do you think of the fact that in a courtroom in Winnipeg, Francophone minorities are facing a wall of opposition from six provinces and one territory on an issue as fundamental as access to French-language education? Is that the kind of country we want, a country where rights are respected as long as it’s not too expensive?” says Mr. Johnson.