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Unilingual Lieutenant-Governor in New Brunswick: Ottawa appeals

The federal government is appealing the decision of a New Brunswick judge who concluded last month that the appointment of a unilingual Anglophone to the post of lieutenant-governor of the province was unconstitutional.

In its motion, obtained by The Canadian Press, Ottawa argues that the appointment power of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick contains “no bilingualism requirement” and that neither the Constitution nor the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can subject to such a requirement.

The Trudeau government also defends that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires the bilingualism of institutions rather than individuals, which means that the appointment of Brenda Murphy, who took office in September 2019, was not unconstitutional. .

In her decision handed down on April 14, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, Tracey K. DeWare, ruled that the “Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick must be bilingual and capable of performing all the tasks required of his role in English and French”.

However, she had not demanded the cancellation of Ms. Murphy’s appointment, since a constitutional and legislative crisis could have ensued.

It was the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick which, in 2019, applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick annulled, since it did not control , at the time of his appointment, French, one of the two official languages ​​of this province.