“Invalidating Quebec’s entire statute book would certainly provoke a reaction.”

“Last week, the Quebec and Montreal bar associations dropped a bombshell into the Quebec political and legislative scene with a lawsuit seeking a declaration from the courts that the statutes and laws of Quebec are invalid in their entirety because the process by which they were enacted violates the Canadian Constitution.” [Matthew P. Harrington, Montreal Gazette] The bars “state the problem is the laws are drafted in French and then translated into English only after the fact instead of simultaneously,” despite an interpretation arising from the British North America Act that laws must be enacted simultaneously in both languages. The practice also hands over to the assembly’s translators a degree of discretion over what the law should be that can properly be exercised only by lawmakers themselves. [Canadian Press/Montreal Gazette] Invalidating a province’s laws because of this issue would not be unprecedented, Harrington says: in 1985 the Supreme Court of Canada “found that Manitoba’s unilingual enactment process required that a century’s worth of statutes be declared invalid and that they be re-enacted in both official languages.”


  • “Filed under: Canada” – never more appropriate.

  • How does one say in French, “Hoist on their own petard”?