Moved and seconded: AGM resolutions

By CBA/ABC National February 15, 201815 February 2018

Moved and seconded: AGM resolutions

 

This may come as a surprise to more than a few lawyers, but there is no official French version of large parts of Canada’s Constitution, not least of which is the Constitution Act of 1867.

This is a problem for a couple of reasons. For starters, section 55 of the Constitution Act, 1982, requires that a fully French version be prepared “as expeditiously as possible.”

At the time of Confederation a version of the BNA Act was prepared in French.  “That text is out there but it has no official status,” Edmonton lawyer Allan Damer told CBA members gathered at the 2018 AGM. 

A fully French version was later tabled in Parliament in 1990, but was never enacted – this at a time when Canadians were suffering from constitutional fatigue in the wake of Meech Lake negotiations.

Also references made to unofficial French versions of the Constitution before the courts will be met with the response that those texts may have persuasive power, but don’t have the force of law. “It’s just incredible that in Canada we have a Constitution that does not represent, in its text, the interests of the francophone community,” said Quebec Board Member Marie Laure Leclercq in supporting a resolution moved by Damer urging the Government of Canada to fulfill its obligations under section 55 to give full force and effect to the entire Constitution in both official languages – 150 years into Confederation.

The resolution passed easily.

Council also easily passed several other resolutions, including one approving as best practices protocol by which multijurisdictional class actions may be coordinated across different Canadian jurisdictions (the protocol would remain at the decision of that court). In supporting the resolution Paul Gagnon of the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal mentioned that lawyers outside of Quebec will have to be mindful of significant reforms under way in his court with respect to class actions, which will have to be certified within 12 months of the start of proceedings.

Another passed resolution, moved by Ottawa lawyer Melanie Bejzyk and seconded by CBA VP Ray Adlington, urges the government of Canada to strengthen dialogue at home and abroad to protect the human rights of LGBTI2S people, including facilitating asylum in Canada.

The resolution on the need for a National Commissioner for Children and Youth to report independently to Parliament, was also adopted nearly unanimously.

Resolutions on solicitor-client privilege and on how to define diversity in the Association’s bylaw were tabled for the next meeting.

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