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The Canadian Bar Association

René Basque

Message from the president

The language of one’s choice: For real access to justice, bilingualism matters

By René Basque June 16, 2017 16 June 2017


As the CBA’s first Acadian president, I am proud to live in a country where bilingualism is a central part of our national identity. As a lawyer, however, I worry about our ability to actually deliver access to justice in both official languages.

The Standing Committee on Official Languages found that hearings conducted in French outside Quebec are generally longer and more expensive. Francophone and bilingual judges must pitch in to hear cases outside their legal districts, leading to delays in dealing with their own files. Limited bilingualism among legal stakeholders from court clerks to police form another barrier to access.

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Message from the president

Justice delayed, justice denied

By René Basque March 15, 2017 15 March 2017

By the time you read this message, I will have travelled from sea to sea to sea visiting our branches. Everywhere I went, I heard our members – particularly those in Alberta and Quebec – express frustration about court delays. The number of judicial vacancies across this country is creating unacceptable delays for clients in both criminal and civil matters.

The court delays have now reached a crisis situation. As I write, there are more than 60 full-time judicial vacancies in Canada. The shortage of judges constitutes a significant attack on access to justice across the country. These delays undermine public confidence in our justice system and have a serious impact on victims, witnesses and accused caught up in the criminal justice system and on individuals, families, children and business trying to access our civil justice system.

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A time to be global

Sharing knowledge helps us all

By René Basque December 7, 2016 7 December 2016

“The best leaders have the ability to do both the urgent things that demand attention today and at the same time lay the groundwork for innovation that will pay dividends for decades.” – Bill Gates

During my first three months as president of the association I travelled to Washington and to London, where I witnessed with great pride the elegies given to the CBA and its role on the global stage. The world is shrinking, making it more important than ever to engage in conversations with those facing similar situations as us, both as individual lawyers and as an association.

The CBA has been recognized by international bar associations for our position at the forefront of discussions about the future of the legal profession; for our efforts in terms of access to justice; and for our international development initiatives. This has convinced me of the importance of keeping up these relationships to share our insight and learn from others.

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President's Message

Exciting times

By René Basque September 27, 2016 27 September 2016

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