Gilles Caron, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, et al.
(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)
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Constitutional law - Language guarantees - Right to publication - Scope of Rupert’s Land and North-Western Territory Order, June 23, 1870, R.S.C. 1985, App. II, No. 9 - Appellants charged with offences under Traffic Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. T-6, Alberta statute enacted in English only - At trial, appellants arguing that Traffic Safety Act unconstitutional because it not enacted in English and in French - At conclusion of trial, Alberta Provincial Court judge ruling in appellants’ favour and declaring that 1870 Order imposed obligation on Legislative Assembly of Alberta to enact legislation in English and in French - That decision set aside by Court of Queen’s Bench in judgment that subsequently affirmed by Court of Appeal - Whether Languages Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. L-6, is ultra vires or inoperative insofar as it abrogates constitutional duty owed by Alberta to enact, print and publish its laws and regulations in English and in French in accordance, inter alia, with 1870 Order - If answer to question 1 is affirmative, whether Traffic Safety Act and any other laws and regulations that have not been enacted, printed and published in French are inoperative.
The appellant Pierre Boutet was charged with an offence under the Traffic Safety Act, an Alberta statute enacted in English only. At trial, he argued that the Act was unconstitutional because it had not been enacted in English and in French. Mr. Boutet’s case was joined to that of Gilles Caron, which raised the same issues. At the conclusion of a trial lasting nearly 90 days, Judge Wenden of the Alberta Provincial Court ruled in favour of Mr. Boutet and Mr. Caron and declared that the Royal Proclamation of 1869 and the 1870 Order imposed an obligation on the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to enact legislation in English and in French. That decision was set aside by the Court of Queen’s Bench in a judgment that was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
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