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Quebec court says it can hear challenge to governor general’s lack of French

MONTREAL — The Quebec Superior Court has ruled that it can hear a challenge to the appointment of Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, who isn’t fluent in French.

Several groups are seeking to have Simon’s appointment declared null and void because they say the governor general is constitutionally required to communicate in both official languages.

The attorney general of Canada had argued that only the Federal Court could hear the case.

But Justice Catherine Piché said in her June ruling that the appointment of the governor general doesn’t fall within one of the specific circumstances that would require the case be heard by the Federal Court.

François Boulianne, the lawyer for the groups challenging Simon’s appointment, says he expects the case to return to court in the fall.

Justice pour le Québec, which is taking part in the case, says it will pursue the challenge despite the death in May of its president, Frédéric Bastien, a historian and former Parti Québécois leadership candidate.

“The issue is the principle, it’s not Mary Simon herself, it’s respect for the Constitution,” Boulianne said in an interview.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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