Welcoming remarks

It is with great excitement that we are launching, on this 7 April 2016, the National Observatory on Language Rights, a first in the history of Quebec.

While few remain doubtful as to the complex, dynamic and nuanced nature of the legal linguistic reality – the Tower of Babel is the picture coming to mind here – the mission of the Observatory is to democratize scientific knowledge and other data pertaining to the field.

Mainly dedicated to political and legal issues concerning official language minorities in Canada, the Observatory is particularly interested in the situation of the Francophone minorities outside Quebec, as well as the link between the evolution of French in Quebec and the protection of traditional rights of the province’s Anglophone minority.

In parallel, a particular attention shall be given to the Aboriginal situation, from coast to coast. Lastly, there will be an attention given to issues specific to foreign jurisdictions exhibiting similar concerns in terms of language protection. In this regards, academics from Catalonia, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and Russia have already confirmed their participation as foreign correspondents, which in turn will undoubtedly boast the international outreach of the Observatory.

Our technological platform, homed at the Université de Montréal's "Centre de recherche en droit public" (a.k.a. "CRDP"), has make it easy to dissemination all the information and data gathered by student researchers, who have compiled all the material legislation, case law and doctrinal works. The intended media monitoring and blog activities will constitute the cornerstone to a dialogue among the Observatory, the broader academic world and indeed civil society.

Finally, we wish to thank two jurists whose reputations are in a ligue of their own. First, the Honourable Michel Bastarache, guest of honor at the launch of the Observatory and most certainly the greatest ambassador of language rights in Canada. Sir, your support is invaluable to us. Second, the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal, Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, for his assistance in this project going way beyond the call of duty. May the Observatory exceed all our expectations, today and tomorrow.


Frédéric Bérard and Stéphane Beaulac

National Observatory on Language Rights

This content has been updated on 19 April 2016 at 14 h 49 min.