Saturday, November 19, 2005

Equalizing access

The Saskatchewan provincial government takes a huge step toward giving some of its most vulnerable citizens the ability to speak for themselves:
The Saskatchewan government says an aboriginal court system will in place by next year in the northwestern half of the province.

Justice Minister Frank Quennell says it will be based in Meadow Lake and will offer services in Dene and Cree.

Quennell says the province is appointing justices of the peace who speak both of those languages, adding that the court will move around from community to community as required.

Just yesterday, the Globe reported about ineffective translation as a barrier to fair access to courts in Ontario. There's no reason why the very institution designed to adjudicate matters fairly should fail to do that job based on language barriers. Accordingly, it's great to see Saskatchewan ahead of the curve in ensuring that the legal system will allow more of its people to be heard in their primary languages.

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