SCC Judges Demonstrate (Not)

A number of people in Quebec were annoyed that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a provincial law that prohibited people from getting their kids into English-stream public education by sending them first to an English-language private school. The form of protest was unusual – dressing up as SCC judges and demonstrating in the metro.

false judges demonstrate

If the judges do ride the underground in real life, one suspects they leave their red gowns with ermine flashing at the courthouse.


  1. I think you have mis-characterized the SCC decision in Nguyen v. Quebec. The SCC did not strike down the right to get to public English language education by first going to an English language private school. They struck down the restrictions on the freedom to choose to go to English public school. A consequence of this new freedom is that it is no longer necessary to go to English private school to meet the criteria for access to public English language education.
    However the decision was suspended for a year to give Quebec a chance to come up with form of discrimination which will meet Charter scrutiny.

  2. Some might view the distinction you make as an example of “law office metaphysics” since the result of the decision is that a technique some were using to get their children into the English-language public school system has been close down, at least for now.

  3. You have the right to go to English public school in Quebec if the parents or possibly older siblings have been schooled in English in Canada. So you pop your kid into an English private school for a year then claim the right under that provision. This technique sure struck me as a loophole when I read the decision, and I can understand why the Quebec government adopted the ban on it (unanimously). If your goal is to ensure that immigrants become francophone rather than anglophone in Quebec – a goal that the SCC has accepted as legitimate, so far as I know – then ensuring that the Nguyens and Dases and Bhindras and Ayads and Khans et al (taken from the list of parties to the appeal) can’t buy their way in to English schools seems fair enough to me. These people have come to Canada and would be welcome in any other province, where English public schools would be available to them in the normal course.

  4. Aside from the decision, I love the choice of protest. That style and panache is why my Canada includes Quebec!

  5. If you’re going to dress up in red suits with white ermine lining the week before Christmas, chances are “Supreme Court justice” is not the first thing most people will think of when they see you.

  6. Anachronistically lost float riders from an upcoming Maple Laff Stanley Cup parade?

  7. Anybody can write a slogan on a sign wear a bandana and yell at passer-bys. Protest with style!