Canadians for Language Fairness and the City of Ottawa - Affidavit of Dyane Adam

Court File No. 04-CV-028924





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I, DYANE ADAM, of the City of Ottawa in the province of Ontario, MAKE OATH AND SAY AS FOLLOWS:

  1. I have held the position of Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada (hereinafter the "Commissioner") in accordance with the provisions of the Official Languages Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.31 (4th Supp.) (hereinafter the "OLA") since August 1999.

  2. I am a Franco Ontarian originally from the village of Casselman, Ontario. I was born and raised as a member of the French language minority of Ontario and thus have first-hand knowledge of the challenges that face the official language minority of this province on a day-to-day basis.

  3. Prior to being appointed to the position of Commissioner, I was a practicing clinical psychologist, a university psychology professor, Assistant Vice-President of Laurentian University, French Programs and Services as well as Principal of Glendon College, a bilingual faculty of York University in Toronto. Attached hereto, as Exhibit A, to my affidavit is my complete biographical profile.

  4. In my capacity as Commissioner, I have personal knowledge of the facts hereinafter set out, except for those facts for which I have stated a source and that I believe to be true.

    My Duties and Functions under the Official Languages Act

  5. Parliament has set out my mandate at sections 55 et seq. of the OLA and I exercise the powers granted to me by that Act. Attached hereto as Exhibit B, to my affidavit is the text of the OLA.

  6. Under subsection 56(1) of the OLA, it is my duty to "take all actions and measures within [my] authority ... with a view to ensuring recognition of the status of each of the official languages and compliance with the spirit and intent of this Act in the administration of the affairs of federal institutions, including any of their activities relating to the advancement of English and French in Canadian society".

  7. In performing my duties and functions, I am required to have regard to the purpose of the OLA as set out at section 2, which is, in part, to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities and generally advance the equality of status and use of the English and French languages within Canadian society. Accordingly, one of the roles of my office is to monitor the advancement of English and French in Canadian society.

  8. I am therefore very concerned about any question relating to the recognition of the status of both official languages, the promotion of English and French within Canadian society, and respect for the language rights set out in the OLA and in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) 1982, c. 11 (hereinafter "the Charter").

    My position in support of the City's offer of bilingual services

  9. The linguistic duality of the City of Ottawa has been a longstanding concern of successive Commissioners of Official Languages of Canada. This longstanding concern is revealed in the Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Official Languages wherein the bilingualism of the city of Ottawa, and the issue of municipal bilingualism more generally, is discussed. Attached hereto, as Exhibits C to L, are excerpts of annual reports of Commissioners Keith Spicer for the year 1970-1971 (pp.7-8, as Exhibit C), D'Iberville Fortier for the years 1984 (pp.74-77, as Exhibit D), 1985 (p.16, as Exhibit E), 1988 (pp.54-57, as Exhibit F), 1989 (p. 23 and p. 196, as Exhibit G) and 1990 (p. XXV and pp. 217-218, as Exhibit H) and Victor Goldbloom for the years 1991 (pp.129-130, as Exhibit I), 1992 (pp.109-110, as Exhibit J), 1995 (p. 78, as Exhibit K) and 1997 (p.19, as Exhibit L).

  10. 10. Prior to and following the amalgamation of the cities that now make up the City of Ottawa, I communicated to representatives of the newly amalgamated city, to the Special Advisor on the Restructuring of Ottawa-Carleton Glen Shortliffe, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, to the media and to various members of the provincial and federal governments, my belief in the importance of the City of Ottawa adopting a bilingualism policy that recognizes that English and French have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in institutions of the City by all members of the public served by it. Attached hereto as Exhibits M to SS, to my affidavit are copies of letters written by me to Hon. Tony Clement [Exhibits M, N and O], Hon. Sheila Copps [Exhibits P, Q and R], Hon. Stéphane Dion [Exhibits S, T and U], Hon. Mike Harris [Exhibits V and W], Hon. John Baird [Exhibits X, Y, Z and AA], Right Hon. Jean Chrétien [Exhibit BB], Mr. Marcel Beaudry [Exhibit CC], Mr. Claude Bennett [Exhibit DD], the editor of Le Droit [Exhibits EE and FF], the editor of the Ottawa Sun [Exhibits GG and HH], the editor of the Ottawa Citizen [Exhibits II and JJ], Ms. Camille Guilbault [Exhibit KK], Hon. Chris Hodgson [Exhibits LL, MM and NN], His Worship Robert Chiarelli [Exhibits OO, PP, QQ and RR ], Mr. Bernard Grandmaître [Exhibit SS] and Mr. Glen Shortliffe [see attachment to letters at Exhibits M, P and S].

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  11. In the fall of 1999, I communicated to Mr. Shortliffe, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and to various members of the provincial and federal governments, the deep concern that various communities, French-speaking and otherwise, had shared with me with regards to the linguistic status of the national capital. Examples of such letters are reproduced at Exhibits Q, T, X, BB, CC, NN and QQ to my affidavit.

  12. 12. I have expressed, in every annual report I have submitted to Parliament, my longstanding belief in the importance that Canada's linguistic duality be reflected at the municipal level in the nation's capital. Attached hereto as Exhibits TT to XX, to my affidavit are relevant excerpts of my annual reports for the years 1999-2000 (p.12 and pp.23-24, as Exhibit TT), 2000-2001 (pp.47-48, as Exhibit UU), 2001-2002 (p. 83 and p. 93, as Exhibit VV), 2002-2003 (p. 115, as Exhibit WW) and 2003-2004 (p. 74 as Exhibit XX).

    Role of Ottawa as the national capital

  13. Section 16 of The Constitution Act, 1867 establishes Ottawa's role as the capital of Canada. Attached hereto as Exhibit YY, to my affidavit is the text of s.16 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

  14. I share the opinion of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism that concluded that Ottawa, as the national capital, plays a central role in the collective vision of Canadians. The report of the Royal Commission devoted an entire volume to the subject of the National Capital. Attached hereto as Exhibit ZZ to my affidavit are relevant excerpts of Volumes 1 and 5 of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.

  15. Ottawa, as the nation's capital, serves as a symbol of Canadian identity, for both English and French-speaking Canadians, regardless of their province or territory of residence.

  16. During the course of my mandate, I have had the opportunity to travel quite extensively across the country and I have observed that Canadians, both English and French-speaking, have a strong attachment to and identify with the City of Ottawa. More precisely, the linguistic status of the City of Ottawa and its policies is a question of national interest.

  17. The City of Ottawa is the location of a large number of institutions that are very important symbols for millions of people across the country. As the national capital, it houses the Parliament Buildings, Rideau Hall, the Supreme Court of Canada, many national monuments and memorials as well as many national museums filled with rich treasures. It is for this reason, among others, that the City of Ottawa forms an integral part of the Canadian identity.

  18. The City of Ottawa, by the recognition is affords to the presence of the English and French linguistic communities of Canada whose contributions to society are equally respected, serves as a powerful symbol to all Canadians of the bilingual status of the country.

  19. The principle of linguistic duality should be a guiding force for all levels of government: federal, provincial and municipal. The City of Ottawa, in adopting a policy regarding the use of English and French, not only took into account its role as our nation's capital but was also guided by the principle of linguistic duality, which it incorporated into its policy by recognizing the equality of the rights and privileges of the two official language communities it serves. In fact, as the national capital, it was to be expected that Ottawa should set the example in terms of linguistic duality by adopting a municipal policy regarding the use of the English and French languages in the services it offers.

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  20. As stated by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the national capital, as a symbol of a bilingual country, should not reflect the dominance of one language over another. The English and French languages should have full equality of status and all services and facilities of the city should be made available in both official languages.

  21. Offering services in both official languages has little to do with the recipient's ability to understand the other official language. Rather, it is a question of respect and recognition of the contribution each linguistic group has made to Canada as a whole.

  22. The 2001 census reveals that approximately one Ottawa resident out of six has French as his or her mother tongue. Moreover, those statistics reveal that more than one third of the city's population speaks both English and French, and that proportion is even higher among our young people. Hence, Ottawa is bilingual in a statistical and sociological sense and I firmly believe that this should be reflected in the city's by-laws and policies.

  23. Ottawa is the capital of all Canadians, both English-speaking and French-speaking. When visiting their capital, all Canadians should receive municipal services in the official language of their choice.

  24. Just as an English-speaking Canadian moving to his or her nation's capital expects to receive municipal services in his/her language, it is equally reasonable for a French-speaking Canadian moving to the capital of his/her bilingual nation to expect to benefit from access to municipal services in his or her official language.

  25. The City of Ottawa, as the nation's capital and as a symbol of the nation as a whole, must – in its administration and the offer of its services – be driven by the principles of equality of status and use of the English and French languages, as set out at section 16(3) of the Charter. Attached hereto as Exhibit AAA, to my affidavit is the text of s.16(3) of the Charter.

  26. As the national capital of a country that entrenched the principle of equality of English and French in the Charter, the City of Ottawa should take that principle into account in all of its dealings, much as the federal and provincial governments are required to do. Given that the City of Ottawa, as a national capital, often has frequent and direct interactions with Canadians (be they residents of the City or visitors), the City is well positioned to play an effective symbolic role with regards to the respect and equality of status and use of the English and French languages.

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    Ottawa on the international scene

  27. As the nation's capital, the City of Ottawa serves as an important symbol for Canada's image abroad.

  28. On the international scene, it is apparent to me that linguistic duality is a defining characteristic of Canada's identity. I have often expressed my opinion that having a policy that recognizes the need to offer services in English and French in the national capital is consistent with Canada's promotion of its linguistic duality on the international scene.

  29. Ottawa is a point of entry for immigrants arriving to Canada. Given the fact that Canada promotes itself abroad by placing much emphasis on the fact that Canada is officially bilingual, it would be incongruous for French-speaking immigrants arriving to Canada to be unable to receive, in the nation's capital, essential municipal services in both of the official languages of the country.

  30. Our reputation as a welcoming society open to diversity is due, in large part, to the way we have supported and managed our linguistic differences. The national capital of this country must reflect the notion of tolerance, understanding, acceptance and solidarity that the nation advances on the world stage.

  31. Not only is Ottawa a point of entry for immigrants to Canada but the City of Ottawa attracts a high number of foreign tourists every year primarily due to its status as the nation's capital and due to the federal institutions it houses. For thousands of visitors, Ottawa represents Canada as a whole. Foreign visitors to the capital should be aware that the City reflects the linguistic duality of the country and should see reflected in the City, the values of the nation as a whole.

  32. I make this affidavit for the sole purpose of the above-mentioned proceeding and for no other or improper purpose.


Dyane Adam

in the City of Ottawa,
this day of January 2005


Commissioner of oaths

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