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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

If the Judicial Review Committe is not Broken Why is Harper "Fixing" It?

This is an excerpt from Question Period February 13, 2007 on the appointment of judges by the Harper Conservatives. It is worth a careful read.

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-GrĂ¢ce—Lachine, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, within months of taking office, the Conservatives began stacking the bench with their friends: the former president of their party in Quebec, the Conservative co-chair from New Brunswick, a Conservative fundraiser from Alberta, and on it goes. These appointments were made by the former justice minister until we caught him with his hand in the cookie jar.

Will the new, moderate justice minister do what his predecessor refused to do and stop appointing Conservative Party hacks to judicial positions?

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, there may be some confusion in the hon. member's mind. I should point out to her that all the appointments that have been made by this government have been recommended by the judicial appointments commission that the Liberals set up. Every one of them were recommended by the members that they put on that board. What is their complaint?

HERE IS THE COMPLAINT!
My question is about the answer by the Hon Rob Nicholson on the source of his government’s partisan appointees to the bench. He says:

I should point out to her that all the appointments that have been
made by this government have been recommended by the judicial appointments commission that the Liberals set up. Every on of them were recommended by the members that they put on that board. What is their complaint?”

Here is the complaint Mr. Minister. If the system was working – and by your own admission in the answer above - then why change it? If you could get your preferred appointees recommended anyway, why change the process and compositoin of the judicial appointments committee?

BECAUSE the changes you made will result in ONLY your preferred candidates getting through the review process. You will not have to deal with ignoring or rejecting any other qualified appointment recommendations that do not fit with your ideological agenda.

You have rigged the system sir to predetermine the answers you want, and to ensure you only to receive recommendations for appointments that meet a partisan ideological political agenda. It is disingenuous to suggest this meddling with judicial appointment reviews is about safe communities sir!

It is simply a reprehensible abuse of political power for its own sake. Nothing more. Nothing less

3 comments:

  1. More partisan tactics. Under the LPC, was it a mere coincidence that over 70% of the individuals appointed donated to the party? C'mom, how did only liberal candidates get through the nomination process.

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  2. ken chapman10:06 am

    eric...There is no evidence that ONLY Liberal candidates got through the prior nomination process. I know of lots of non-Liberal lawyers who have made it through the process and some have been appointed too.

    It is a genuine fear that only Cons may get through the revised Harper process though. No proof yet either - only fear and time will tell.

    Do you have authority for the 70% of judicial appointees have donated to the Liberals? What weight do you think ought to be put on that test for disqualification for eligibility for judicial appontment?

    Now only individals can donate to federal political parties with limited total amounts. A good thing for engaging citizens in the political process to my mind.

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  3. "Genuine fear". There was a blog that did a search on Elections Canada, which has the list of donators and the amounts they donated (it's actually really easy to use).

    That's the problem. I don't know of a test. There are thousands of lawyers qualified to be a judge - Cons, Libs, dippers. In fact, one might argue that those lawyers who are eminently qualified do not become judges because of the drastic pay cut.

    Again Ken, I don't agree with what the CPC is doing here. I'm just stating that process is already political. The CPC could have attained the same result they wanted without changing the appointment process, i.e. I'm sure there are many qualifed lawyers who happen to be law and order judges.

    In fact, I like the fact that lawyers who get involved become judges. They volunteer and contribute a lot of time at all levels of the political process.

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