REAL Women of Canada Media Release. May 28, 2014.
It is astonishing to witness the sudden concern about judicial appointments.
The opposition parties and the legal establishment obviously feel threatened by Prime Minister Harper’s prerogative to make judicial appointments. Problems with the judicial appointment process never seemed to bother the politicians or the legal establishment before Mr. Harper’s tenure.
The former federal Liberal party was revealed, during the Gomery hearings in 2005 by Liberal organizer, Benoit Corbell, as having appointed to the Bench eight or ten Quebec lawyers who worked for the federal Liberal party in Quebec during the 2000 federal election. Further, thirteen other Quebec judges, appointed after the 2000 federal election, had donated money exclusively to the federal Liberal party in the years immediately preceding their appointments.
These patronage appointments to the Bench, however, were not limited to the province of Quebec, as a University of Guelph study, conducted in 2007, revealed that 30% of almost 1,000 judges appointed in other provinces from 1988-2003 – the years of Conservative Brian Mulroney and Liberal Jean Chrétien – donated to the party in power in the five years before they secured their jobs.
The judicial appointments made by former Liberal Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler (2004 – 2006), also reveal that a significant number of prominent Liberal politicians and friends were appointed to the Bench during his term of office (Source: Lawyers Weekly, May 20th, 2005).
Michael Brown – former Executive Assistant and Senior Policy Advisor to Mr. Cotler: appointed to the Ontario Superior Court;
Randall Echlin – former General Counsel to the Ontario Liberal party (who also contributed to Allan Rock’s leadership in 2002): appointed to the Ontario Superior Court;
Marsha Colleen Erb – Liberal fundraiser and personal friend of former Liberal Cabinet Minister Anne McLellan: appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench;
John J. Gill – Co-Chair in 2004 of the Alberta federal Liberal Campaign:
appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench;
Vital Ouellette – unsuccessful former Provincial and federal Liberal candidate for 3 elections: appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench;
Bryan Mahoney – unsuccessful federal candidate in Alberta in 2 federal elections: appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench;
Edmond Blanchard – former Liberal Finance Minister in New Brunswick:
appointed to the Federal Court;
Yves de Montigny – former Chief of Staff to Mr. Cotler: appointed to the Federal Court;
Georgette Sheridan – Liberal MP from Saskatoon, defeated in the 1997 federal election: appointed to the Federal Tax Court;
Rosalie Abella – wife of Irving Abella, friend of Mr. Cotler, both former Presidents of the Canadian Jewish Congress: appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Perhaps the judicial appointments by Mr. Harper and the current concern about Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin contacting the government about judicial appointments, have more to do with politics than is being openly acknowledged.
Source: REAL Women of Canada