Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Helecopter Pete" needs to shut his face he ....ed up royally and got "benchwhacked majorly!"

Conservatives defend Justice Marc Nadon

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says Ottawa is proceeding with "a process to name a new member" of the top court. Meanwhile documents reveal the government waieted a month to consult Quebec legal authorities on filling vacant seat.

By Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau Repoerter
Monday, March 24, 2014
Justice Minister Peter MacKay took aim Monday at the timing of the Supreme Court decision on appointee Marc Nadon. "It wasn't this government that decided to table this decision in the middle of a Quebec election," he said. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA—New information reveals the Conservative government waited a month after Morris Fish announced his retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada before it consulted the Quebec attorney general, chief justice and head of the bar association for names to replace him.

The government responded in writing in October to questions submitted by Liberal MP Stéphane Dion, saying it consulted Quebec’s senior legal and judicial figures in late May 2013. Fish announced his retirement on April 22, effective at the end of August last year. The government stated that the Quebec attorney general was consulted on May 27, and the head of the Quebec bar on May 29, while the chief justice of Quebec was consulted on “several occasions in May and June.”

The government said it identified eligible candidates “on the basis of merit and regional representation” and a “number of other factors, including gender.”

More at thestar.com:

“All appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada are made, first and foremost, on the basis of merit and regional representation,” it said.

The government added that the “review and improvement of the appointment process is an ongoing exercise. No specific steps are being contemplated at this time.”

That’s relevant because a process that ended in the appointment of an ineligible judge is now being slammed by the NDP and Liberals as not providing the needed transparency.

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who received separate answers to other questions about the Nadon appointment, said in an interview Thursday it is time to “revisit” the process.

But the Conservative government is still stinging from the Supreme Court of Canada’s rejection of its decision in October to name Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon to the top bench.

On Monday, it defended Nadon and took a swipe at the high court for the timing of its decision.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay dismissed as “nonsense” the criticism by Liberal MP Stéphane Dion that the government had left Quebec under-represented at the Supreme Court and antagonized the province in trying to make “unilateral” changes to its composition.

MacKay then took direct aim at the judges’ timing: “It wasn’t this government that decided to table this decision in the middle of the Quebec election,” MacKay replied.

MacKay said, as the Prime Minister’s Office did Friday, that the government was “genuinely surprised” by the ruling and repeated that it is reviewing its “options.”

Almost as an afterthought, near the end of question period, MacKay offered in French that “it is our intention to proceed with a process to name a new member of the Supreme Court … and we have a lot of people qualified for this position.”

But MacKay did not clarify that answer in English when he left the Commons.

Inside the House, when asked directly to rule out any attempt to reappoint Nadon or to “circumvent” the Supreme Court ruling in some way, MacKay pointedly did not answer. Instead he launched into an ardent defence of Nadon, saying “all parties” agree he is a respected jurist.

University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen said it is surprising that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not been clear, or that he has not instructed his justice minister to declare that “‘We thank the court for its opinion. This has clarified the issue and we’re going to move as fast as possible to fill this seat in a manner that is authorized by law.’

“It absolutely baffles me that that hasn’t happened yet,” said Mathen.

She added that taking potshots at the court over the timing of its ruling is “totally out of bounds.”

“The government asked the court a question in a matter of some urgency. The court rendered its decision. It would actually be improper for the court to take account of the surrounding politics and time its decision. The court should issue its decision when it’s ready … the court has been thrust into this situation by the government’s choices,” said Mathen.


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