Round Table on Parliament's Role in the Appointment of Judges

By Marceau, Richard; Macklin, Paul et al. | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Round Table on Parliament's Role in the Appointment of Judges


Marceau, Richard, Macklin, Paul, Toews, Vic, Nystrom, Lorne, Herron, John, Canadian Parliamentary Review


On May 6, 2003, Richard Marceau introduced a Private Members' Business motion to authorize the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to study the process by which judges are appointed to Courts of Appeal and to the Supreme Court of Canada. The following extracts are taken from debate on this motion.

**********

Richard Marceau (Bloc Quebecois): There is an old principle in English common law, that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. The purpose of this principle, the very foundation of our justice system, is to maintain the highest possible level of public confidence in the judiciary. The current process of appointing judges, however, is in direct conflict with this principle, and clouds the image of justice.

There are many examples to support this statement. Last summer, the Prime Minister appointed Justice Michel Robert, who had served on the Quebec Court of Appeal since 1995, to the position of Chief Justice for Quebec. This is a very important position, in Quebec's judicial system.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General announced, on August 8, the appointment of the Marie Deschamps, a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

These two individuals no doubt, enjoy an enviable legal reputation, which therefore surely justifies their appointment to such important positions. However--since justice must be seen to be done--it is reasonable to wonder, as members--and the general public will not hesitate to make its views known--whether their appointment has anything to do with their commitment to the Liberal Party of Canada or their connections to the latter.

These two examples seem to show or at least clearly suggest politicization of the courts. In today's society, this politicization or this appearance of politicization, even a hint of it, can seriously jeopardize the public's respect for the courts and the judiciary.

If we consider the important role of the courts today, particularly given their greater duties, if only due to appeals related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or their involvement in the evolution of various social debates such as same-sex marriage, aboriginal claims and the decriminalization of marijuana, we must avoid at all costs any association between the judiciary and the political arm.

These judges, who are not elected, make decisions which have an increasing impact on the creation of public policy in Canada and sometimes go beyond what Parliament might have wished.

This is an argument of some weight in favour of a review and democratization of the process of appointing judges, which unfortunately some will surely criticize. But we must resist and we must hold this debate. It is very likely that the public will agree that the entire matter needs to be looked into.

I am making a solemn appeal to my colleagues across the way. Let them keep their eyes and ears open and especially let them not jump to a conclusion too hastily. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice with whom I had the opportunity to work on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, will not take a dogmatic stand and will instead agree to a serious study, as we had in connection with same-sex partners, an issue of equal importance for Canada.

I would like to remind him, and all members of the Liberal Party that Mr. Martin, said the following in his speech to the students of the University of Toronto's prestigious Osgoode Hall:

   We should reform the process surrounding government
   appointments. The unfettered powers of appointment
   enjoyed by a prime minister are too great ... Such
   authority must be checked by reasonable scrutiny
   conducted by Parliament in a transparent fashion ... To
   avoid paralysis, the ultimate decision over appointments
   should remain with the government. But a healthy
   opportunity should be afforded for the qualifications of
   candidates to be reviewed, by the appropriate standing
   committee, before final confirmation. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Round Table on Parliament's Role in the Appointment of Judges
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.