28 September 2015

#58 Badmouthing the Chief Justice

Beverly McLachlin was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1989 and was named Chief Justice of the court by then Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2000. She is the longest-serving Chief Justice of this court and not given to slips of protocol.

Curious, then, that the outgoing Prime Minister, following a series of defeats of his government’s legislation before the court and swirling speculation about the eligibility of Marc Nadon (previous article), decided to publicly accuse her of trying to interfere in the process of nomination of a judge.

Now, as pointed out before, the Canadian process of judicial nomination has not been particularly political in the past, and there is a list of people and organizations who are generally consulted before a nomination is announced. This list includes the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly the Chief Justice. Chief Justice McLachlin maintains that she called to signal the possible ineligibility of the prospective nominee, which would fit into her role. Commentators seem to be in general agreement with that.

Who can say what fit of pique made the Prime Minister lash out publicly in this manner, but he ended up in the wrong (again), having wasted a bunch more time and money (ours) in the process of trying to prove himself right. Will it ever end?

Further reading here

A helpful phone call
transforms to interference
in the callee’s mind

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