Appointment to the Supreme Court: Only one woman candidate

They were 12 candidates for a seat of Quebec judge at the Supreme Court of Canada and there was only one woman among them.
C ‘is what former Prime Minister Kim Campbell regretted Thursday morning, while a parliamentary committee was looking at the candidate for the position.

Ms. Campbell headed the committee that reviewed the nominations.

Judge Nicholas Kasirer will occupy one of the three seats reserved for Quebec judges at the Supreme Court.

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti shares Campbell’s concern.

“Yes, that worries me and we’ll work for next time,” the minister promised in a scrum as he emerged from the committee meeting.

During the meeting, the minister praised the qualities of the new judge.

“Judge Kasirer is an anglophone, but he speaks French perfectly,” he said.

Passenger Bilingualism?

Asked why he does not make functional bilingualism a formal criterion for one of the seats on the Supreme Court of Canada, Minister Lametti said he wanted to leave “room for maneuver”.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea to formalize this,” he first said in response to a question at the committee meeting.

“The court may have other needs at some point, such as appointing an Aboriginal person. We may have to dilute this requirement at some point, “he said, adding that he prefers not to have to worry about the” constitutionality “of a requirement of bilingualism for the judges of the highest court in Canada. country.

Then, in front of the journalists, he sought to clarify his thought.

“These are difficult questions and I would not like to open the door,” he said.

In the coming months, the Supreme Court will lose two Ontario judges who are nearing retirement age. And Aboriginal candidates could be candidates even if they do not speak French, do we understand the minister’s comments.

“Anyone can apply,” said the Minister, recalling that the functional bilingualism criterion is in place, but that it is not a legal requirement.

“It’s like the government. We are talking about good principles, but we have trouble making them concrete, “Bloc Quebecois MP Gabriel Ste-Marie was quick to criticize.

The next Quebec judge appeared at another meeting of parliamentarians in the afternoon, where he preferred not to commit himself to either the bilingualism of the judges or the lack of candidates.

Judge Kasirer had to answer questions from members of Parliament and senators.

“It’s up to the government to measure the institutional needs of the Supreme Court,” he first replied to MP Ste-Marie, who was questioning him on the need for bilingual judges. “You will excuse me not to enter this field anyway a little undermined,” he offered while smiling.

Kasirer J. also did not want to share his thoughts on the scarcity of women candidates for the position he obtained.

“It’s hard for a candidate to comment on the nomination process,” he told NDP MP Hélène Laverdière. “I make the same observation as you, but I have nothing to add (…) from the perspective of the candidate,” he noted.

Nicholas Kasirer, who has served on the Quebec Court of Appeal for ten years, is an expert in civil law. He was a law professor for 20 years at McGill University, where he was also dean at the Faculty of Law.

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