by The Honourable A. Brian Peckford

August 15, 2023

Did you hear the latest on filling a vacancy on The Supreme Court of Canada ?

The Prime Minister has announced that he is ‘opening up he process . ‘

The Government , Cabinet , appoints an ‘advisory group ‘ to assist in selecting a new Judge for the Court.

‘Composition of the Advisory Board

2 (1) Advisory Board members are appointed during pleasure under paragraph 127.1(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act as special advisers to the Prime Minister.

(2) The Advisory Board is to consist of

(a) three members, at least two of whom are not advocates or barristers in a province or territory, nominated by the Minister of Justice;

(b) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Canadian Bar Association;

(c) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada;

(d) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Indigenous Bar Association;

(e) a retired superior court judge, nominated by the Canadian Judicial Council; and

(f) a legal scholar, nominated by the Council of Canadian Law Deans.

(3) The Governor in Council is to designate one of the members to be the Chairperson of the Advisory Board.’

This is a cozy bunch of lawyers I would think .

The present Chair of this Board is a former Liberal Premier of the Province of Prince Edward Island.

And it is just advisory——


1 The Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments (“Advisory Board”) is an independent and non-partisan body whose mandate is to provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations to the Prime Minister on judicial appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada.’

But should not some public policy people be involved.

Like the people’s duly elected representatives?

Like the Parliament of Canada—you know MP’s and Senators?

Since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 the SCOC Canada has become very bold ——entering into areas which are policy areas —-health , education , areas delegated in the Constitution to be the purview of the elected.

Courts are just not interpreting laws now but making new law.

And , this past few years , Superior courts actually ignored

parts of the Charter ( Supremacy Of God and Rule of Law ) and putting new meanings on the  Charter provisions ( Section 1) not intended by the signatories, the elected first ministers who created the Charter!!

What about a Joint Senate /House of Commons Judiciary Committee  ? That this committee would question applicants at public hearings and make binding recommendations to the Cabinet!!

Should not those who make the laws have some say over who is to interpret them?

Is this not transparency and accountability ?

Must it just be the Government who has this power to decide the members of our Highest Court?

One would think the Leaders of the mainstream Federal Political Parties would be leading the charge for more transparency and accountability, those concepts that they criticize the Government  of lacking!!

And where are all those freedom loving groups who are crying out every day for more democracy, accountability . More people involvement !

Where are the Premiers of the Provinces and Territories?

Now , let’s see who stands up??