Thumbs up for 2 new judges
Committee approves PM's picks

Sat, August 28, 2004

THE MAJORITY of MPs and legal experts on an ad hoc committee has given Paul Martin's Supreme Court nominees the thumbs up, in spite of complaints they lacked the time and background information to properly carry out their hearings. Two Conservative members of the committee refused to be a part of the report, saying they weren't prepared to rubberstamp the appointments of Rosalie Abella and Louise Charron because of the "inadequacies of the process."

Liberal, NDP and Bloc members, however, concluded in their report to Martin they were "satisfied that the two nominees ... are eminently qualified for appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada." They had no power to veto the PM's choices.

Liberal MP and committee chairman Derek Lee, while agreeing the hearings were hasty, said he felt comfortable with the majority decision, adding "none of us had any particular reason to second-guess" the appointments.

The committee had less than 72 hours to hold a public hearing and prepare a report.

Conservative justice critic Vic Toews accused Martin of not keeping his promise of a "mandatory review" by Parliament of prospective justices for the Supreme Court.

Martin will likely confirm the appointments next week.