Appointment process denies military judges necessary independence, court rules


OTTAWA— Globe and Mail Update

A court has struck down portions of the National Defence Act that stipulate how military judges are appointed, arguing the lack of security in their tenure denies them the independence required by the Charter to conduct themselves impartially.

Military judges are appointed by the government for five year, renewable terms and their job includes trying all Criminal Code offences including murder committed abroad, treason, sedition and spying.

They can be removed from the bench, however, after their half-decade term has ended.

The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada ruled unanimously on the matter, arguing that military judges must be “constitutionally independent of the chain of the command” and the government.

“It seems inconceivable to me ... that military judges who exercise the same functions and have essentially the same powers as superior and provincial courts of criminal jurisdiction, should be subject to the whims, the unknowns, the uncertainty and anxiety of having their positions come up for renewal every five years,” Mr. Justice Gilles Létourneau wrote.




commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Mr. Harper's historic habitual and flagrant contempt for judicial decisions that he does not agree with mean that this decision could have been written on toilet paper and flushed in the private washroom in the office of Mr. Harper.

All Mr. Harper needs now is a declaration from the Supreme Court of Canada that he is god almighty appointed by the Republican Hymn Book and therefore can dictate to any court what they can and cannot do.

Judicial Independence? That depends of course if the lawyer paid his dues in the form of expensive political donations before he was appointed and if appointed his continued demonstration of following political dogma of the party in office.

Military Judges are in even more need of judicial independence than "civilian judiciary".
However, anyone who becomes a judge should have the strength of character and the ability to find equally if not better paying civilian employment if and when the government decides, to show its disapproval by telling them to go find another job at the end of their five year term.

That idea is also flawed. Often those who become judges many could never and will never succeed in private practice because of their legal incompetence, inability to run a business and or failure to generate referrals.