Prime Minister Stephen Harperís two nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada appear strong, but the public hearing process is far too rushed Ė a 2 1/2-hour meeting Wednesday, just two short days after the nominees were announced.
Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver of the Ontario Court of Appeal brings a tough but fair approach to criminal law, including justifiably long sentences for terrorism and Internet luring offences. He would bring a refreshingly blunt, plain-spoken manner to the court. Notably, he has given strong, provocative speeches on how and why criminal trials spin regularly out of control. Even so, there is no reason to believe that he would predictably accept the governmentís agenda on crime or other matters.
The multilingual Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis, also of the Ontario Court of Appeal, brings deep experience of government as a former senior civil servant in Ontario during the Mike Harris years. But she joined the appeal court only in March, 2010, and her record is scant. It does not appear, though, that Mr. Harper tabbed her as a hanging judge. (As a Superior Court judge, she sentenced a man to house arrest for sexual interference and sexual touching involving three young boys.)
Much to Mr. Harperís credit, he broke with tradition in 2006 and created the public hearings. Remember the silly exercise in 2004 when Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler sat in for the nominees and told the country how wonderful they were? The 1982 Charter has given enormous power to the Supreme Court, and the prime ministerís prerogative to appoint those judges means he can shape this countryís future long after his own tenure is over. The ad hoc committee canít reject the nominees, but it can raise questions if an appointment owes more to ideology or political connections than to merit.
Why, then, is Mr. Harper in such a rush? The two judges being replaced, Madam Justice Louise Charron and Mr. Justice Ian Binnie, announced their retirements in mid-May, five months ago. An important case on whether an anti-hate law violates the Charterís protections for free speech was left last week to a bench of seven members, rather than nine, because the government was so slow.
Two days is not enough for the committee to read the nomineesí judgments and any speeches they may have given and prepare probing questions. The scrutiny is needed.
This is becoming Mr. Harperís court. With these two, four of the judges will be his appointees. Claims of some critics that he would try to hijack the court for some narrow ideological purpose have proven abysmally wrong.
But the ad hoc committee can be a useful check on his, or any prime ministerís, mostly unfettered power over the nominations. Mr. Harper should give his process an opportunity to work properly.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Canadians need a reality check regarding the judiciary and anyone else in a
position of trust and absolute power there is an old saying, absolute power
corrupts absolutely and that applies from the lowest to the highest positions of
power in Canada.
You simply don't know who you can trust without a in-depth investigation however there is one good place in Canada where you will find a group of people who might just have a good idea of which judges might make a good appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada and that is with the Judiciary of the Superior Courts and the Courts of Appeal of the provinces of Canada.
The unfortunately fact is that weather it be the military, the government, or the judiciary, often its the most unsuitable people who end up getting promoted. The Ottawa Military is riddled with those who were promoted from other places just to get rid of them.
In the Ontario Superior Court those judges who demonstrate the most rampant hatred towards men are those who get chosen to go to the Ontario Court of Appeal for which they need a good track record of sending fathers to jail to end their ability to parent and a record for striking pleadings, issuing vexatious litigant orders and a host of other orders routinely used by the worst of the worst of the judiciary to "get rid of cases" and more importantly to get revenge.
Mr. Harper might like to take a look at Justice Cheryl Robertson, she has the perfect credentials, she has probably created more injustice than any other superior court judge around, she has all the right corrupt extreme feminist connections and is not hesitant about bragging about it in Court.
Then if he wants a political lacky someone who will do political bidding there is Justice Denis Power, but he is probably tainted with his blue ribbon liberal connections.
If he want's someone who will toe the government line, who will just refuse to read anything other than what his political masters dictate over the phone, then he can't go past Justice Allan Sheffield, known since law school for his incredible lack of emotion while leaving a never ending trail of destruction.
Now to get some genuine advice for Mr. Harper, he should have, he could have gone to the judiciary and taken note of which judges are routinely given the most difficult challenging cases that also require a judge who has an impeccable reputation. Its this group of judges amongst whom are many who are perfectly bilingual, often of a relatively young age who really deserve to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Their names are very well known and they don't need to be mentioned.
Moldaver is not one of them.