Controversial head of judges' disciplinary council retires
Jan 28, 2021
TORONTO - The controversial head of the council responsible for handling
complaints against federal judges has retired.
In a statement Thursday, the Canadian Judicial Council said Norman Sabourin,
executive director and senior general counsel, was leaving after 16 years.
The statement credited Sabourin with preparing for the "council’s renewal."
"The council wishes to thank Mr. Sabourin for his contribution and wishes him
the very best in his next endeavours," it said.
Last May, a Federal Court judge rapped the council for acting extremely unfairly
when it publicly rebuked a respected Ontario Superior Court justice without a
It was Sabourin who had initiated the action against Justice Patrick Smith for
accepting — with permission of his superiors — an unpaid, temporary post as dean
of a law school in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 2018.
The proceedings against Smith, who quit the post in response, sparked widespread
outrage among other judges as well as lawyers.
The council tried to argue that the 41-member council, comprising the country's
chief justice as well as the chief justices and associate chief justices of the
provincial and federal Superior Courts, was beyond second-guessing by a single
The Federal Court ruling exonerated Smith and condemned the council's actions
against him, prompting Smith's lawyer to demand an apology.
The council under Sabourin had previously drawn Federal Court criticism for
attempting to argue the courts had no authority to review its disciplinary
The issues prompted Chief Justice Richard Wagner in 2019 to launch a sweeping
review, saying the council was in need of both internal and legislative reforms.
Areas in need of scrutiny, Wagner said, included the crucial role of the
executive director, who wields significant power as complaints gatekeeper.
Sabourin was also on extended leave for more than a year. There was no word on
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
The Judicial Council is a corrupt organization that spends 99.9% of its time
"white washing" judicial complaints against judges
who have total immunity and impunity for criminal
offences against the administration of justice.
The most common offence by judges is "fabricating evidence" to deny, minimize or
justify a politically correct decision or personally desired decision rather
than a legal decision.
This only serves to encourage further abuses of power by the judiciary and has
removed legal rights for fathers in Canada.