Judicial appointments should be based on merit rather than political considerations

By G.C. Landolt LL.B
Nov 10, 2006

It is astonishing to witness the legal establishment's sudden concern about the independent advisory process for judicial appointments. They obviously feel threatened by Justice Minister Vic Toews's proposal to expand the Judicial Advisory Committee. Problems with the process never bothered them before, even though they were an integral part of the current system of judicial appointments.

The fact is that the legal community is worried because these changes alter their private golden circle that has been able to operate freely to pick and choose those who will be considered for federal judicial appointments. The latter explains why so many former presidents of the Canadian Bar Association and provincial law societies have been appointed judges in the past.

Further, it is absurd that judges sitting on these advisory committees have had a vote as to who will receive judicial appointments.

Mr. Toews is on the right track when he intends to make judicial representatives on the committee non-voting chairs. Mr. Toews is doing the administration of justice in Canada a real service by his proposals. Further changes in the judicial appointment system are still necessary to ensure appointments are based on merit rather than political considerations -- but this is a good start.

G.C. Landolt LL.B