The Globe and Mail recently published an article on Monday about appointments to the Judicial Advisory Committee, a group of volunteer individuals that help select a pool of candidates for consideration for the Minister of Justice.
The Globe notes the following,
At least 16 of 31 recent appointments to the panels have Conservative party ties, according to a survey by The Globe and Mail. Others, while not directly linked to the party, have expressed right-of-centre views about the proper role of the judiciary.
Canada’s “newspaper of record” also goes on to cite seven separate authorities on the issue decrying the sure first steps to the implementation of a radical right-wing conspiracy in Canada. Stephane Dion is quoted:
“The only reason he’s stacking the committees is to select judges who will cater to his neo-conservative agenda,” said Mr. Dion, demanding an end to what he called a “blatant” effort to politicize the judiciary.”
Gilles Duceppe, the NDP, a University of Ottawa law professor, the Dean of Osgoode law school, the president of the Canadian bar association, even Beverly McLachlin expressed “concern” when the Globe and Mail contacted them to comment on its narrative. One doesn’t get the sense of balance from the article.
Partisan appointments to a panel which makes recommendations to the Minister of Justice?
On closer inspection, one discovers that the Globe’s math is a bit of a stretch and designed to be alarmist. I count over 115 names on the Judicial Advisory Committee and the names have been fully disclosed on the website for a month.
So why does the Globe deem this story to be newsworthy and why now? Well, it all fits into a narrative that the evil Conservatives don’t believe in the Charter and that if we aren’t vigilant, it’ll be gone tomorrow.
In fact, the Globe article comes during a week-long feature in the National Post about the Charter to coincide with a conference at McGill that focuses upon the “Charter @ 25”.
Is the Globe and Mail trying to fan the flames on the issue of judicial appointments?
One wonders if the Globe is as vigilant reporting on partisan appointments to the bench (rather than a non-binding advisory committee). Consider, for example, this list of judicial appointments.
Also, if one digs a little deeper into previous Judicial Advisory Committees, we discover that partisan Liberals have previously packed the JACs under Liberal justice ministers. Here’s a list:
New Brunswick Women’s Liberal Association (1994-1998)
Federal Liberal Candidate in the 1988 Federal Election (North Vancouver)
President of 2005-2006 Executive-Liberal Party of Canada (Manitoba)
Member of interim peers panel for Liberal federal candidates 2006
Donated $128.10 to Liberal party of Canada in 1999
Karolyn M. Godfrey
(P.E.I)-Liberal donation $486.80 in 1999
$1000 donation to Liberal party of Canada in 2000
$128.33 donation to Liberal party of Canada in 1998
prominent Liberal activist as well as being a lobbyist and counsel for Imperial.
Donated $390.12 to the Liberal party of Canada
Currently a Liberal Senator (Alberta) – appointed by Paul Martin
Former Chretien B.C. organizer, B.C. organizer for Dion in 2006
Former Organization Chair for the Kelowna Federal Liberal Riding Association
New Brunswick Campaign Manager for the Ignatieff Campaign
Co-chair of the 1993 Liberal Election Campaign – Nova Scotia
Former President of the Burlington Federal Liberal Association and EA to Paddy Torsney, M.P.
Former P.E.I. Liberal MLA
Lawrence MacAulay’s Official Agent
Yes, these are partisans who served on judicial advisory committees. As I wrote on Macleans.ca, I’m still looking for the Globe and Mail article concerning these (Liberal) partisans. I don’t think that I’ll find it.
Can we instead thank these volunteers, regardless of political stripe, for their commitment to public service?