The Federation of Law Societies of Canada expresses its deep concern over suggestions made by the government that Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin acted inappropriately by attempting to bring to the attention of the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice issues relating to the eligibility of potential nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Federation President, Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, Q.C., said “the Chief Justice of Canada is more than a member of the judiciary. She is the head of Canada’s judicial branch of government and as such has an entirely legitimate role in consulting with the executive when there are issues involving the judicial branch that warrant the government’s attention. Communications of this sort during the consultation phase of the selection process for Supreme Court justices are a normal and appropriate feature of how our democratic institutions work. “
“Any suggestion that the head of the judiciary has acted in a way that is inappropriate when the facts indicate otherwise, risks diminishing public confidence in our democratic institutions. Canada’s justice system is the envy of the world. It is vital that our judicial institutions continue to be respected, in Canada and abroad.”
The Federation is the national coordinating body of the 14 provincial and territorial law societies that regulate Canada’s 100,000 lawyers, Quebec’s 4,000 notaries and Ontario’s 4,000 paralegals in the public interest. It is a leading voice on issues of national and international importance relating to the administration of justice and the rule of the law.