Supreme Court vacancy panel of MPs chosen

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson today released the names of the five MPs who will help choose the next Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by the retirement this week of Justice Marie Deschamps.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson today announced the members of the selection panel who will advise him and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on who should fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court of Canada. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson today announced the five members of Parliament who wil help the government pick the next Supreme Court justice.

The members of the selection panel are:

  • Conservative MPs Jacques Gourde, Kerry-Lynne Findlay and Greg Rickford.
  • NDP MP Francoise Boivin.
  • Liberal MP Stéphane Dion.

A vacancy on the bench opened up with the retirement of Justice Marie Deschamps. Her last day was Tuesday, 10 years to the day after she was appointed.

"As an important national institution, the Supreme Court of Canada renders decisions that can have far-reaching implications affecting all Canadians," Nicholson said in a news release. "Our government is committed to ensuring the legal excellence and merit that Canadians have all come to expect from our country’s highest court."

The replacement for Deschamps will be from Quebec.

The selection panel will review and assess a list of candidates put forward by Nicholson, and will consult with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and Quebec's chief justice and attorney general. Quebec's bar association and the Canadian Bar Association will also give input and the public can also submit names for consideration.

All of the deliberations are confidential and at the end of them, the selection panel will submit the names of three candidates to Harper and Nicholson, who will choose the nominee.

The successful candidate will then appear at a parliamentary committee to answer questions from MPs.

Deschamps announced her retirement in May. She said it was time to explore other ways of serving the public.