Inside Politics

Opposition MPs file written requests for info on Nadon appointment process

Well, that didn't take long.

According to today's Notice Paper, two opposition members have filed formal requests for additional background information on the PM's most recent -- and, it's fair to say, most legally contentious yet -- appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, beginning with this (seemingly) simple question posed by Bloc Quebecois MP Louis Plamandon:

With regard to the appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court, did the government verify whether the Justice : (a) resided in Ontario and, if so, for how long; (b) resided in Quebec and, if so, for how long; and (c) is registered with or was already a member of the Barreau du Québec?

Meanwhile, a distinctly more detailed query has been submitted by Liberal MP Stephane Dion, which asks for, among other things, a full timeline of the pre-appointment consultation and the running tally of related legal costs, including the total already spent on preemptively defensive legal opinions to date, and how much has been set aside to handle the now seemingly inevitable court challenge that has sidelined the putative top court justice for the foreseeable future:

Q-742 -- October 21, 2013 -- Mr. Dion (Saint-Laurent--Cartierville) -- With regard to the most recent Supreme Court Appointment process: (a) on what dates was the Quebec Government consulted and who was consulted; (b) when was the Barreau du Quebec consulted; (c) when were judges from the Quebec Court of Appeal (QCCA) consulted; (d) concerning Justice Marc Nadon specifically, (i) on what dates was the Quebec Government consulted regarding his nomination, (ii) when was the Barreau du Quebec consulted, (iii) when were judges from the QCCA consulted; (e) when was the issue of Justice Nadon's eligibility first raised, (i) by whom, (ii) how, (iii) with what response; (f) still concerning Justice Nadon, (i) from whom did the government seek legal opinions, (ii) on what dates, (iii) at what cost, broken down by opinion, (iv) how many lawyers from Quebec were consulted on Justice Nadon's eligibility, (v) how many judges from Quebec were consulted, (vi) what scholars from Quebec were consulted; (g) by what measure was the litigation risk evaluated relative to Justice Nadon's appointment, (i) by whom, (ii) on what date, (iii) what communications were sent between the Department of Justice and the Minister of Justice regarding the risk of litigation surrounding the appointment; (h) with respect to assessing Justice Nadon's eligibility, (i) what was the role of the Department of Justice, (ii) what was the role of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, (iii) what was the role of the Minister of Justice, (iv) what steps did the Minister of Justice take to assure himself of Justice Nadon's eligibility to assume a Quebec seat on the Supreme Court of Canada; (i) how much funding is allocated to any defence needed to a legal challenge to Justice Nadon's appointment; (j) is the government aware of any instance in which a Supreme Court justice has stepped aside from his or her duties; (k) what steps is the government taking proactively (i) to ensure that Quebec is not under-represented at the Supreme Court of Canada while Justice Nadon is recused, (ii) to ensure gender parity at the Supreme Court of Canada; (l) what steps has the government taken with regard to addressing the lack of racial diversity at the Supreme Court of Canada; (m) who developed the questionnaire provided to judges in the most recent round of Supreme Court appointments, (i) what specific questions were asked of judges, (ii) what information was sought from potential Justices during the process; (n) for each of the last six appointment cycles, what were the questions given to judges and what additional information was sought from candidates; (o) what steps are being taken to modify the process of Supreme Court appointments for the next vacancy?

As always, the government has 45 sitting days to table its response(s). Stay tuned!

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