Inside Politics

Liberal MP wants details on how Clement Gascon was picked for Supreme Court

In what may be a Canadian parliamentary record, before the ink had even dried on the press release announcing Quebec Court of Appeal Judge Clement Gascon's imminent promotion to the bench of the highest court in the land, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler had submitted one of his trademark written queries on the behind-the-scenes machinations that led the prime minister to appoint him to the job.

First and foremost, he wants to know just why the government chose to sidestep the ad hoc committee that had given MPs an opportunity to meet with previous Supreme Court nominees before their elevation to the bench, and whether that pro forma ritual has been scrapped entirely.

He's also curious about 'gender parity -- and specifically, what considerations were given to its preservation -- as well as what, if any, input Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin may have had into the decision, and the details of any consultations with academics, legal experts or advocacy groups.

Finally, he wants to know how much the process cost, from start to finish.

The full question, in all its meticulously subcategorized glory, which must be answered within 45 days:


Q-5432 -- June 3, 2014 -- Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) -- With respect to the appointment of Justice Clément Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada: (a) by what process was Justice Gascon identified and selected for appointment; (b) what was the role of the Department of Justice; (c) what was the role of the Minister of Justice; (d) what was the role of the Prime Minister; (e) what was the role of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs; (f) were any other ministers involved and if so what were their roles; (g) with whom did the government consult and when did these consultations occur; (h) what was the role of Parliament; (i) why was no ad hoc committee convened to meet Justice Gascon prior to his appointment; (j) what specific considerations were taken with respect to (i); (k) who made the ultimate decision with respect to (i); (l) has the government abolished the ad hoc committee process for reviewing Supreme Court nominees; (m) if the ad hoc committee meeting for new Supreme Court nominees has not been abolished, why did it not occur with Justice Gascon prior to his appointment; (n) will Justice Gascon appear before Parliament at any point relative to his appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada; (o) what specific criteria were established by which candidates were evaluated in the process by which Justice Gascon was selected; (p) how did Justice Gascon meet the criteria in (o); (q) why was Justice Gascon selected; (r) was preserving gender parity on the Supreme Court of Canada a goal of the process that resulted in the appointment of Justice Gascon; (s) what consideration was preserving gender parity on the Supreme Court of Canada in the process that resulted in the appointment of Justice Gascon; (t) in what ways does Justice Gascon's appointment preserve gender parity on the Supreme Court of Canada; (u) in what ways does Justice Gascon's appointment enhance diversity on the Supreme Court of Canada; (v) what particular areas of expertise were identified in the process that resulted in Gascon's appointment; (w) how were the areas in (v) developed; (x) what is known of Justice Gascon's expertise in the areas identified in (v); (y) what Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada were consulted with respect to Justice Gascon's appointment; (z) did consultation with the Chief Justice occur regarding Justice Gascon; (aa) is consultation with Chief Justice a normal practice in the course of selecting a nominee for the Supreme Court of Canada; (bb) what role is served by consulting with the Chief Justice or, if no such consultation occurred in this instance, what policy reasons justify excluding the Chief Justice from consultations; (cc) would there have been time for Parliamentarians to meet Justice Gascon prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court; (dd) with which parliamentarians did Justice Gascon meet prior to his appointment; (ee) what committees reviewed Justice Gascon's candidacy prior to his appointment; (ff) was Justice Gascon identified in the process that resulted in the nomination of Justice Nadon; (gg) at what stages of the process was Justice Gascon's eligibility for appointment assessed and by whom; (hh) does the answer in (gg) reflect any new process or procedure; (ii) with respect to Justice Minister Peter Mackay's statement as reported by CTV on May 28 that "Our list and their list are being examined in concert to find a common name," was the name of Justice Gascon common to both lists; (jj) how was the "our" list to which Minister MacKay referred developed; (kk) how many names were on "our" list; (ll) what went into selecting the names on "our" list and who was involved in this process; (mm) was the "our" list to which Minister MacKay referred developed through the process announced by previous Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on June 11, 2013 and if not, why not; (nn) with respect to the "their list" of which the Minister spoke, who developed this list and when was it provided to the government; (oo) did the government solicit in any way "their list"; (pp )how was "their list" assessed, by whom, and on what dates; (qq) how many names were on "their list"; (rr) what individuals were involved in the process that "examined in concert to find a common name" the lists referred to by the Minister; (ss) how long did the process in (mm) require and when did it terminate; (tt) were any outside legal opinions sought with respect to Justice Gascon's appointment, why or why not; (uu) what was the cost of Justice Gascon's appointment and what is the breakdown of these costs; (vv) if any of the answers to these questions are subject to solicitor-client privilege, who is the solicitor and the client for the particular question; (ww) who from the Government of Quebec was consulted on Gascon's appointment, on what dates, and by whom; (xx) when were the Chief Justice of Quebec and the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court consulted on Gascon's appointment and by whom; (yy) who from the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, and the Barreau de Montréal were consulted on Gascon's appointment and by whom; (zz) what academics were consulted, by whom and on what dates; (aaa) what victims' rights groups were consulted, by whom, and on what dates; (bbb) what aboriginal groups were consulted, by whom, and on what dates; (ccc) what women's groups were consulted, by who, and on what dates; (ddd) whereas in the past candidates have been first nominated and then appointed, was Justice Gascon ever nominated prior to his appointment by the government, and if so, when did this occur, if not why not; (eee) what changes to the process have been identified or completed through this appointment; (fff) what factors were considered relative to the timing of this appointment; (ggg) who decided the timing of the appointment announcement and in consultation with whom; (hhh) what benefits were derived from appointing Justice Gascon prior to a Parliamentary ad hoc hearing; (iii) what benefits were derived from appointing Justice Gascon prior to the end of the scheduled Parliamentary sitting; (jjj) why was the appointment announced while Parliament was still sitting but without an ad hoc hearing; and (kkk) why was the appointment announced so far in advance of the Court's fall session, and is it anticipated the same appointment process will be used for the next vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada?

Tags: blackberry jungle, irwin cotler, questions on the order paper, supreme court

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