Province names new judge, wife of MP Dominic LeBlanc
Justice Minister T.J. Burke said Jolène Richard is well qualified and 'should not be punished' for being married to a Liberal MP
The New Brunswick government has named Moncton lawyer Jolène Richard, wife of Beauséjour Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, as a provincial court judge.
Richard, a partner with the Stewart McKelvey law firm in Moncton, will be the seventh female among 30 judges who sit on the court.
Her husband is running for the leadership of the federal Liberals along with Bob Rae, the former Ontario NDP premier, and Michael Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor.
Justice Minister T.J. Burke said Richard was picked by a select committee that included a judge from the Court of Appeal, the provincial court and the Department of Justice.
Burke said she "should not be punished because her husband is known within the Liberal party."
"She has a professional career that should be examined outside the scope that her husband has a career, 40 years that might not have been common, today it is very common," Burke said in an interview with CBC News.
"The fact that she is married to somebody who is well known and who is in political circles shouldn't make one bit of difference in terms of her abilities and her competencies. She has demonstrated that before the committee."
Richard graduated from the Université de Moncton law school and was admitted to the bar in 1993.
Burke said Richard will help ease a growing backlog in the Moncton court as well as help in the special domestic violence court.
"Moncton is so overwhelmed with backlogs in [provincial court] cases that there is a judge that has decided to throw out some minor cases because they need another judge," Burke said.