New Brunswick

Rona Ambose wants Atlantic representative kept on Supreme Court

Interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says that representation for Atlantic Canada on the Supreme Court of Canada needs to be retained out of respect for the region.

Nova Scotia's Thomas Cromwell officially retired from the court on Sept. 1

Rona Ambrose discusses the need for an Atlantic Canadian Supreme Court Justice

NB

5 years ago
3:20
CBC's Harry Forestell asks Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose if the custom of having each region represented in the Supreme Court is more important that stocking it with the best jurists. 3:20

Interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says representation for Atlantic Canada on the Supreme Court of Canada needs to be retained out of respect for the region.

"I am sure that there is someone of fine character and ability from Atlantic Canada, which would also reflect the regional representation that people in Atlantic Canada deserve. I think that there is no reason why those two things cannot be married," Ambrose told Harry Forestell, host of CBC News: New Brunswick, on Wednesday.

"There is a good reason that constitutional rule has been respected by many governments — Liberal and Conservative — for many years. This isn't a partisan issue," Ambrose said from Ottawa.

On Tuesday, MP's on Parliament Hill voted unanimously in favour of a Conservative Party motion calling for the respect for regional representation regarding appointments to the Supreme Court. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

Nova Scotia's Thomas Cromwell, the only Supreme Court justice from Atlantic Canada, officially retired on Sept. 1. 

In August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said regional representation is important, but he wouldn't commit to filling Cromwell's vacant seat by another Atlantic Canadian.

"We need to make sure that we're folding in all sorts of different aspects to get the best possible people to sit on the Supreme Court," he said.

But on Tuesday, MP's on Parliament Hill voted unanimously in favour of a Conservative motion calling for Supreme Court appointments to respect regional representation. Trudeau also supported the motion.

Ambrose said having people with knowledge of a particular region on the Supreme Court is important for the same reasons it is important in cabinet and on committees.

"We take into account all kinds of diversity, but we take into account regional representation. And, I think that is where this custom came from."

Ambrose pointed out she isn't the only person arguing for regional representation on the Supreme Court with respect to Atlantic Canada.

"I think you can ask jurists, many academics, many people from Atlantic Canada. And, they would say we have good people ready to fill that seat," she said.

With files from CBC News: New Brunswick

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