Canadian Attorney General and Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson, member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, announced today the members of the selection panel to fill the pending vacancies in the Supreme Court of Canada. Justices Ian Binnie and Louise Charron announced earlier this year they plan to retire from the court.
“The [SCC] is the pinnacle of our justice system, and our government is committed to continuing the tradition of legal excellence and undisputable merit that Canadians deserve and expect from our country’s highest court,” Nicholson said.
The mandate of the selection panel is to review and assess a list of qualified candidates created by Nicholson, in consultation with prominent Canadian legal figures and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Following an extensive consultation process, the selection panel will provide Harper and Nicholson with a list of six candidates.
Harper and Nicholson will then select two nominees from that list; each candidate will appear at a public hearing of an ad hoc parliamentary committee.
The following individuals will comprise the selection panel:
• Conservative MP Bob Dechert
• Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner
• Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber
• New Democratic Party MP Joe Comartin
• Liberal Party MP Irwin Cotler
As Justices Binnie and Charron are both from Ontario, the incoming justices to the court will be from Ontario as well. By convention, the court has three judges from Ontario, one from British Columbia, one from the Prairies, and one from the Maritimes. Furthermore, three judges must be from Quebec, as dictated by the Supreme Court Act.