Stephen Harper has appointed a new judge to the Supreme Court of Canada, and this time it may actually work! The Supreme Court’s Quebec quota has been left unfilled since Morris Fish’s retirement nine months ago, and arguably for longer if we require the justice to have a french-sounding name.
Harper tried resolving this last summer by appointing Marc Nadon, a well-respected federal court judge, which only set off a cluster-fuck of bickering and bantering about his ineligibility. The only requirements for the three Quebec seats is that the named Justice be a member of the provincial bar, a member of the province’s Superior Court or a judge on the Quebec Court of Appeal, none of which was Nadon. Admittedly, he does have a French sounding name (Marc with a ‘c’), but it was not enough for the SCC, who struck down the appointment, and started a war between Harper and Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin.
With that disaster in the background, Harper has now appointed Clement Gascon, a veritable francophone, that everyone from Liberal MP and former leader Stephane Dion to NDP Justice Critic Francoise Boivin have heralded as a really great decision. Actually. Literally everyone agrees that this is the right pick, which is incredible given the climate in Parliament these days. Especially with an election of the horizon, for the Liberals or the NDP to give Harper a win on anything makes little sense, especially with statements as enthusiastic as “I think we can pass go, collect $200 — we need a judge from Quebec, stat” from Boivin.
They’re even skipping the traditional committee process and just sticking him on the bench. All that’s left is for Marc Nadon to be appointed to the Senate, and all this Supreme Court shenanigans will be over. At least until other Quebec Justice Louis LeBel retires in November. Then we can go through this whole process again.