ontario news watch

Top court nominee chosen for expertise in criminal, constitutional law, MPs hear

OTTAWA — The chair of the independent advisory board tasked with helping to fill a vacancy on Canada’s top court says they were looking for a candidate who was an expert in both criminal and constitutional law. 

Wade MacLaughlin, a former premier of Prince Edward Island, spoke at a parliamentary committee today about why the board shortlisted Mary Moreau, the chief justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, as a candidate to join the Supreme Court.

MacLaughlin says Moreau was one of two people the board recommended to Trudeau, out of a pool of 13 applicants.

Justice Minister Arif Virani, who also testified today, says they needed to find a candidate who was functionally bilingual and who hailed from Western or Northern Canada, since the court must have representation from all regions of the country. 

Former justice Russell Brown retired from his seat on the top bench in June. 

His exit came amid a probe by the Canadian Judicial Council into an allegation of misconduct against him stemming from an incident in Arizona in January, in which he was accused of being intoxicated and harassing a group — an allegation Brown had denied.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov.2, 2023. 

The Canadian Press