The Supreme Court’s gender balance will remain at six men and three women. Gender equality has been a pivotal focal point throughout the nomination process, including concerns raised by the New Democratic Party of Canada. Other considerations have included geographical representation, stances with respect to minority rights (including LGBTI and Aboriginal communities), and language.
Including Justice Nadon, Harper has now appointed five justices since taking office as Prime Minister on February 6, 2006. In his most recent nomination, three conservative MPs, one Liberal MP, and one New Democrat MP took part in the selection process.
A Statement from the Prime Minister said:
“I am pleased to announce the nomination of Mr. Justice Nadon, whose extraordinary body of legal work — as a longtime judge on both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal; judicial member of the Competition Tribunal; expert in maritime and transportation law with almost 20 years as a practicing member of the Barreau du Québec; arbitrator; teacher; and author – makes him an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court of Canada,” and further:
“His [Justice Nadon’s] nomination is the result of an extensive review process that included consultations with prominent members of the legal community in Québec.”
This news comes with the departure of Justice Morris Fish of Québec, who was a Liberal-appointed Supreme Court Justice under the Jean Chrétien government. He resigned from the court on August 31, 2013.
In 2009, Justice Nadon dissented from a majority ruling in the long-standing quest for the repatriation of Omar Khadr held at Guantanamo Bay prison, Cuba. Khadr was born in Toronto in September 1986. Further discussion on Nadon J.’s dissent can be read here.
Supreme Court appointments are not only important because of the experience, integrity, and judicial history a nominee brings to the country’s highest court, but also because of their long-standing ability to serve.
Section 9(2) of the Supreme Court Act, RSC, 1985, c S-26 stipulates:
“A judge shall cease to hold office on attaining the age of seventy-five years.”
Next steps for Justice Nadon?
A Parliamentary Committee will question Justice Nadon on October 2, 2013.