Thumb on the scales (2)

Screen Shot 2019-07-06 at 06.21.43Back about six months ago I accused the Trudeau-Freeland Liberals of having their figurative thumb on the scales of electoral politics as ministers crisscrossed the country in the pre-writ period, making spending announcements with great fanfare, when government departments and political parties are forbidden to advertise.

Now I see, in an article in the Globe and Mail, that they also have their thumb on the scales when it comes to making judicial appointments. Daniel Leblanc reports that “The Liberal government relies on a large network of party officials and supporters to decide which lawyers receive sought-after judicial appointments, e-mails obtained by The Globe and Mail show … [and] … Liberal MPs, ministerial staff members and even party volunteers have been involved in candidate vetting since the federal government revamped the process in 2016, after having accused the previous Conservative government of politicizing appointments.

Mr Leblanc says that “The dozens of e-mails between ministerial staffers from 2017 and 2018 detail widespread partisan involvement in the selection of new judges, offering unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the current judicial appointment process. The e-mails also show clear tensions during that time frame between the minister of justice’s office, which handles the appointment process, and the Prime Minister’s Office, which collaborates on those decisions.” He presents clear evidence of PMO interference in the work of the Justice Department’s judicial affairs staff in which some officials clearly and very properly, in my opinion, objected to being subjected to PMO oversight.

Judges at the federal level,” he explains “are appointed by the prime minister on the advice of cabinet after a recommendation from the justice minister … [and] … The Liberals say changes they made – including giving more independence to arm’s-length judicial advisory committees that create pools of eligible candidates – ensure the process is transparent and merit-based.” But Daniel Leblanc details the political manoeuvrings of former Minister Jim Carr and his wife, Colleen Suche, who is a judge on the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, with then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and her staff regarding judicial appointments in Manitoba. The evidence he presents suggests that political acceptability outweighs legal qualifications nearly every time and it suggests that getting the right people appointed might require allowing some partisans on the bench, too.

Mr Leblanc tells us that “E-mails between ministerial staff members are usually not accessible to the public because they do not fall under the purview of the Access to Information Act … [but] … The e-mails obtained by The Globe show that at least one ministerial assistant went further and asked to use encrypted applications on BlackBerrys to discuss potential appointments … [for example] … “Can I have your PIN? Easier to send the recommendations,” Kevin Lavigne, who was New Brunswick Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s director of operations at Fisheries, asked in a 2018 e-mail” to Laura Berger, an aide in Minister Wilson-Raybould’s office who worked on judicial appointments. In another example, he says that there was “Another e-mail [that] involved a Liberal supporter who advocated on behalf of two possible candidates. In 2018, Jessica Prince, then-chief of staff to Ms. Wilson-Raybould, relayed information to Ms. Berger and [judicial affairs adviser, François] Giroux from Mitch Frazer, whom she described as a “Liberal connected lawyer” … [and] … In the e-mail, she pointed out Mr. Frazer had previously organized a fundraiser for Ms. Wilson-Raybould and was an acquaintance of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, “so, you get a sense of where this is coming from” … [she said] … “Got a call from Mitch Frazer … He wanted to flag two judicial candidates that he wanted us to know he supports,” Ms. Prince wrote.

Finally, Daniel Leblanc explains that “The Liberals modified the process under which the federal government appoints judges to superior and federal courts in 2016, giving greater independence to the seven-member advisory committees that evaluate the candidates for appointments … [and there are] … 17 committees – which review applications on a regional basis …[and they] … are made up of members appointed by the government to represent the general public and members who are appointed by the provinces and the legal community. The committees are asked to rank candidates who make the cut as either being “recommended” or “highly recommended,” which is designed to favour “truly outstanding candidates” … [but] … there is no public disclosure of the percentage of new judges who were “highly recommended” compared with those who were simply “recommended” under the current government. The PMO said that advisory committees have received 1,569 applications since 2016, and that there have been 239 judicial appointments among the 295 highly recommended and 259 recommended candidates … [finally] … The Globe reported last year that the PMO also vets potential candidates with a private Liberal Party database called Liberalist to see whether they had given money to the party in recent years, participated in party activities and even put up Liberal election signs.

ThumbScale-thumb-864x645-187006Once again we see the Trudeau-Freeland Liberal Party‘s intent to politicize every single aspect of Canadian society, beginning with the courts which are intended to be freest from such political thumbs on the scales. We Canadians have elected and re-elected a gang of misfits and nobodies who are determined to drag Canada down a path to politically correct economic ruin and to shatter our national unity in pursuit of their flavour-of-the-month ideas.

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