Ruling leaves top court and Marc Nadon up in the air

OTTAWA—It’s not yet clear what will happen next for the vacant Quebec seat on the Supreme Court of Canada, nor for Justice Marc Nadon.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is reviewing its “options” though it is a mystery what those are now that the Supreme Court of Canada has declared “void” Nadon’s appointment to the top bench.

Few expect Harper will try to force the issue by sending Nadon back to the Quebec bar for a day in order to qualify as a “current lawyer” in Quebec.

“It would be completely contrary to the reasoning and the spirit of the decision and if they did it, expect Nadon Challenge Part 2 in the Supreme Court,” said lawyer Paul Slansky who intervened in the case on behalf of the Constitutional Rights Centre Inc., a public interest litigation group.

“I don’t think they’d be daft enough to try that but we’ll see.”

The federal government could start the secretive judicial selection consultation process all over again — but the NDP’s justice critic Françoise Boivin and many other critics slammed it as flawed, and not providing the necessary transparency.

Quebec Justice Minister Bernard St-Arnaud revealed Friday he’d provided “several names” of the “most qualified” Quebec jurists to the Harper government, saying the whole mess could have been avoided if Harper had heeded Quebec’s recommendations.

Université de Montréal professor Paul Daly said the prime minister should immediately move to the next person on the list that was from the Quebec Court of Appeal, and blunt the Parti Québécois’ rhetoric about the federal government failing Quebec.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has done its bit for national unity today. Mr. Harper could do his bit by swiftly appointing someone from the existing shortlist,” said Daly.


To find out more

This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.