Statement from CBA President Steeves Bujold regarding the judicial appointment process

  • August 31, 2023

Today marks my last day as CBA President, and I want to reemphasize the importance of the work we all need to do to continue reinforcing the confidence of the public in the independence of our justice system. This was one of my priorities as CBA President, and as we continue to see attacks regarding the impartiality of our courts, it is important that we continue to stand up to defend judicial independence.

The CBA has long supported an open and transparent process for appointing judges, based on merit and representative of Canadian society, that results in a fairly-chosen and independent judiciary.

As far back as 1985, the CBA’s McKelvey Committee on the appointment of judges concluded that, “The public is entitled to a system of selection that will open the doors to more candidates, provide careful and measured consideration of qualifications, and not be subject to partisan influences.”

Successive CBA reports and resolutions have repeated support for an open, transparent, and apolitical process that will ensure the appointment of qualified candidates.

Prior political involvement should not exclude qualified people from consideration for judicial appointments. Participation in democratic institutions such as political parties is a basic right in Canada and shows community engagement. Ultimately, appointments must be based solely on merit and reflect the diverse fabric of our country. If partisan activity were the deciding factor in an appointment rather than merit, that would erode public confidence in the independence and fairness of the justice system.

The CBA will continue working with all stakeholders to make sure that judicial appointment processes stay open and transparent, that judicial vacancies are filled in a timely way, and that appointments reflect the diversity of Canadian society.