This afternoon, Question Period started with an extended game of How to Appoint a Judge. Tom Mulcair and Peter MacKay, both lawyers in another life who knew a few things about judges and benches and rules and whatnot, dared each other to read the Supreme Court Act after having accused each other of not understanding the law. Such was the debate in the Commons that followed a weekend’s worth of speculation about the nature of conversations last year between MacKay, the justice minister, and Beverley McLachlin, the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice.
The topic of discussion between McLachlin and MacKay was a potential issue with the appointment of a judge from the Federal Court to the top court. The government would go on to nominate Marc Nadon, a judge on the Federal Court, to wear the red-and-white robes. The Supreme Court would eventually rule Nadon ineligible.
After this came to light, the Prime Minister’s Office recalled its own version of events with respect to the McLachlin-MacKay conversation. Things got messy when reporters started to sort through claims and assemble timelines and assess intent. On the other side of the weekend, Mulcair now accuses Harper and MacKay of interfering in the work of the Supreme Court.
Aaron Wherry explains the complex debate’s many details.