New Supreme Court nominee testifies at parliamentary committee

OTTAWA – Canadians got their first close look Wednesday at the latest nominee to the Supreme Court of Canada, a Quebecer who was drafted by a pro hockey team in his teens and who dreamed of becoming a psychologist before turning to law.

Marc Nadon, nominated this week to fill the vacant seat on the top court, was lightly grilled by a parliamentary committee that went out of its way to avoid the kind of ruthless inquisition endured by nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nadon faced few tough questions from the MPs, who were cautioned before proceedings began that questions about the prospective Supreme Court justice’s personal life and his views on controversial issues were off-limits.

Instead, he spoke of growing up in the Laurentian region north of Montreal, and of being raised by a father who played hockey in the 1940s and a mother who sang professionally.

He told MPs he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL when he was 14 years old, but his father told him to choose between sports and continuing his schooling.

He spoke of wanting to become a psychologist, only to be told by a school guidance counsellor that he lacked the necessary credits and might want to consider a career in law instead.

He graduated from the University of Sherbrooke in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in civil law and was called to the Quebec bar the following year.

He has served as a judge on the Federal Court of Appeal since 2001. Before that, he was a Federal Court judge, a judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and a judicial member of the Competition Tribunal.

He practised law at the firm Faskin, Martineau, Walker before his appointment to the Federal Court.

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