PM defends system for appointing judges amid questions about ties to N.B. minister


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the federal system for appointing judges after revelations several in New Brunswick have personal connections to Liberal cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Media reports this week stated five of the last six federally appointed judges in New Brunswick have ties to LeBlanc, who is Trudeau’s minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs.

One is LeBlanc’s neighbour, according to the CBC, while a second is a relative by marriage and three helped him pay off debt he accumulated during his unsuccessful run for the Liberal party leadership in 2008.

A complaint has since been filed to the ethics commissioner by watchdog Democracy Watch, which is asking for the government to suspend further appointments until an investigation is concluded.

Trudeau didn’t specifically address the five judges in New Brunswick when asked about them during an event Thursday in Montreal, but instead defended the Liberal-installed system for appointing justices.

“We have a merit-based, transparent appointment system,” he said, adding: “We are pleased that we have nominated top-notch judges right across the country — and we will continue to.”

The Trudeau government last month named lawyers Arthur Doyle and Robert Dysart to the bench in New Brunswick, where Elections Canada records indicate both have been regular donors to the federal Liberals and contributed to LeBlanc’s failed leadership run.

Their appointments followed that of fellow lawyer Charles LeBlond, who also donated to the Liberals and to LeBlanc, in March.

LeBlanc is also neighbours with the new chief justice of New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Tracey DeWare, who was appointed to the position last month, according to the CBC.


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