July 17, 2024

Obligate Law

Professional Law Makers

Ford doubles down on ‘like-minded’ judges remark; Civil liberties group ‘deeply’ concerned

2 min read
Ford doubles down on ‘like-minded’ judges remark; Civil liberties group ‘deeply’ concerned

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it is “deeply concerned” after Ontario Premier Doug appointed two former staffers to the provincial committee responsible for selecting judges, stating he wanted “like-minded” people in the role.

Ford, speaking to reporters in Brampton last week, defended his appointments of the staffers, adding that he wouldn’t appoint a Liberal or New Democrat into those roles.

“In the view of the CCLA, it’s imperative that judicial appointments remain non-partisan and based on merit to ensure that the Charter right to bail is implemented in a way that upholds the rule of law,” Rahim said at Queen’s Park Monday, there to deliver the association’s 10-year report on the Canadian bail system.

“Comments that we should modify the decision making of justices of the peace or judges by injecting different concerns are deeply worrying and concerning,” he continued.

It was first reported last week by The Toronto Star that Matthew Bondy, a former deputy chief of staff to Ford, had been appointed chair of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, and Brock Vandrick, Ford’s former director of stakeholder relations, had also been given a spot.

The committee, made up of three judges, three lawyers and seven members of the public, reviews applications and conducts interviews for prospective Ontario Court judges, then sends a ranked list of its recommendations to the attorney general, who appoints someone from that list.

Speaking at Question Period on Monday, Ford doubled down on the comments, pointing to a purported increase in crime in the Toronto area – an assertion the CCLA has disputed.

“We have massive crime waves across our cities,” Ford said. “Theyre kicking doors in, putting guns to people’s heads, and guess what? They get out on bail and then they do it again.”

“I’m going to make sure we have like-minded judges,” the premier continued.

Also at Question Period, Attorney General Doug Downey said he takes the responsibility of making judicial recommendations to the cabinet “seriously.”

“And obviously I want advice from those that I respect,” Downey said. “The advisory committee provides the advice and it has more than two members on it.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Kristyn Wong-Tam, the NDP attorney general critic, said that the appointments raise serious concerns about the impartiality of the judicial system.

“Under this government, we have seen our court system pushed to collapse,” Wong-Tam said.

“Instead of fixing the mess in our courts, the Attorney General is focused on awarding partisan patronage appointments.”

With files from The Canadian Press.

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