Andrew Coyne: The latest tactic to suppress Wilson-Raybould — smear a judge

Wait, I thought it was all Scott Brison’s fault.

The usual anonymous sources are now whispering to reporters that the reason Jody Wilson-Raybould was fired as minister of justice and attorney general in January had nothing to do with her refusal to kill the prosecution of a Liberal-friendly firm in a province critical to the party’s election chances, as the prime minister and a phalanx of top officials had pressured her to do. No, according to reports by Canadian Press and CTV, it was because of her pick for a judicial appointment.

It seems Wilson-Raybould, in 2017, recommended Glenn Joyal, chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, to replace the retiring Beverley McLachlin as chief justice of the Supreme Court — a recommendation Justin Trudeau ultimately rejected. Bilingual, Oxford-trained, a former Crown attorney with 20 years’ experience on the bench, Joyal was on a short-list prepared by the prime minister’s own “independent, non-partisan” advisory board for the occasion.

Alas, it seems he failed some other tests. According to CP’s sources, the pick “puzzled” Trudeau, who became “disturbed” after “doing some research into Joyal’s views on the charter.” It turned out he had given a speech to a conservative legal foundation earlier that year in which he had made some mildly critical comments about judicial activism (“With the ‘constitutionalizing’ of more and more political and social issues into fundamental rights, the Canadian judiciary has all but removed those issues … from the realm of future civic engagement and future political debate” gives you the flavour).

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This is a bog-standard statement of the conservative position on the relationship between courts and legislatures. It is utterly mainstream. But apparently this so “disturbed” Trudeau that, as CTV reports, it “caused (him) to question his justice minister’s judgment.”

Several points are worth noting about this obviously deliberate leak. One is the casual violation of the very confidentiality provisions that are supposedly so sacred to Trudeau that he cannot fully release Wilson-Raybould, even today, from their clutches.

The second is the willingness, in the service of undermining the credibility of the former attorney general, to smear not only her — apparently in addition to being “difficult” and “in it …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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