Quebec Court of Appeal judge nominated to Supreme Court of Canada

OTTAWA— Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ditched a public hearing he created to bring transparency and accountability to the secretive way that Supreme Court of Canada judges are picked, tossing it aside for his latest appointment.

On Tuesday, Harper elevated Quebec Court of Appeal judge Clément Gascon to the empty Quebec seat on the Supreme Court, saying his government consulted Quebec’s head judges of the senior trial and appellate courts, as well as the Canadian, Quebec and Montreal bar associations. The list did not include Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin .

Gascon, a civil and commercial law expert, replaces Morris Fish, who retired last year. Harper’s first pick for the job — Federal Court of Appeal judge Marc Nadon — saw his appointment invalidated by the Supreme Court.

In naming Gascon as his new appointee to the top court, Harper, who was en route to Poland, said the appointment will be effective June 9. The new judge will not appear before a public parliamentary committee.

 “ the move is unsurprising, given all that happened and ‘the need for speed’,”

And the Conservative government is making no promises for the future, saying the overall Supreme Court judicial selection process is now under review, due to unspecified “leaks” of confidential information.


Gascon served on Quebec’s highest court for barely two years but spent 10 years on the province’s superior trial court before that. The Chrétien government appointed him in 2002.


To find out more

This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.