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Doug Ford wants more judges who 'think like him'

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Doug Ford continues to be questioned about the appointment of two of his former political advisors to a provincial advisory committee, and about the comments he made on the justice system.

  • Camille Gris Roy (View profile)Camille Gris Roy

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The Ontario Premier continues to defend his vision of the judicial appointment process. Doug Ford insists that his government was elected to appoint people who “think like him”. At Queen's Park, the opposition accuses the Progressive Conservatives of interference in the justice system.

Doug Ford persists and signs: he has no problem justifying the appointment of two of his former employees to a committee (New window) which advises the government on the selection of provincial judges.

Since last Friday, the Prime Minister has been repeating on the contrary that his government is, in his opinion, entirely entitled to choose individuals who share his opinions – in this case, who believe like him that judges must be more severe.

I'm beyond fed up with judges releasing people on bail. And not once, but twice, three times, four times, even eight times, said Doug Ford during question period Tuesday, in response to the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) who asked him if he was going to retract , in the face of the controversy that his comments aroused.

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The prosecutor Ontario General Doug Downey is responsible for appointing most of the members of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. (Archive photo)

The Attorney General of Ontario, Doug Downey, stands behind the positions of his Prime Minister. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what judicial independence is. We are democratically elected to select judges, and they then enjoy their independence, he interprets.

Shocking and scandalous comments for the leader of the NDP. Marit Stiles accuses the government of engaging in an Americanization of the process of appointing judges and the justice system, by attempting to politicize the courts.

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Meanwhile, she says, the government is not solving the problems overload of the courts of justice.

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New Democrat leader Marit Stiles denounced Doug Ford's comments. (File photo)

MP Lucille Collard, spokesperson for the Ontario Liberal Party of justice, calls on progressive conservatives to do their homework.

I think the government would need to revise the principle of judicial independence, which is really the cornerstone on which our country, our province operates.

A quote by Lucille Collard, parliamentary leader of the liberal caucus

It’s also a question of perception, she continues. Judges must be able to make a decision without interference, without influence from the government. It erodes public confidence in our justice system.

The Society of Litigators, a national organization that represents more of 6,000 litigators – the majority in Ontario – wrote a letter to Mr. Ford this week to raise concerns about his comments and the damage they may cause.

Governments must, through a solid and transparent appointment process, free from any political partisanship, appoint judges who are qualified, neutral, principled, impartial, and representative of Canadian society, writes the president of The Society of Pleaders, Dominique Hussey.

The fact whether a candidate shares the same beliefs as the government in place or is a member of the ruling party should never be taken into account in the selection.

A quote from Dominique Hussey, president of The Society of Litigators

The Criminal Lawyers' Association, which represents 1,800 criminal lawyers in Ontario, also sent a missive to the Prime Minister on Monday, recalling the importance of appointments based on merit and not political allegiances.

Last Friday, the Federation of Ontario Bar Associations declared that Doug Ford's comments reflect a childish understanding of an independent justice system.

  • Camille Gris Roy (Consult the profile)Camille Gris RoyFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116