Copyright © Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
Thursday February 23, 2006
For almost two years, the federal government has been
edging, ever so timidly, toward greater openness in its
selection of Supreme Court justices. So it is a relief to see
Stephen Harper take an all-important missing step in that

The Prime Minister has asked parliamentarians to interview
his upcoming nominee next month in televised hearings
before the appointment is confirmed. "I believe the public
deserves to know more about the individuals appointed to
serve there and the method by which they are appointed,"
he announced yesterday. "A public hearing is an
unprecedented step in this direction."

It is also a worthy step in Mr. Harper's drive to bring
greater accountability to government appointments. The
previous Liberal government did make significant reforms to
the traditional system of closed-door appointments. But
former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler did virtually
everything he could to forestall any crucial parliamentary
examination of the prime minister's nominee to replace
retiring justice John Major.

Mr. Harper's decision builds on the tentative Liberal
process, to include hearings. Mr. Cotler's process stipulated
that, after final selection, the minister would appear before
the Commons justice committee to explain the process and
the candidate's qualifications. The candidate would not
To let MPs interview the top court's nominee
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