Focus On

Trudeau names members of advisory board to pick Supreme Court justice

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 1:53 PM | By Paula Kulig

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the members of an advisory board who will help the government select the next justice of the Supreme Court of Canada to fill a vacancy when Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retires in December.

The seven-member advisory board, announced on July 17, is chaired by former prime minister Kim Campbell and includes four members nominated by independent professional organizations. The independent, nonpartisan board will review candidates who apply by Sept. 15 and submit a short list of three to five individuals to be considered by the prime minister.

The board will follow the Liberal government’s new Supreme Court appointments process, which was put in place last summer to fill a vacancy when Justice Thomas Cromwell retired. Qualified candidates must be functionally bilingual and, in this case, come from western Canada or the northern territories.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and the board’s chair will appear before Parliament to discuss the selection process. Members of Parliament and senators from all parties will also have the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session with the nominee, before she or he is appointed to the top court. After a new justice is in place, the prime minister will select the next chief justice.

"The new approach launched last year to select justices of the Supreme Court proved highly successful,” Trudeau said in a news release. “I am delighted that the advisory board will again be chaired by former prime minister Kim Campbell, and I welcome the newest member, Ms. Sheila MacPherson, to this important board.”

In addition to Campbell, the advisory board includes the following members:

  • Camille Cameron, dean of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University and chair of the Canadian Council of Law Deans;
  • Stephen Kakfwi, former premier of the Northwest Territories and president of the Dene Nation;
  • Sheila MacPherson, president-elect of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, a senior lawyer in Yellowknife and the law clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories;
  • Lili-Anna Pereša, president and executive director of Centraide of Greater Montreal;
  • Richard J. Scott, former chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Appeal, and a counsel, arbitrator and mediator with Winnipeg law firm Hill Sokalski Walsh Olson LLP; and
  • Susan Ursel, a senior partner with Toronto law firm Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP, and chair of the Canadian component of the African Legal Research Team.