Opposition Says Supreme Court Ne‎eds

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(709) 753-6043


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20, 2016


For Immediate Release




Opposition Says Supreme Court Ne‎eds Newfoundland and Labrador Appointee


Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said, "When the Prime Minister of the country is going out of his way to promote diversity and inclusiveness, the exclusion of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from‎ Supreme Court appointments for our entire time as a province is a wrong that needs to be righted."


Davis said, "The highest court in our land makes decisions that shape who we are and how we live. They decide how the balances will be struck when there are competing interests among the partners of Confederation, and they decide which issues will be their priorities and which they will ignore. The court needs to have the benefit of a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective when making these fundamental decisions."


He said, "For more than 67 years since Newfoundland and Labrador became Canada's tenth province, our province has been overlooked when Supreme Court positions needed to be filled. Our province has produced jurists of the highest calibre, qualified to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best anywhere in the country, and it's time for one of them to be appointed to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so Canadians can benefit from having this fundamental injustice corrected. The oversight is shameful.


"It is traditional for appointees to be named according to the province that they are from - and Quebec, because of its unique judicial system in the country, gets more than its share of those appointments‎. By tradition, the other appointees are determined with sensitivity to their province or region of origin, which implicitly recognizes that the place of origin of the judges is a matter of fundamental importance and at the heart of the fairness and balance of the highest court in the land.


"So, where is our voice on the Supreme Court? Who is there to speak up about matters that profoundly affect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?" Davis asked.


Davis said, "Bilingualism must not be a barrier. Any judge can work on improving their second-language skills while benefiting from the expertise of interpreters and language translation technologies, and I imagine many of them do, because many who claim to be bilingual are more comfortable and conversant in one language than in another.


"‎Bilingualism is not an acceptable reason for tolerating the injustice of having one province excluded from Supreme Court appointments for our entire time as a province, when the court's rulings have had - and will continue to have - such a profound impact on our lives and our place in this country. It's time to correct this injustice."






Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca


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