Canada announces new selection process for Supreme Court justices

Added On August 3, 2016

OTTAWA, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Canada will change the way it selects Supreme Court justices, allowing qualified lawyers or judges to apply for the openings on the top court themselves, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

In Canada, the prime minister picks Supreme Court justices and the choice is not subject to parliamentary approval.

"Gone are the days of governments -- Liberal and Conservative alike -- nominating Supreme Court justices through a secretive backroom process," Trudeau said.

Under the new system, any qualified Canadian lawyer or judge who is functionally bilingual and representative of the diversity of Canada can nominate themselves for the top court's job.

The application period will end on Aug. 24 this year just before Justice Thomas Cromwell retires in September this year.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell will chair a seven-member, non-partisan advisory board who will recommend three to five candidates to Trudeau for consideration. But their recommendations are non-binding.

The eventual nominees will be questioned by lawmakers of all parties.

The previous selection system sparked controversy when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper tapped Marc Nadon, a semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal judge, for one of three slots reserved for judges from Quebec on the top court. The Supreme Court rejected Harper's pick, saying Nadon was not qualified.