I would say that the quality of candidates was outstanding in all three processes. I think our committee members come away very encouraged by the quality of people who do apply, but one of the things is that people have to apply. In the past, when we would get a nomination where, for example, somebody would write to us and say, “I nominate so-and-so to be a candidate”, I would immediately contact that person and say, “Your name has been forwarded to us as an outstanding candidate for the Supreme Court of Canada. Would you please review these materials? If you are interested in being considered, I warmly encourage you to apply.” That was the best we could do. In many cases, people feel shy about applying: “Am I being too arrogant?” It's nice for them to be able to say that they were asked to apply.
It's something that maybe even the members of your committee might want to think about. If you think there are people you know in the areas where the seats are vacant, there would be nothing wrong with a member of Parliament writing to say, “I'd like to have so-and-so considered.” Then I or a subsequent chair might write to that person, tell them their name was forwarded—we wouldn't say who forwarded it—as an outstanding candidate, and warmly encourage them to apply.
I think the more ways we can overcome people's reluctance to apply, the better. It might well be something that members of your committee, who are very engaged with this issue, might want to address as a committee or just do as interested members of the committee.