Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:31
Okay. Thank you very much.
Ms. Campbell, I want to ask about your process with respect to the advisory committee. I'll tell you that it's with the background of trying to understand how to deal with a leak. As you know, a leak occurred in the last process that you chaired.
When did you learn about the leak from the last process that you chaired?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:32
Let me say that the leak was not from our process. After we present our short list to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, in partnership with the Minister of Justice and all the other interlocutors, including, I think, critics, has an ongoing series of conversations. One thing our advisory board is not mandated to do is to select candidates based on their philosophy. Now, if there were candidates who had views that might be considered more extreme in some way, or unconventional, we might certainly mention this, but it is up to the Prime Minister and his post-short list process to determine some compatibility or philosophical views. There is a process that goes on after our committee.
There has never been a leak from our committee, and nor, I think, would there be.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:33
That's very good to know.
Minister Lametti just indicated, though, in his opening remarks that he took strict measures in dealing with this unacceptable disclosure by talking about making changes to the advisory committee's mandate. If the advisory committee wasn't the source of the leak, why would Minister Lametti feel the need to talk to the advisory committee about the previous leak?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:33
I don't know. I think he addressed that, but we have a very strict commitment to confidentiality, including not identifying who any of the candidates are. There has never been any suggestion that any of the members of the three committees have ever breached that confidentiality, nor would they.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:34
The retired justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Louis LeBel sat on your committee this time and commented regarding the leak from the advisory process the last time, saying it was very serious because the process is a very delicate matter.
Did he bring up any concerns about confidentiality during this process?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:34
Not particularly, because we were obviously so devoted to it and so very careful to maintain that confidentiality.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:34
Did you take any steps to determine and ensure that there was no leak of confidentiality from your advisory committee? I know you said there wasn't, but I'm just wondering if you called anybody. Did you talk to the minister? Did you talk to PCO?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:34
I don't think it was necessary. We worked with the commissioner for federal judicial affairs. We worked on our documents on secure tablets—very carefully controlled. We always left our documents in the meeting room and the clear commitment.... We signed an undertaking to maintaining confidentiality, so the process was well established. I just want to repeat that there has been no indication of any leak ever coming from a member of the committee.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:35
So the Privacy Commissioner—
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:35
If anything, we were sort of tip-toeing around and were often afraid, even among ourselves. When we ate dinner together we went someplace where people wouldn't even realize who we were and what we were doing.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:35
That's tough for you to do, I would imagine, Ms. Campbell.
The reason I ask is that, of course, we are concerned about the leak and the way it happened. The Privacy Commissioner is concerned as well and is investigating the leak. His officials can't interview the minister's office or the Prime Minister's Office.
I'm wondering if he had a conversation with you to understand the confidentiality around the advisory committee.
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:35
Well, no, because there's never been any suggestion that this confidentiality has been breached.
I'm delighted—this is good for your committee obviously to be concerned about, but the nature of the leak, such as it was, is that it very clearly was not from the committee process.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:36
Thank you very much.
Minister Lametti, you gave an interview to The Lawyer's Daily in April in which you indicated that you were very confident that the leak did not come from the Department of Justice or from officials in the Prime Minister's Office.
Ms. Campbell is now saying that it didn't come from her advisory committee. Where did the leak come from?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
I don't know. The Privacy Commissioner has stated that he has opened an investigation into the matter, and I'm not going to comment on his ongoing investigation. I will say that federal departments will co-operate fully with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and that I took steps in this current process both in terms of limiting the number of people who had access to the process within my department, as well as segregating the server and doing everything securely that we needed to do to make sure that there was no breach of privacy from my department.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:37
You did indicate—
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Sorry, but we're out of time.
Ms. Khalid.
View Iqra Khalid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you to the Right Honourable Kim Campbell and to Minister Lametti for coming in today and advising us of the process that took place.
I will start my questions with the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.
Ms. Campbell, in 2017 when you appeared before the committee, you talked about some of the barriers we faced with respect to appointing or having candidates who were women or minorities or indigenous. You outlined today that out of the 12 candidates, one was a woman and there were no indigenous candidates.
Were any minorities part of the candidates?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:37
I don't think there were any who self-identified in that way, and it is a self-identification.
The committee was concerned, because we are, of course, limited to evaluating those who apply.
View Iqra Khalid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Right.
In 2016 there were 22 days to submit an application. Then in 2017 there were 63 days. This time around there were 30 days.
You talked about some of the processes in which you reached out to various organizations in Quebec. Do you think this time frame was sufficient to get the quality of candidates for the Supreme Court we were looking for?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:38
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.
View Iqra Khalid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
You also spoke in your remarks about the diversity of opinion on the benches as well. When we're talking specifically about provinces and the allotment from our Constitution with respect to members from certain provinces on the benches, how do the provincial laws and policies—in Quebec, I will refer specifically to Bill 21 and its long-term effects—impact the diversity of Supreme Court nominees who are being appointed to the bench? How does that impact the overall laws and the shaping of laws within Canada?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:41
That's a question I can't really answer. You have to follow the cases that go through. I would say that on the basis of the candidates who were presented to us, we felt there was a strong commitment to serve not just Quebec but to serve Canada, and consistent with the existing law of the charter. I think these are issues that are certainly beyond my purview to answer.
View Iqra Khalid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
We talked about diversity. What was the main or the primary objective? Was there any consideration given to who the current members of the Supreme Court are and to collegiality, to avoid things like groupthink, as you mentioned? What were some of the considerations that were taken in choosing the right candidates to be shortlisted, to ensure the diversity of opinion on the bench?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:42
In the three processes we had different mixes of candidates, including different types of diversity, but we don't simply leave it at that. One issue we explore when we are interviewing candidates is to draw them out on their experience, knowledge and understanding of the diversity of Canadian life. Somebody might not be the member of a self-identified group that we think of, broadly, as diverse. What we want to know is, in their life, in their experience and in their work, how familiar they are with the challenges faced by the many communities in Canada who may be less represented in the administration of justice. That kind of cultural and diversity literacy is for us a very important part of the outlook we would like to find in candidates who would be playing such an important role on the final court of the land.
Ideally, we will have more candidates who will represent these communities themselves, but that is not sufficient. We don't just ignore it from somebody who is not from a diverse community. We really do want to know how much they understand of the realities of the lives that Canadians lead.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
Ms. Moore now has the floor.
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I would like to go back briefly to the short list submitted to the Prime Minister.
According to media reports, the person selected for this appointment was the first choice of the Government of Quebec, but no one can confirm or deny this information.
Do you think it would be preferable, while of course keeping the names of the other candidates confidential, that the Government of Quebec or the advisory board have permission to confirm whether the candidate selected by the Prime Minister was their first choice?
From what I understand, we make recommendations. So the Prime Minister could very well, even if this is very rarely the case, choose someone who is not on the list of recommendations, or not choose the first choice of the advisory board, but rather the second or third person on the list.
Would it be better if the Prime Minister could confirm that he opted for the first choice on the list? This would give us the assurance that he respects the non-partisan will of the various people who submitted recommendations.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
The question is clearly intended for me.
I do not agree with this proposal. According to the Supreme Court Act, this decision belongs to the Prime Minister , i.e. the governor in council. We do not want to weaken the Prime Minister's ability to make the best choice, in his opinion. He accepts the recommendations, of course, but it is up to him to decide.
I made recommendations based on the consultations I had conducted here in Ottawa. If I had disclosed my recommendations and my Quebec counterpart had done the same, it would have given an idea of the short list submitted to the Prime Minister and thus reduced the confidentiality of the process. We want to protect the privacy of the candidates who applied, especially those on the short list.
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
I understand that we must be careful about what information we are allowed to disclose or not. However, should we not at least know whether the Prime Minister followed the recommendations of the advisory board or whether he decided to move in his own direction? Would that not be transparency?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
The problem is that if I make a recommendation that is not included in the final decision, journalists and you, my parliamentary colleagues around the table, will ask me who I recommended. It would become too difficult to protect the confidentiality of the process. It is also necessary to protect, with all due respect, the ability of the Prime Minister to make his own choice.
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