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Results: 1 - 15 of 742
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As members of the committee know, I've not been on this committee for some time—my colleague Yvon Godin has been—but I too am surprised at this stage, with the minister's observations coming in, some of which seem to me to be sensible, but others may be raising red herrings that are perhaps not pertinent to the substance of the bill.
My inclination would be to proceed, if it's the committee's intention, to clause-by-clause analysis, and in that context take up points made by the minister that are relevant and useful, but essentially stay on track where we are.
There have been a number of people before the committee—Mr. Kingsley and other experts—and I think, based on what we've heard, based on the original nature of the bill, and taking into account some of the minister's observations and his agreement in principle with the bill, that some of the very useful points he has made could be taken into account as we look at a clause-by-clause analysis. I think, speaking for my colleague on this committee, that would be the position we take.
If I have time also, since the minister did refer to electoral reform and the electoral process in general, I'd like to ask him, while he's here, what has happened to the proposals for electoral reform that this committee spent a fair bit of time on. I'm just wondering where we're going or where the government is going on that issue.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
In the rest of my time, if I could get that while he's here....
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I've listened with care to what has just been said, as I did with the minister, but if we proceed with the bill as it is now, it's going to be the Chief Electoral Officer's responsibility. He will set up a process, and it will be gazetted in some way and we'll know what the process is. It is true that we'll be giving him or her—him right now—the authority to establish the terms and conditions under which people are going to be hired.
As I heard in previous testimony from other provinces that have already done it, they've done it. I and my party would not be concerned if the returning officers ended up having the status of public servants or public employees.
If he wanted to establish the kind of pool for selecting people that has been suggested, he would have the authority under this act, it seems to me, to do that too.
So I'm prepared, in terms of the information that we've got so far from previous witnesses, to simply proceed without our complicating, in my view, the process by having other witnesses. Obviously, I would not do this if I had some real apprehension about the way Mr. Kingsley, in this case, would set up the conditions of employment.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chairman, are we still on the first subclause that was proposed for the amendment?
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Okay, but in terms of discussion, can we still go back to discuss the first one?
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I'd like an additional explanation about the change in the wording from the existing subclause, where it says “an open competition”, and so on. It seems to me to be more precise than the substituted wording. There may be some reason for the substituted wording, but it eludes me. Could we get an explanation?
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
It implicitly alludes to competition, I take it, for these positions, without using the word.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I don't know if this muddies the water or not, but I like the Bloc proposal. One of the advantages of saying “up to” as opposed to using the definitive ten years would be if you had someone who was very good for ten years and he or she would be happy to stay on for six more years but not another ten. It's an argument for some flexibility. As our Bloc colleague has mentioned, you can have a very good person who wouldn't be prepared to stay on longer.
I'm inclined to like the original wording of “up to”. There are a number of appointments that use that kind of language, and I think part of the reason is to give that additional flexibility for reappointing people.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I want to thank my colleagues and welcome our guests.
To preface my comment, I want to get at the selection process a bit, about a phrase that particularly Professor Russell used, about getting the best people. If I may, I want to raise the question, and you just said something about the importance of the appeal court, but to the Supreme Court level.
For the first time in my life, if I may say so as a parliamentarian, a political scientist, and someone who was very active in the constitutional change between 1980 and 1982, I was deeply shocked by the Supreme Court decision on the Quebec health care system, which I thought was a very bad decision. I, for the first time in my life, started thinking about the process of selecting our judges.
I followed with interest what's going on in the U.S. Particularly, I was struck by Ronald Dworkin's recent article, and I want to ask you what you think of it. This is about, how do we get the best people? Let me agree with the kind of process that you yourself have said is kind of a minimal level of reform, as I've listened to you.
Here's what he says about the importance of a judicial philosophy of senior appointments to the bench. He makes reference to the U.S. Constitution, obviously, but I think everything he says applies to our Constitution, and I'd like to get your response on it.
He's talking about how to get beyond the abstract language, say, that our charter is written in, or the equivalent writing in the U.S. Constitution, to making practical decisions. He says:
Judges can interpret that abstract language only by appealing to a vision of a desirable, workable form of democracy that they believe both fits and justifies the overall structure of the Constitution. They can then justify choosing one reading of the abstract clauses rather than another by explaining how that reading makes a better contribution to democracy so conceived.
He goes on, and broadly speaking, what he says is that it's of profound importance in appointing a person to the Supreme Court--and I would say the same now to our Supreme Court or to the courts of appeal, as you're talking about--that we understand their conception of democracy and the Constitution.
I would like each of you to respond, if you would. Do you think that is really important for legislators, to understand the kind of conceptual thinking of judges, potential judges? Is their ideology, their philosophy, very important; and if so, in terms of the process that you're recommending, how would that be dealt with?
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Would you recommend such a system?
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I don't want to be rude, but—
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Yes, that's what I wanted to ask.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
I'm not advocating the U.S. system. I'm advocating his argument and its applicability here.
View Ed Broadbent Profile
NDP (ON)
Well, I think I'll hear Mary Eberts on the same issue, and that's fine, Mr. Chair.
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