April 16, 2008

Minister Calls for Newfoundland and Labrador Representation
on Supreme Court of Canada

The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said it is time for Newfoundland and Labrador to finally have representation on the highest court in the country. Due to the impending retirement of Mr. Justice Michel Bastarache, there will be a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada and Minister Kennedy has made representation to the Government of Canada to appoint a representative from this province.

"Since joining Canada in 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador has never had representation on the most important court in the country and the time is right to appoint a qualified member of the Newfoundland and Labrador judiciary to the Supreme Court of Canada," said Minister Kennedy. "Everyday the Supreme Court of Canada passes judgments which affect the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and I believe a serious oversight has occurred by not allowing our province a voice in these decisions."

The retirement of Mr. Justice Bastarache is effective at the end of the spring session in June 2008 and leaves an opening for an appointment from Atlantic Canada. Only Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have yet to receive representation on the Supreme Court and it is likely the replacement for Mr. Justice Bastarache will come from Atlantic Canada. As stated in the 2007 bluebook, the Williams� Government committed to make representation to the Government of Canada on this matter.

"While in Ottawa in early April, prior to Mr. Justice Bastarache�s retirement, I discussed this issue with Federal Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson," said Minister Kennedy. "I have now followed this conversation with a letter stating our government�s position, and that of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that the Government of Canada must ensure fairness and appoint a resident of our province to the Supreme Court of Canada."

"Newfoundland and Labrador has many judges who would provide exemplary service as a member of this prestigious court," said Minister Kennedy. "It is now time for the Government of Canada to include our province on the highest decision making court in the land."


Media contact:

Ken Morrissey
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
709-729-6985, 685-6612

2008 04 16                                                   12:10 p.m.


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