‘Quintupling down’: Ford shows no sign of backing away from ‘like-minded’ judges comments

Click to play video: 'Premier Ford defends former staffers on judge selection committee'
Premier Ford defends former staffers on judge selection committee
RELATE: Ontario Premier Doug Ford is defending his government’s appointments of two former staffers to a committee that helps select provincial judges, saying he’s not going to put Liberals or New Democrats in those roles. Global News Queen's Park bureau chief Colin D'Mello reports – Feb 23, 2024

Premier Doug Ford is “quintupling down” on his pledge to hire “like-minded” judges to provincial courtrooms, amid growing concern in the legal community about the independence of Ontario’s judicial system.

The Ford government has faced weeks of questions and criticism after the attorney general added two former employees of the Premier’s Office – both of whom are currently registered lobbyists — to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee.

Ford, who has staunchly defended his position, showed no signs of backing down in the face of persistent pushback on Wednesday.

“I’m proud of it,” Ford said during question period. “I’m proud to go out there and tell the people that are seeing violence in their homes, violence on the streets, violence in our subways that we’re gonna get judges to keep these criminals in jail.”

Ontario Liberal MPP Stephen Blais said there was a “clear conflict of interest” in having former political staff who are currently registered to lobby sit on the advisory panel.

Story continues below advertisement

Doug Judson with the Federation of Ontario Law Associations said Ford’s comments on judicial appointments “suggests there would be a hand on the scale” during court proceedings and a comparison to the selection process for United States Supreme Court judges.

“These appointments are deliberately partisan, they go through a deliberately partisan litmus test to get on the court and then suddenly we’re supposed to accept that there are no partisan strings attaching to them,” Judson said. “It’s almost a little bit too cute.”

The Federation of Ontario Law Associations occupies one of the 13 seats on the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, alongside other judges, lawyers, and members of the community.

The premier’s latest comments come as the Law Society of Ontario works to fill its seat on the advisory committee, which offers judicial appointment recommendations to Ontario’s Attorney General.

A spokesperson for the Law Society of Ontario told Global News the nomination process is “confidential” and said that it has not received an update from the attorney general’s office on the timing of the society’s nominee to the advisory committee.

The attorney general’s office said the law society had “previously” sent a list of candidates for the seat.

“The Attorney General is currently reviewing their proposed recommendations,” a spokesperson said.


Sponsored content