Above: In an exclusive interview with Global News, Marc Nadon reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada rejecting his nomination to the High Court. Jacques Bourbeau reports.
OTTAWA – Justice Marc Nadon says he has not taken his one potential lifeline and applied to the Quebec bar to save his position on the Supreme Court of Canada.
“I haven’t applied to the bar. So leave it at that,” Nadon told Global News exclusively.
Nadon was declared ineligible Friday to sit on the top bench, because he came from the Federal Court and did not meet the criteria of either coming from the Quebec Superior Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal, or being a current member of the Quebec bar.
In his first public remarks since Friday’s explosive decision, Nadon said he hasn’t applied to the bar and gave no indication that he would.
“I’ve been living in limbo, you know, since October, so at least this has certainly ended the uncertainty,” he said.
“It’s not a shock, but I mean it’s been going on for six months, so I’m a bit like a diver who’s been under water for too long. So I need to take some fresh air a bit, and breathe.”
He said he learned about the decision Friday when his friend called him at his Montebello, Que. country home.
“I found out like everyone else. A friend of mine called me to tell me,” he said. “I think I’m an intelligent man. I was prepared for either or.”
The court ruled Friday that Nadon, a semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal justice, did not have the proper qualifications laid out in the Supreme Court Act for a Quebec nominee to the top bench. The government’s efforts to rewrite the rules were also thwarted.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Conservative government intends to respect the Supreme Court’s decision to deny Nadon the chance to occupy the vacant Quebec seat. But he added the government is still reviewing the decision about Nadon’s eligibility.
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Nadon said he has not been consulted on the government’s plans.
“I’m not consulted on these things. I’m not part of the political process,” he said.
“I know it affects me, but the whole thing affects me. But it’s one of those things, what can I say? Life has unexpected surprises. That’s all I can say.”
He did not answer as to whether he feels caught in the middle of a public battle between the Harper government and the court.
“I think I’m obviously a capable judge, but I can’t go in the public place and start arguing with those who have written nasty articles,” he said.
He said he does not know if he will have to pay back what he has earned in salary since October – an estimated $146,500.
“It’s the government’s decision, so we shall see,” he said.
For the time being, Nadon is back to his previous position as a Federal Court of Appeal judge.
“Give me a time to decant my wine a bit,” he said.
Meanwhile, documents tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday show it cost nearly $245,000 to select and appoint Nadon to the court.
The amount includes almost $153,000 for translation and professional services, and almost $81,000 in legal services.
It was not immediately clear what those services entailed.
It’s not the most expensive of the last five appointments – it cost almost $344,000 to appoint Justice Richard Wagner in Oct 2012 and $313,872 to appoint Justices Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis in October 2011.
But the legal fees were the highest since 2006, according to the documents.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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