OTTAWA – The Conservative government is sending a federal court judge to the Quebec Court of Appeal, opening up the possibility that Robert Mainville will fill the next Quebec vacancy on the high court following the rejected appointment of Marc Nadon.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced in a press release late Friday afternoon that Mainville will be appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal effective July 1.
As reported in the Globe and Mail, Mainville was one of three candidates from the Federal Court of Appeal – which included Nadon – on a shortlist to replace outgoing Supreme Court justice Morris Fish.
But Nadon’s appointment was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court because he did not come from one of two courts in Quebec, and was not a current member of the Quebec bar.
One of three Quebec judges on the high court, Louis LeBel, recently announced he would retire from the Supreme Court on Nov. 30 when he hits retirement age of 75.
Global News reported in May that prior to his appointment, the prime minister’s office suggested to Nadon that he resign and join the Quebec bar. He didn’t, and his appointment was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court.
A transfer to a Quebec court would be a “safer route,” University of Ottawa civil law professor Sebastien Grammond told Global News last month.
“What people will say or think of that, that’s another issue.”
According to the release, Mainville was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal in 2010, after a Federal Court appointment in June 2009.
He joined the Quebec Bar in 1976 and until his appointment in 2009, was a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson in Montréal where he headed the national practice group on aboriginal law.
As is standard, Mainville would have resigned from the bar when he was appointed a judge.
Some nine months after Nadon’s botched appointment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Quebec Court of Appeal judge Clement Gascon to the high court earlier this month.
Gascon spent 10 years as a member of the Quebec Superior Court before joining the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2012.