HALIFAX – Advocates who had hoped the Liberal government would appoint an aboriginal or other racial minority to the country’s top court say they’re disappointed that Ottawa has instead opted to choose a judge based on regional representation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday he’s recommending Justice Malcolm Rowe of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Supreme Court of Canada, following the constitutional precedent of regional choices.
The federal Liberals had been under fire for indicating their selection process would not necessarily follow the custom.
Robert Wright, a black social worker who has pushed for diversity on the Nova Scotia bench, says he believes the Liberal government relented under pressure, and could have done more to convince the public of the need for racial diversity.
A report in Policy Options magazine estimated earlier this year that just one per cent of Canada’s 2,160 judges in the provincial superior and lower courts are aboriginal, while three per cent are racial minorities.
Wright argues the principle of diversity that lies beneath appointing people from different regions needed to be altered to recognize the increasing number of Canadians from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.