Secularism: the complaint against the ex-chief justice rejected

Laïcité: la plainte contre l’ex-juge en chef rejetée

The canadian judicial Council will not consider the complaint against Nicole Duval Hesler filed in the wake of the challenge to the law on secularism, deeming that it no longer has jurisdiction to decide the question due to the retirement of the chief justice.

The initial complaint had been filed on the 28th November last by the historian and candidate for the leadership of the Parti québécois, Frédéric Bastien. Nearly five months later, the body in charge of analyzing complaints against judges appointed by the federal government received a no-go.

Laïcité: la plainte contre l’ex-juge en chef rejetée

Nicole Duval Hesler
Ex-chief justice of the Court of appeal

The missive, dated April 21, justifies the departure to the retirement of the former chief justice Duval Hesler, April 8, ensures that the canadian judicial Council (CJC) has no more authority to pronounce on the merits of the complaint.

We wrote there that it was decided “in the past” that the resignation or retirement of a judge puts an end to the jurisdiction of the council in such matters.

“The chief judge [Glenn] Joyal [who is the vice-chairman of the committee on the conduct of the judges of the CCM] concludes that it would not be in the public interest to pursue this complaint” means the document, signed by the ex-chief justice of the supreme Court of Nova Scotia and current interim executive director of the CCM, J. Michael MacDonald.

Allegations of bias

Mr. Bastien was alleged that the chief justice of the Quebec Court of appeal to have evidence of bias during the hearing of the challenge to the law on secularity. It was one of the three judges composing the bench which heard the appeal.

The chief justice, who was described as’ allergies visual ” quest for the law on secularism, has finally registered a sharp dissent in a judgment rejecting to provisionally suspend the effects of the act 21.

“It is a curious coincidence. It took five months before having a reaction to the CCM. It falls two weeks after the judge has retired. And there it is said : “She retired, and it doesn’t matter anymore”, ” responded Frédéric Bastien in an interview to the Newspaper.

“What it makes me think is, “this is a decision indulgent towards a colleague” ” has added.

Missed opportunity

According to Mr. Bastien, it is a missed opportunity to clarify the scope of the freedom of action of judges, that this is their ” social role, the kind of language that they can hold or not, the types of organizations to which they can speak or not.”

Since the departure of Ms. Duval Hesler, it is the judge puînée Marie-France Bich, who assumes the acting as the chief justice.

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