Conservative Party critics Rob Nicholson, Michael Cooper and Rob Moore issued the following statement earlier today:
“Today, the Conservative Official Opposition introduced a motion calling on the Prime Minister to respect 141 years of Atlantic Canadian representation on the Supreme Court of Canada by appointing an Atlantic Canadian to fill the vacancy left by Justice Cromwell.
“It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to name Supreme Court justices in whichever fashion he deems appropriate. Our previous Conservative government appointed judges according to merit and legal excellence, and we expect this to continue.
“Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s Supreme Court appointment process does not guarantee at least one justice on the Supreme Court will hail from Atlantic Canada. If the Prime Minister appointed someone from outside Atlantic Canada to replace Justice Cromwell, it would leave the Court without Atlantic Canadian representation for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court. Moreover, it would leave Atlantic Canada as the only region without representation on the Court.
“This Liberal appointment process demonstrates a fundamental disrespect by government for the Atlantic region, as well as the many high-calibre jurists and lawyers from the region who are eminently qualified to fill this vacancy.
“The exclusion of Atlantic Canada also violates a constitutional convention guaranteeing Atlantic Canadian representation on the Court, which in turn raises serious legal questions about the constitutionality of an appointment from outside Atlantic Canada.
“While all 32 Liberal MPs from Atlantic Canada have to-date been silent on this critical issue, our motion presents them with a choice. They can join Conservatives by standing in support of Atlantic Canada or they can stand by the Prime Minister’s objectionable appointment process to shut-out Atlantic Canada from the Court. The choice is clear.”