How Transparent are our Courts?

By Jacob Zeigel, The National Post, 10 November 2005

The story of Harriet Miers' withdrawal of her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court contains important lessons not just for Americans, but for our country as well. It is a poignant reminder of the value of a transparent and democratic appointments process, and of the impressive results that can result from giving interest groups ample opportunities to make their views known.

The Canadian appointments system is the exact opposite, continuing to be shrouded in secrecy and treating Canadians as dependents who need the superior guidance of an all-wise federal government. It is ironic this should be so, since the Supreme Court of Canada Act, which governs appointments to the court, is not entrenched in the Canadian constitution -- unlike in the United States. It therefore gives the federal government more -- not fewer -- opportunities to introduce meaningful transparency and accountability to the appointments process. [...]

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Photo: by Philippe Landreville, Supreme Court of Canada website