In an unprecedented gesture, the Minister of Justice of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, claimed on Monday a new survey of the Canadian Judicial Council (MAC) on the conduct of Justice Michel Girouard, the Quebec Superior Court.
Minister Wilson-Raybould is the first incumbent to challenge a recommendation by the CCM concerning the dismissal of a judge, said in an email his communications director, Michael Davis.
Appointed judge in 2010, Mr. Girouard was targeted by allegations that he would have bought a police informant drugs while still a lawyer, which had pushed the Chief Justice of the time, François Rolland, to submit the case to the CCM.
The CCM’s investigation committee had largely concluded in November 2015 that the judge should be removed from office – not because the information was true, but because of the contradictory testimony given by Judge Girouard during the hearings.
Despite the concerns expressed by the committee of inquiry, the CCM recommended retention of Judge Girouard in a report on April 20 at the Wilson-Raybould minister.
After reviewing the document, the Minister of Justice asked, with his Quebec counterpart, Stéphanie Vallée, a survey of conclusions “of the majority of committee members that prompted this committee to recommend that the judge be removed from office “.
This new investigation is needed because “the important purpose of the disciplinary process for judges” and “the critical role of integrity to inspire public confidence towards the judiciary”, pleaded ministers in communicated.
Under the Constitution, a judge may be removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament on the recommendation of the Judicial Council and the Minister of Justice.