Appearances hurt Jolin-Barrette's judge friend, liberals say

Appearances hurt Jolin-Barrette's judge friend, liberals say

Appearances are harmful to the judge friend of Jolin-Barrette, according to the liberals

Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “Perception is tainted, but on the person of judge Gosselin, nothing allows me to believe that he will not be a good judge, said Tuesday the Liberal interim leader Marc Tanguay. It’s about the process and about the perception.”

The Liberal Opposition believes that Judge Charles-Olivier Gosselin's appearance of independence is tainted by his friendship with the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, who personally appointed him to the Court of Quebec City earlier this month.

Interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay said Tuesday that the appointment is problematic.

“The Minister of Justice appoints his boyfriend, he said in a press briefing. There is a problem in the perception that people may have of the independence of judicial administration. »

Mr. Tanguay nevertheless remained cautious about the duties exercised by Judge Gosselin in the Criminal Division of the Court of Quebec, where he was appointed on May 3.

“The perception is tainted, but on the nobody from Judge Gosselin, nothing leads me to believe that he will not be a good judge, he said. It's about the process and about the perception. »

The interim Liberal leader would not say whether Mr. Gosselin can stay in office. Mr. Tanguay recalled that the Ethics Commissioner of the National Assembly opened an investigation into this matter at the request of the Liberals last week.

“We will see, we have asked It's up to the Ethics Commissioner to look into it, we'll see what she says about it, but for us there was a big problem,” he explained.

Regulate the process

Commissioner Ariane Mignolet has agreed to investigate under the Liberals' complaint, which alleges an appearance of favoritism and a breach of section 16 of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The Minister studied law with Charles-Olivier Gosselin. They see each other two or three times a year. In 2015, Mr. Jolin-Barrette celebrated the wedding of his personal friend.

On Tuesday, Marc Tanguay showed himself in favor of a modification of the regulations governing the process of appointing judges to prevent a minister from appointing a friend by concealing his ties.

“If he had to be put at Simon Jolin-Barrette clearly in the law that, normally, if it's your boyfriend, you say it and then you withdraw, if you have to put it in the law for the future, let's put it in the law, “said he said.

At the center of the controversy last week, Mr. Jolin-Barrette had not ruled out changing the regulations on this subject. He reiterated that intention on Tuesday.

“I always said I was open,” he said as he left the Blue Room after question period.

Premier François Legault agreed , during a press briefing earlier on Tuesday.

“Simon Jolin-Barrette said that in the future, if it's someone he knows, he will inform the Council of Ministers, he said. I think it's a good decision. »

Appointment in Sept-Îles

In the House, the Liberals returned to the charge by questioning the minister on his decision to order the resumption of competitions for the judiciary after an initial selection process. Deputy André A. Morin referred to the case of the Palais de justice de Sept-Îles, where Mr. Jolin-Barrette appointed a lawyer from Longueuil after receiving an initial list of finalists from an independent committee responsible for sorting nominations.

“Cancelling a competition to nominate a judge is not an easy task, it requires exceptional circumstances,” said Mr. Morin.

Simon Jolin-Barrette stated that the regulations on the selection of judges provide that the Minister may cancel a competition, when it is in the interest of justice, and that nothing prohibits the appointment to the bench of lawyers who practiced in another region.

“All of the appointments I have made, 71 in number, have been made with the utmost integrity,” he said.

Mr. Jolin-Barrette previously revealed that he has ordered the resumption of five competitions since he was Minister of Justice.