CIL was pleased to see the announcement that Justice Mary Moreau, a francophone judge in Alberta, will be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. This announcement underscores the importance of having a Supreme Court that reflects the many different groups of people across Canada. We need voices on the highest court from judges of a variety of backgrounds, from various provinces. As a francophone judge from the prairies, we hope Justice Moreau will bring a unique approach to the cases that make their way to the SCC.
CIL was particularly impressed with Justice Moreau’s interview with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA). Here is an excerpt of her answers.
I think the most useful tools I developed as a lawyer then as a judge came from my experience as an undergrad philosophy student. I was always curious (annoyingly so according to reliable sources).
Counsel and judges are being called on more and more to take on a resolution-focused role. They should be taking advantage of any early opportunity to peel away the layers preventing resolution of the dispute, get to the heart of the issue, and present creative ways of moving forward. I think restorative justice principles based on restoring the well-being of those whose lives have been affected by wrongdoing or injustice are a useful staging ground for reconciliation in all types of disputes.
As you may be aware from Alastair Clarke’s biography online, he also completed an undergrad philosophy degree. He concurs with Justice Moreau that an education in philosophy may assist with legal analysis. Philosophy is key to understanding important legal concepts and examining fact patterns from different perspectives.
In addition, Alastair Clarke is also a strong advocate for restorative justice principles and creative solutions. During his testimony to Parliament, he encouraged the Government of Canada to take a collaborative approach to decision-making. Here is an excerpt of Mr Clarke’s testimony to the Members of Parliament:
My last point relates to a collaborative approach.
Part of the reason I was attracted to this area of law is that it is generally non-confrontational. To deal with minor issues, I can easily call a CMO at the IRB, a Superintendent at a POE, an inland enforcement officer or a lawyer at the DOJ. Dealing with IRCC, by contrast, is a constant struggle. When an IRCC Officer makes a clear mistake, there is no easy mechanism to get it fixed. In my view, the Request for Reconsideration system is broken and MPs are far too often put in the difficult position to act intermediaries. Bad decisions by Visa Officers are often easy to appeal to Federal Court but judicial reviews expend a huge amount of time and resources for both the applicants and the government.
Based on our review, it does not appear that Justice Moreau has significant experience dealing with immigration issues. Hopefully she will find some time to learn this area of law. We wish her and the SCC all the best.