Canada’s judiciary system must decide what training judges need, chief justice says
Canada’s top judge says the judiciary must be free to decide what training and education judges need to do their jobs well.
Richard Wagner, chief justice of the Supreme Court, made the comments Wednesday in a speech to the Canadian Bar Association — just two weeks after the Trudeau government introduced legislation that would require new judges to commit to training in sexual-assault law before taking seats on the bench.
Bill C-5 revives a private member’s bill introduced several years ago by former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, which stalled in the Senate and died when Parliament dissolved for last fall’s election.
However, the new bill incorporates modifications proposed by senators to quell concerns that mandatory training for judges would impinge on judicial independence.
It was not clear whether Wagner’s reference to training in a speech devoted to the importance of maintaining judicial independence was intended as veiled criticism of the bill. He took no questions following his remarks.
“Judges have to be free to make the right decision, even when that decision may be politically unpopular,” he said. “The judiciary, as a collective, has to be free to decide what training and education judges receive to do their jobs well.”
The bill requires that judges take training in sexual-assault law but leaves it to the Canadian Judicial Council, which Wagner chairs, to develop the actual training program, in consultation with whomever it chooses, including survivors of sexual assault.
Source: Read Full Article