Can I just say this? It's not ever going to happen federally, because it can't. I've testified about this before, but one of the best systems is the interview process. An in camera interview process really separates the highly recommended political people from the people who probably shouldn't be there.
If this process is to remain, I cannot understand why the judge does not have a vote. It doesn't make any sense to me. It leads to the suggestion that a judge can vote when there's a tie, but I think what you and others have said is that you want a consensus and you don't want to get into voting. This is the spirit of these types of committees.
I think the judge should have a vote. Judges are there to give guidance. They know the types of judges who are needed. They know what the jurisdiction needs. They know the number of judges in the area and things like that. The judge would only be one vote.
I don't understand why they have no votes. It's a message that is not fair, and it's a message that says what? What does it say? Why can't the judge vote? This is a senior judge.
Secondly, I really believe this is an advisory committee, and the minister asks for advice. A committee that advises should surely be able to give advice on candidates who are more qualified or who they highly recommend, because it's what an advisory committee does.
The Minister of Justice is not going to go out to look for people and interview people. He has a committee to advise him. I think that if a committee is going to advise properly, they're going to say, here are the recommended candidates and here are the highly recommended candidates.The minister can choose from the highly recommended or the recommended, but he should have the information. It's the role of the advisory committee, and I believe it's really important.
The federal government has more appointments, and some people have therefore criticized the fact that they can outvote others. If you give the judge a vote, it balances it a little. You're not open to the suggestion that someone has more votes than others do.
The other thing is this, and it has already been talked about. If you're going to report to the House, if that's what going to happen, let's have a look at this again. It's been done without consultation, for whatever reason, and you're now consulting. I think it has to be looked at and visited again, within a reasonable period of time.
But the specific change I would make is to give the judge a vote. It's only one vote. This is about the appointment of judges. They have a lot to give. Secondly, you have to be able to say these are highly recommended candidates. The minister can choose from them or from the recommended ones. In terms of changes, I think that would be important.
I didn't really think there was anything the matter with the committees before. There will always be criticism about patronage in those kinds of appointments, but I think people strive to do the right thing.
The problem with it is that the committee was changed, with an announcement for the reason the committee was changed. The reasons, then, have to be balanced by making sure the committee is a fair one, nobody has more votes than anyone else, and the judge is listened to, and you can recommend highly recommended people.
Those are specifically the comments I would make.