Evidence of meeting #160 for Justice and Human Rights in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was process.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Hon. Kim Campbell  Chairperson, Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments

12:15 p.m.

Chairperson, Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments

Kim Campbell

I think that is perfectly appropriate to mention. Again, I want to go back to the point that the committee members were very conscious of their responsibility and desired to conduct themselves in a way that was beyond reproach.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

I appreciate that he recused himself and followed the rule of law on that.

Minister Lametti, let's be very precise here because you're a lawyer, I'm a lawyer and precision is important when it comes to this.

Ms. Campbell has indicated that there is no way the advisory committee was the source of the leak of the information regarding the former proposed candidate, Mr. Justice Joyal. You have indicated to the media that you're convinced that it did not come from the Prime Minister's Office or your office. The Privacy Commissioner is conducting an investigation that you said people are co-operating with, but is it not the truth, Minister, that the reality is that the Prime Minister, you and any member of your staff or his staff are exempt from the Privacy Commissioner's powers and will not be part of this investigation?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I have said from the outset that my department will co-operate, and as I said, I am confident that the leak did not come from the very few people in my ministry—

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Minister, your department will co-operate because the Privacy Commissioner has the power to summon anybody in the department. However, the Privacy Commissioner does not have the power to summon you, the Prime Minister or anybody who works on the political side of your department or the Prime Minister's Office.

Are you telling me they are going to voluntarily speak to the Privacy Commissioner in order to make this a fulsome investigation?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I'm going to let the Privacy Commissioner do his work.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

He is working within his own mandate, but what I'm pointing out is that, contrary to what you're hoping to say here, that everything is being covered, the reality is that there are some significant witnesses to this who are not being investigated, and we are left relying upon your word and the word of the Prime Minister.

I think that's a fair statement.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I'm not going to comment on anything that's an ongoing investigation by the Privacy Commissioner, other than to say, as I've already said, that there will be co-operation.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Minister Lametti, the advisory committee chair has indicated that there was no leak from her committee. You have indicated that it did not happen from the Prime Minister's Office, it did not happen from the Department of Justice and it did not happen from your office either. However, you did say that you could ask another department in government to investigate, “but again the prime minister's been quite clear that he doesn't feel that it's come from PMO. And I believe him.”

Have you investigated beyond the Prime Minister's feelings?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I'm letting the Privacy Commissioner conduct his investigation, as I've stated publicly on a number of occasions and as you have rightfully pointed out.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Minister, you actually indicated to a publication that you felt the leak came from people who had been consulted after the advisory committee, through your own consultations. Can you provide a list of the people who were consulted post-advisory committee in the last round of the process so that we can get to the bottom of where the leak really came from?

July 25th, 2019 / 12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I was not the minister at the time, so I wasn't privy to all of those consultations.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

You are not going to ask the department to provide a list of those who were consulted in order to help us figure out who leaked the personal information of Mr. Justice Joyal?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Once again, those conversations would come under the purview of the Privacy Commissioner. Therefore, I'm going to let the Privacy Commissioner do his work. He's an officer of Parliament. We have respect for officers of Parliament. I'm going to let him do his work unrestricted by—

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Lametti, you're splitting the hair and it's not fair because you know the difference between what a member of your political staff is subject to and what your department is subject to.

Mr. Chair, given the comments by the Right Honourable Kim Campbell that the leak of information related to Justice Glenn Joyal is an important issue for this committee to study, I move that the committee immediately begin to study this matter.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

There was a motion moved.

Do you have it in writing, Ms. Raitt?

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

I have it in scribble.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

You have it in scribble. Okay, what we will do is this. I am going to give the floor to Ms. Moore, and then we will come back to tell you whether the motion is receivable or not after I've consulted with the clerks.

Ms. Moore.

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

There are currently two major justice review projects in Quebec.

The first area of reflection concerns family law reform, including the rights and obligations of common-law spouses, stepparents and grandparents. The reflection also focuses on the impact of the use of assisted reproduction techniques on family law and inheritance.

Another major area of reflection is how the justice system treats and judges sexual offences, particularly in cases where multiple charges have been laid, but only a small number have been retained for trial or court proceedings.

Among the candidates for the position of Quebec judge on the Supreme Court of Canada, have we sought expertise in these two particular areas where major reforms are being considered?

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Obviously, knowledge of civil law is a criterion. Much of what you have just described is a matter of civil law. Another part belongs to the criminal law, which is under federal jurisdiction. These are questions that have been assessed by the advisory board.

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Fine.

You mentioned Judge Kasirer's publications on family law, but I would like to know if he has any specific knowledge of family law and the reforms that will take place in Quebec.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I would say so. I know that, as his record shows, he has published texts in this field and has taught family law for years, especially family property law, property law. He has also taught criminal law courses during his career.

Ms. Campbell may add some additional information on this subject, but on paper, Judge Kasirer's file clearly indicates that he has exceptional knowledge in this area.

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Very well.

The fact remains that some sexual offences are referred to civil courts, although they are criminal in nature. This is currently the case in Quebec.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

I must refer to Judge Kasirer's background. That said, we must also consider his experience as a judge since 2009. He has been seized of several cases and has handed down several judgments.

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Ms. Campbell, do you have anything to add?

12:20 p.m.

Chairperson, Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments

Kim Campbell

No, it's simply to say that, as the author of the revision of the rape shield provisions in the Criminal Code back in the early 1990s, it's been a source of great frustration to me that many of those principles often do not seem to be applied in the courts. That's a challenge that I think you, as legislators, are going to continue to be addressing, aside from the culture of the courts.

I think our view of Justice Kasirer was that he was very knowledgeable and I think very equipped to uphold those principles, which are in fact based on legislation.