I'd like to join my colleagues in thanking Mr. Justice Cromwell for his exemplary service on the Supreme Court of Canada.
Thank you, Minister, for being with us today. I believe this is your fourth appearance before the committee.
I would certainly like to thank you for all your work on the new appointment process we are discussing today.
I'd also like to commend the new process for the independent advisory board. I agree with you that making the process more open and transparent and basing it on criteria that are known by the public will serve Canadians well. That said, as a lawyer from Nova Scotia, and knowing the importance of regional representation on the Supreme Court of Canada and how that has played out in our past, I believe that the custom of regional representation has served us well as a country. I do have some concerns regarding what has already been discussed here today, namely, there not being certainty that the next appointment will be an Atlantic Canadian.
I wonder, then, given the fact that the seat is being vacated by Justice Cromwell and that it is a long-standing custom that an Atlantic Canadian holds one seat—there are two from the west, three from Ontario, and three from Quebec, by the Constitution—what preferential weight will be given in the selection criteria for the next representative to be an Atlantic Canadian.