Evidence of meeting #79 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

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Good afternoon, everyone. I now call to order the 79th meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), today, we will be considering the nomination of the Honourable Sheilah L. Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It's a great pleasure to have as our witnesses today the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, our Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Welcome, Minister.

Also, as the chairman of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments, we have the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.

Welcome to our committee. It's a great pleasure to have you with us.

As all of us in this room know, the government, the advisory board, and certainly the committee and Canadians take very seriously the appointment of a judge to the Supreme Court, and it's a great pleasure to be part of this process. We thank you for being here before us.

Ladies, the floor is yours.

December 4th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the members of the committee for convening this special meeting. I am certainly grateful for the committee's ongoing engagement in the Supreme Court of Canada selection process. Of course, I am pleased to be joined by the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.

The purpose of this meeting is twofold: to discuss the government's selection of the Honourable Sheilah Martin as the government's nominee to become the next member of the Supreme Court of Canada and to describe the process that led to the selection. This will allow Canadians to better understand the process that has been used in nominating Justice Martin, and will allow you, as parliamentarians, to hold the government to account.

Again, I am pleased to be joined by the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, who is for the second time serving as chair of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments. I cannot say how delighted I am that she agreed to lend her considerable leadership as chair once again.

As you know, the advisory board has been at the heart of the new process our government has introduced for Supreme Court appointments. Seven distinguished individuals served on the board, including four nominated by independent professional organizations. In addition to the chairperson, the advisory board includes a former judge, three members of the legal profession, and two non-lawyers.

I would like to express personally, and on behalf of the Prime Minister and our government, sincere gratitude to each of the advisory board members for their excellent work and commitment. I would also like to thank the Canadian Judicial Council, the Canadian Bar Association, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Council of Canadian Law Deans for nominating such outstanding individuals. Our appreciation also extends to all those who were consulted throughout the selection process, to the commissioner for federal judicial affairs and his office for the excellent secretariat support provided to the board, and to the candidates who applied for appointment.

I will begin with some initial remarks on the developments since the first selection process, as well as on the overall objectives of the present exercise. I will then turn the floor over to Ms. Campbell, who will describe the steps the advisory board took in creating the short list it provided to the Prime Minister on October 23. Finally, I will discuss the merits of Justice Martin's candidacy and how she meets the qualifications and assessment criteria.

In August of 2016, the Prime Minister launched the selection process that culminated in the appointment of Justice Malcolm Rowe to the Supreme Court. The process was designed in response to our government's dual commitments to establish a new process that was open, transparent, accountable, inclusive, consultative, and promoting of diversity, and to only appoint functionally bilingual justices.

Many of the key factors of the new process, including the fact that candidates had to apply, were unprecedented. Our government has been attentive to how Canadians perceived the process, and we have expressed our openness to refining it to ensure that we have the best possible process. We were particularly grateful to receive this committee's observations and recommendations in your February 2017 report.

I will briefly comment on three aspects of the report. First, this committee affirmed the strong link between a clear, open, easily understood selection process and public confidence in our nation's highest court. I wholeheartedly agree. Our government's ultimate objective in introducing a new process is to ensure that the manner in which we select our Supreme Court justices reinforces Canadians' confidence in this fundamental institution.

Second, the committee noted that the independent advisory board was a key element to the success of the process, and recommended that it be made a permanent element of all future appointments to the Supreme Court. The committee went on to recommend that the board retain its composition, whereby a majority of its members were appointed by non-governmental legal organizations. This strong endorsement of the role and composition of the board was reassuring. I could not agree more with the committee's observation that what made the board a success was the fact that its members were a diverse group of qualified individuals who were all non-partisan appointees.

Third, the committee emphasized the importance of regional representation on the court. As you know, the question of how to enhance the diversity of the court while ensuring regional representation was prominent not only in my earlier discussions with this committee but also in debates in Parliament and among the broader Canadian public. Our government has always stressed the importance of maintaining regional representation on the court over time. The Prime Minister noted this in his mandate letter to the advisory board for the first selection process, asking that the short list include Atlantic Canadians. Ultimately, the process resulted in the selection of an outstanding Atlantic Canadian jurist and the first ever Supreme Court justice from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nonetheless, we have listened to the committee and to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and agree that regional representation is a fundamental aspect of the court’s diversity and is critical to ensuring the public confidence that underpins the legitimacy of the court. As a result, the application process launched this past July to fill the vacancy created by Chief Justice McLachlin’s departure was limited to applicants from western Canada—that is, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba—as well as from northern Canada, including the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon.

Time does not permit me to go through all the helpful recommendations made by this committee in its report, so I refer you to the government response I provided last June for more information in this regard.

I will turn now to the two-stage process that we're in. I would like to begin by noting the important fact that it is the chief justice of Canada, as we all know, who will be retiring on December 15. As the Prime Minister and I have noted on other occasions, Canadians owe an immense debt of gratitude to Chief Justice McLachlin for her exceptional service, dedication, and outstanding leadership. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has difficulty imagining the court without Chief Justice McLachlin, but her imprint is deep and enduring. More immediately, her departure creates the need not only to restore the court to nine members but also to identify who will be the next chief justice of Canada.

As the government explained at the outset of this process, we are proceeding in two stages. The first stage involves selecting the next member of the court. To do so, the government has employed the same process, as mentioned, that was used to select Justice Rowe, including an open application process and asking the independent advisory board to develop a short list of candidates based on the same set of qualifications and assessment criteria. This stage, which led to the nomination of Justice Martin, is what we are considering today.

The second stage involves the Prime Minister identifying who among nine exceptional individuals—that is, the eight remaining members of the court and the nominee—is best placed to serve as chief justice. Central to this decision is a recognition of the important role the chief justice plays in fostering collegial decision-making on the court, attending to important leadership and administrative responsibilities, and effectively representing the Canadian judiciary at home and abroad. It is a position of profound legal, constitutional, and institutional significance.

Pursuant to his prerogative, the Prime Minister will make his decision following consultations that will include me, the outgoing chief justice, and prospective candidates, among others. The Prime Minister will then publicly announce his selection for Canada’s 18th chief justice.

With this context, I would now like to turn the floor over to Ms. Campbell to allow her to describe the process the advisory board went through in pursuing its mandate.

3:40 p.m.

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

Thank you very much, Minister.

Good afternoon. It's lovely to be back with you again. Last year we started at square one to describe the process. I want to say how much I appreciate your comments and particularly your support and endorsement of this process. I know all of the members of the committee were very warmed to know that you were supportive of their work.

I will say this about the members of the committee. Each one of them is absolutely honoured to be part of this process and very dedicated to making it the fairest and most insightful but are also responsive to the need of Canadians to feel that every person who applies gets a full review and fair consideration. On their behalf, I want to again say thank you for your positive comments about the process.

This year, of course, we had the advantage of having done it before. We had one new member. Jeff Hirsch, who was the candidate for the Federation of Law Societies last year was replaced by Sheila MacPherson, who actually practices in the Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, and she quickly got up to speed on what we were doing.

One of the things we felt was that having done this before, we had come up with a pretty good working procedure. We had created some templates for our interviews with the references, for our interviews with the candidates themselves, and for ways of doing things that we reviewed but we didn't have to completely revisit. That made our time a little bit more efficient, which was good thing, because unlike last year when we were able to squeeze our work into the weeks before and after the Labour Day weekend, we were a little farther on in the fall, so people had court dates and things that were very difficult to manage. We wound up working across two weekends including the Thanksgiving weekend.

I want to say a particular thank you to the commissioner of judicial affairs and all the staff—Marc Giroux, Louise Meagher who is here, Natalie Duranleau, and the others, who were really wonderful about coming in on weekends and adjusting themselves to this necessity. I'd also like to thank the candidates who came down to Ottawa over the Thanksgiving weekend to be interviewed. That was a little bit stressful. We would like not to have quite that much pressure, but I think the more advance warning we have, the more people can make their dates and set time aside so they are not coming into conflict with pre-existing commitments.

Notwithstanding that, we did very similar work to what we had done before, in that we started by meeting with the chief justice. That was interesting too, because the first year when we met with the chief justice, we really went over in great detail the nature of the work on the Supreme Court of Canada. This time we could ask her what she wanted us to know that maybe she hadn't told us last year. We had a really wonderful conversation with her.

Again, the underlying philosophy of what we do in this committee is to try to find candidates who really can do the work of the court. The Supreme Court of Canada, as you all know very well, is unlike any other court. People not only have to work in two languages but also have to move to Ottawa. The caseload is very heavy.

I was at a symposium a couple of weeks ago, one of the Canada 150 events, about the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Stephen Breyer of the American Supreme Court was there. If you think about it, they also have nine judges for a much bigger population. He said the secret is that most law in the United States is state law, so far fewer cases are eligible to go to the Supreme Court of the United States, whereas in Canada, our criminal law is a federal jurisdiction. The workload for the court is very heavy, so we want to make sure that those candidates we recommend to the Prime Minister have a clear understanding of that workload and are able to engage in it as effectively as possible.

We did basically what we did last year. I don't want to go over all of the details again, although I'm very happy to respond to your questions. There were 14 candidates. We interviewed eight. As you know, after the interviews, the candidates go and do a French test to assess their functional bilingualism.

One of the things I think are important for you to know is that the regional basis of this particular process was western Canada, and you would be really quite astounded at how many westerners speak French and the extent to which jurists in particular in western Canada have embraced the possibility created through the Canadian Judicial Council and other bodies to learn French. It has become an integral part of their thinking in British Columbia and Alberta. It's very interesting. Mr. Boissonnault will know that the lawyers, the Association des juristes d'expression française, are very active in Alberta. We were very pleasantly surprised at the quality of French of the people we interviewed and saw.

I don't really want to go into much more detail because I'd rather answer your questions. Again, we were warmed and heartened by the quality of the candidates. The nominee, Justice Martin, is an extraordinary candidate who hits it out of the park on so many different issues. However, each one of the candidates on the short list that we gave the Prime Minister could have served with distinction on the Supreme Court of Canada. It is a very difficult job and a job unlike any other court in the country, but I think the Prime Minister would be very heartened by the quality of the legal minds that are out there and ready to serve in our highest court.

I think that I'll stop there and allow you to ask me questions because, since we've done this before already, I'd like to make sure that I'm addressing things that are new and not clear in your minds.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Thank you, Madam Campbell. It is an incredible honour for me to sit here beside you, and thank you so much for your contribution to the Supreme Court process.

Before we turn it over to questions, I would just like to speak to the merits of the exceptional nominee that the Prime Minister has identified, but again, as I've indicated, the quality of the candidates on the short list, and as the Prime Minister has indicated, on the advisory board, was outstanding. It is truly remarkable and a source of national pride to see the quality of jurists who have put their names forward in this process.

My task of reviewing the candidates and arriving at a recommendation for the Prime Minister was certainly an incredible and difficult one. It was also a task I took extremely seriously, recognizing that one of the most important responsibilities that I have as Minister of Justice is to make recommendations to the Prime Minister in this regard.

In terms of consultation—again, I would invite questions with respect to this as well—I consulted with the chief justice of Canada, other chief justices familiar with the candidates' work, various provincial attorneys general, the chair of this committee and of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and with opposition critics. I then presented the results of these consultations and my recommendation to the Prime Minister, and while I obviously cannot reveal the content of these consultations and my advice to the Prime Minister, I can say that I am convinced that Justice Martin would be an outstanding addition to the court and would continue to serve Canadians with great distinction in that role.

What I can say about Justice Martin's qualifications is that she has truly done it all. She has been a leading academic, a law dean at the University of Calgary, a gifted constitutional litigator, a hard-working trial judge, and most recently, an appellate court judge. Two things struck me about Justice Martin's career. First, there is the extraordinary depth and breadth of her experience, and second, her unshakeable commitment to justice and equality for all.

Justice Martin has been described as blazingly brilliant. She has authored and co-authored three books, nine book chapters, six reports and monographs, and 16 peer-reviewed articles. Her background as an educator shines through her judicial writing. Justice Martin knows how to cut through tangled legal issues and lay out her reasoning in clear, accessible language. Her judgments are thorough and compelling.

For more than 30 years, Justice Martin has coupled that intellect with a commitment to public service. As an academic, she fearlessly addressed what were at the time contentious issues critical to women's equality. Her doctoral thesis explored how the charter would impact the laws of sexual assault, contraception, abortion, and emerging reproductive technologies. She continued to publish on equality, gender bias, and reproductive rights throughout her career.

In private practice, Justice Martin's work addressed issues of deep significance to Canadian society. Take her work on compensation for wrongful convictions. Justice Martin was instrumental in putting together David Milgaard's compensation claim after he spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Based on this experience, in 2000, the Honourable Peter Cory asked her to provide an expert report for another wrongful conviction case, the Thomas Sophonow inquiry.

The question of compensation for almost unimaginable harms arose in another major case Justice Martin worked on. At the invitation of Phil Fontaine, then-national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Justice Martin joined the team tasked with developing a new approach to redress the harms caused by the forced attendance of indigenous children at residential schools. She helped craft the blueprint for the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. She described this as “among the most meaningful and challenging work” of her career.

Justice Martin was on the forefront of advocacy for women's rights before the court. She acted pro bono for women's organizations in three sensitive, precedent-setting Supreme Court cases on women's autonomy and sexual assault.

Since her appointment to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench in 2005, Justice Martin has gained rich judicial experience in many areas of the law. This experience is especially significant when you consider that if confirmed, she will replace Chief Justice McLachlin, someone who has 28 years of experience on the Supreme Court alone.

As a trial judge, Justice Martin also made sure to gain experience outside of Canada's big cities. She heard cases on circuit in small rural communities in Alberta, and as the deputy judge in Yukon, beginning in 2009, she came to understand the distinct challenges of providing justice in northern communities. Justice Martin has proven her ability to handle sensitive, novel questions of law, for instance in HS, the first decision in Canada granting an application for physician-assisted death. Without the benefit of any precedent and on very tight timelines, she heard an application from a woman with ALS, who had six months to live. She acknowledged the importance of the open courts principle, but granted a publication ban recognizing the need to protect the woman's privacy and dignity.

Justice Martin's commitment to equality shines through in her work. In a sexual assault case in 2016, she clearly spotted and called out myths and stereotypes about how true victims of sexual assault should behave. She overturned a provincial court decision that illustrated how quickly such myths and stereotypes can be engaged. She described how historically outdated attitudes about sexual violence have led to unbalanced legal rules and prevented fair trials in sexual offence cases. Beyond her legal acumen, those who know her describe Justice Martin as a unifying force, and someone who radiates enthusiasm.

Collegiality is critical on the Supreme Court. Justices must be able to handle disagreements respectfully and build consensus skilfully. This helps the Supreme Court develop unified jurisprudence instead of confusing judgments with many diverging opinions. Justice Martin's ability to bring people together will serve her well on the Supreme Court of Canada. Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, put it this way, “Sheila Martin is precious to justice in Canada. When you look at her life in the law, she has never missed an opportunity to do the right thing.”

Those are the values that I want to see on the Supreme Court of Canada. We are incredibly pleased to be here to answer your questions about the appointments process and about Justice Martin.

Thank you for this opportunity.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you very much, Minister Wilson-Raybould and Ms Campbell, for coming before us today.

Although I'm sure you'll hear it from all sides, on behalf of all the members of the committee, I want to thank you for your incredible service, Ms. Campbell, to this country and for what you're doing on an ongoing basis.

To all the members of the advisory board, to the commissioner of federal judicial affairs, and all of the staff who assisted the work of the committee that led to this very excellent nomination, thank you to all involved in the process.

We're going to do two rounds of questions.

We're going to start with Mr. Nicholson.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Thank you very much.

I'll declare a possible conflict of interest inasmuch as I had the privilege of serving in Ms. Campbell's government, and was her parliamentary secretary for three years. It was a great part of my career to be a part of that. I'm very grateful.

Congratulations to the minister and to Ms. Campbell for this process that they've put in place. We're truly looking forward to our opportunity to meet and ask questions of Justice Martin.

I would agree with you, Minister, that she appears to have outstanding qualifications in so many different areas, within the judiciary and litigation and the academic world. It seems very complete, so we're looking forward to that.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould, after some discussion from the last time we appointed a justice, if you remember, we were very clear, at least on this side, that we believed that the tradition was, the constitutional convention was, that it would be somebody from Atlantic Canada. Now you've indicated that in fact that wasn't going to be an issue this time, that the individual would be from western Canada. I think we do appreciate that. There is another convention and custom that the chief justice revolves between those with background in the common law and and those in the civil law. I know there's been an exception to that, so it's not a perfect record in that area.

Would this be something that you will be advising the Prime Minister on with respect to alternating between a common law and a civil law justice?

4 p.m.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Thank you for the commentary and thank you for the question.

Of course, we're here today to talk about Justice Martin, but I recognize the second part of this process is the appointment of the chief justice, which, like Justice Martin, is entirely within the prerogative of the Prime Minister. I of course will have the opportunity to advise the Prime Minister and he will be providing his decision with respect to the next chief justice in mid-December. I would not want to say anything further than that. My advice is to the Prime Minister.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Fair enough.

Ms. Campbell, the applicants had more time this time to get their applications in. I think they only had a few weeks on the first appointment, and this time I think it was about two months they had to put this together.

Did you see any difference in this in terms of the types of applications, the material that you were presented with, or even the numbers? Did you see any difference in that with this timeline?

4 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

Rob—am I allowed to call you Rob in the committee?

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Please.

4 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

Yes, not so much in the actual content of the applications, because the people really worked hard last year to do it, but as you may recall the due date was over Labour Day, the end of the summer, and people were at summer cottages, etc.

This year we didn't have anybody complaining about filling in the questionnaire and having to scramble to do it, so your advice to give the candidates more time was a good one. I think that they were more comfortable with the process. I'm not sure that it made a difference in the quality of what we got in the applications, but it certainly made a difference in the comfort level of the applicants and their ability to do it and do it the way they wanted to do it.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Part of the briefing note we have is that fewer names were forwarded to the justice minister and the Prime Minister's Office this time. I believe you had five candidates, according to the material that we're given, and three candidates this time, again, according to the material we have from the Library of Parliament.

Why was that? Why was there a change?

4 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

Our terms of reference were to provide a short list of anywhere from three to five candidates. We understand, based on last year's process, that it is an enormous amount of work that begins once we pass our list to the Prime Minister. We wanted to make sure that each name that we passed to the Prime Minister was somebody who we felt could go to the court, and just as it happened with this combination of candidates there were three who we felt really were head and shoulders above the others.

We would have been perfectly happy to add two more, but just to do it for the sake of doing it seems to me to, perhaps, undermine the process because it means that there's even more work that the minister and her staff and the Prime Minister's staff have to do in following it up.

We felt that the selection was good, but the terms of reference are three to five, so we've done both now. We'll see how that works out, but I think we gave the Prime Minister excellent choices.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Thank you very much.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you very much, Mr. Nicholson.

Ms. Khalid.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you, Chair, and thank you, Ms. Campbell and Minister Wilson-Raybould, for coming in today and really talking about this process. It's great to welcome you back into the committee.

Ms. Campbell, you had mentioned that you had had Chief Justice McLachlin come in before the committee to ask her questions. I wonder what kinds of questions you asked her, if you don't mind sharing that.

4 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

I would say we didn't have her come before the committee, we went to her. She received us in that lovely sitting room around the table over in the Supreme Court.

Last year, we actually had identified a number of questions that we wanted to ask her, for example, about the role of language, about the workload, a whole lot of things that we thought were important for us to understand. Because we had done that last year, we had a more open-ended conversation this time because it was her last time to be be advising our committee. I don't think with the questions that I've identified there's any breach in security in saying that, but mostly it was really to try to get her sense, looking back on all her years on the court, of what she thought it was important for us to know, what she thought would be helpful to the court and would help judges be successful on the court.

Again, you could be an outstanding jurist and very brilliant person and not be the right person for the Supreme Court of Canada, depending on the nature of how you work and how comfortable you are with collegial work and group decisions, etc. It's just a very special...or how comfortable you are picking up stakes and moving to Ottawa.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you, Ms. Campbell.

Last year, when you came before us, you advised us of the different organizations you had approached in order to seek those very qualified applicants. I think the new appointee is very qualified. Just reading her application, I was mesmerized. She was advocating for the things that I am so passionate about way before I was even born, so I really appreciate that.

Can you please outline some of the organizations you reached out to in seeking candidates for this process?

4:05 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

Last year, we identified all the organizations that represent lawyers of particular ethnicities, interests, or whatever, and we approached them again this year. This year, we felt that there was a better general knowledge out in the legal community about the process that was taking place.

As I mentioned last year, we also have people who occasionally write to us and recommend somebody. This is one of the debates about the process—the fact that some people might feel too modest to apply. We urge people, if they think they know somebody who should apply, to encourage them, and then we will write to them and say, “Your name has been forwarded to us as an excellent candidate. If you are interested, please review the materials. We warmly encourage you to apply.”

People know about the process, but I think the next step is working to try to reach out to the legal community to find ways of sharing knowledge about what it means to go to the Supreme Court of Canada, and also how important it is for people to apply to serve at the courts at the provincial level, the trial and appellate courts. I have discussed this with the minister, and if there is a role for our committee to play in this, we would be happy to do it.

At the moment, for example, there are quite a number of retired Supreme Court of Canada justices floating about the country, and now we will have the retired chief justice. It would be really interesting if they could be encouraged to do some round tables around the country to talk to people about the work of the court and what it means to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada, so that one could perhaps overcome some of those...maybe discourage people who ought not to apply, but also encourage people who might otherwise feel that they just don't know enough about it or that it's too strange. I think that making the Supreme Court of Canada something that is better known throughout the legal community is important.

I think we had very good communication encouraging people to apply, but from my perspective, that's the next step we could address, now that we've developed a process that we think works with the applicants we receive.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

I have one last question.

Out of the 14 applicants, how many were women? I know I asked this last year as well, but I have to ask again this year.

4:05 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

Sure, I'll have to look.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

As with last time, the independent advisory board is going to release a report one month hence, which will give the breakdown of the 14 candidates.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you.

4:05 p.m.

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

Kim Campbell

I can tell you, six women.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you very much, Ms. Khalid.

Mr. MacGregor, go ahead.