Atlantic Canada’s opposition leaders unite to defend representation at Supreme Court

August 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

PC opposition leaders call on prime minister to appoint Atlantic Canadian to nation’s highest court

Signatures

Atlantic Canada’s provincial opposition leaders have united in calling on the prime minister to preserve the region’s seat on the Supreme Court of Canada.

The federal government recently announced that in choosing the next judge to the top court, there would be no guarantee that the candidate would come from Atlantic Canada. Today, the four official opposition leaders in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador signed a letter calling on the prime minister to maintain Atlantic Canada’s seat on the Supreme Court.

“Our region is as important to Canada as any other,” says Nova Scotia’s Official Opposition Leader Jamie Baillie. “Important decisions are made there that affect every region. I expect our four Liberal premiers to speak up. In their absence, the Atlantic opposition leaders are standing together to make this point: Atlantic Canada deserves representation on the Supreme Court of our country.”

Since 1875, Atlantic Canada has had regional representation on the Supreme Court of Canada. Trudeau’s decision has scrapped a 141-year-old constitutional convention.

“It is simply unacceptable to not include a regional representative on the highest court in the country, whose fundamental decisions impact every province,” says Newfoundland and Labrador’s Official Opposition Leader Paul Davis. “Regional representation is at the heart of fairness and balance. The prime minister has a responsibility to ensure that people from all regions are represented on the Supreme Court. Anything less is not good enough.”

Liberals hold all of Atlantic Canada’s 32 ridings. Currently, all four Atlantic Provinces have Liberal governments.

“Instead of a spirit of cooperation between the two levels of government, Atlantic Canada has been taken for granted,” says Prince Edward Island’s Official Opposition Leader Jamie Fox. “The Liberal premiers and MPs are content to just let this happen. Well, opposition leaders in this region are not.”

The thousands of Atlantic Canadians concerned about losing a place at the Supreme Court of Canada looked for a sign from the prime minister that he may reconsider his decision as he toured the region this week. Instead, he offered no guarantee that a worthy candidate from Atlantic Canada would be selected.

“During his tour, Liberal MPs were more content standing behind Trudeau than challenging him on this decision,” says New Brunswick’s Official Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch. “Our provincial Liberals and Liberal MPs should be standing up for Atlantic Canada. We’re proud of our region’s accomplishments at the top court. This is about fairness and having our voice heard.”

In the interest of national unity and respect for all, Atlantic Canada’s Official Opposition Leaders are calling on the prime minister to commit to appointing a qualified Atlantic Canadian to fill the position left vacant by Justice Thomas Cromwell.