PMO Refused ‘Inadvisable, Inappropriate’ Call from Chief Justice

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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A unique preexisting rift between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of Canada, i.e. the executive and judicial branches of government, got exposed and came out in the open on Thursday evening. A public statement issued by the PMO signaled indication of bitter strained relations between Harper’s government and a high court that has handed the Conservatives a string of defeats.

According to the spokesperson for Prime Minister, Jason MacDonald, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin inappropriately attempted to call Harper’s office and discuss Quebec vacancy on the high court, i.e. an overture that MacDonald said the Prime Minister refused on the advice of his justice minister. The office did not share when the call was made, but Harper’s office left open the suggestion it was after the controversial and ultimately voided appointment in October of Marc Nadon, which prompted a legal challenge and stinging loss for Harper’s government.

According to Harper’s communications director, “neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Justice would ever call a sitting judge on a matter that is or may be before their court.” It was stated that “the Chief Justice initiated the call to the Minister of Justice. After the Minister received her call he advised the Prime Minister that given the subject she wished to raise, taking a phone call from the Chief Justice would be inadvisable and inappropriate. The Prime Minister agreed and did not take her call.”

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