Below are parts 5, 6, 7 and 11 of the questionnaire completed by the Honourable Sébastien Grammond.
Questionnaire for Judicial Appointment
Part 5 – Language
Please note that in addition to the answers to the questions set out below, you may be assessed as to your level of language proficiency.
Without further training, are you able to read and understand court materials in:
- English: Yes
- French: Yes
Without further training, are you able to discuss legal matters with your colleagues in:
- English: Yes
- French: Yes
Without further training, are you able to converse with counsel in court in:
- English: Yes
- French: Yes
Without further training, are you able to understand oral submissions in court in:
- English: Yes
- French: Yes
Part 6 – Education
Name of Institutions, Years Attended, Degree/Diploma and Year Obtained:
- Oxford University, 2001-2004, Master of Studies in Legal Research (M.St.), 2002; Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) (in law), 2005.
- Université de Montréal, 1992-1993, Master of Laws (LL.M.), 1994.
- Université de Montréal, 1989-1992, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), 1992.
- École polytechnique de Montréal, 1987-1989.
- Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2016).
- Barreau du Québec Merit Award (2014).
- Lawyer Emeritus distinction (Ad.E.) conferred by the Barreau du Québec (2012).
- Award for best article in French from the Canadian Journal of Law and Society (2011).
- Canadian Association of Law Teachers Scholarly Paper Award (2008).
- President’s Award for service to the university through media and community relations (2006).
- Fondation du Barreau du Québec Award for the best legal work published in Quebec in 2002 and 2003, in the “Treatise” category (2004).
- FQRSC and SSHRC scholarships for doctoral studies (2002-2004).
- Overseas Research Student scholarship for doctoral studies (2001-2004).
- Heenan Blaikie award for excellence in graduate studies in public law (1993).
- FCAR Fund grant for Master’s studies, based on excellence in undergraduate results and research work (1992-1993). Ranked third out of 61 candidates.
- École Polytechnique de Montréal Excellence Scholarship and Canada scholarship for excellence in scientific studies (1988-1989).
Part 7 – Professional and Employment History
Please include a chronology of work experience, starting with the most recent and showing employers’ names and dates of employment. For legal work, indicate areas of work or specialization with years and if applicable, indicate if they have changed.
Legal Work Experience:
- Professor in the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa (2004 to present).
- Lawyer with Dentons Canada LLP (formerly Byers Casgrain, then Fraser Milner Casgrain) (1994-2001), followed by occasional practice with the same firm since 2001.
- Law clerk to the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (1993-1994).
Non-Legal Work Experience:
- Dean of the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa (2008-2014).
- Vice-Dean of Research, Civil Law Section, University of Ottawa (2005-2008).
Other Professional Experience:
List all bar associations, legal or judicial-related committees of which you are or have been a member, and give the titles and dates of any offices which you have held in such groups.
- Consultant to the Rules Committee of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court (2015-present).
- Member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute (2015-present).
Pro Bono Activities:
- I have worked pro bono to defend the rights of sexual assault victims. In Christensen v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Québec, a case involving public interest issues relating to the rights of sexual assault victims, I drafted the Appeal Court factum, the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court factum, and argued the case before the Supreme Court. I also supported the Association of Victims of Priests in its efforts to abolish civil prescription (limitation period) in this matter. These efforts were partially successful, with the adoption of article 2926.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec in 2013.
- Since 2014, I have been representing the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society on a pro bono basis in a case that led to a landmark decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal regarding discrimination in child welfare services for Indigenous people.
- Since 2004, I have given more than 600 interviews to print and electronic media on a variety of current legal topics.
- In 1997-1998, I participated in a CBA-Quebec working group that prepared a legal awareness kit for high school students.
Teaching and Continuing Education:
List all legal or judicial educational organizations and activities you have been involved with (e.g. teaching course at a Law Faculty, bar association, National Judicial Institute, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, etc.).
As a regular professor at the University of Ottawa, I have taught courses in contract law, Aboriginal law, civil procedure, constitutional law and business law on several occasions. As well, I was a lecturer in Aboriginal law at McGill University between 1997 and 2001. I have also provided the following training:
- Lecture to Federal Court judges on current issues in Aboriginal law (Ottawa, November 4, 2016).
- “Le rôle du juge dans la reconnaissance des systèmes juridiques autochtones,” “Justice et État de droit” conference of the Association des hautes juridictions de cassation ayant en partage l’usage du français (AHJUCAF) (Dakar, Senegal, November 18, 2014).
- “Indépendance de la magistrature et nomination des juges,” conference of the Réseau francophone des conseils de la magistrature judiciaire (Gatineau, November 4, 2014).
- “Aboriginal Law: Overview of Legal Framework,” presentation at a National Judicial Institute symposium (Winnipeg, March 5, 2014).
- “Excès de justice? La proportionnalité en procédure civile,” presentation at the annual meeting of the Court of Appeal of Quebec (Ottawa, October 31, 2013).
- “Un nouveau départ pour les dommages-intérêts punitifs,” presentation at the convention of the Barreau du Québec (Gatineau, June 4, 2011).
- “La réconciliation avec les peuples autochtones, un principe constitutionnel?” Presentation to the Canadian Judicial Council Annual Meeting (Ottawa, April 7, 2011).
- “L’obligation de consulter” and “Les Métis,” Symposium on Aboriginal Issues, National Judicial Institute (Québec City, November 23, 2010).
- “La règle sur les clauses abusives sous l’éclairage du droit comparé,” civil law symposium, National Judicial Institute, St. John’s (May 6, 2009).
- Complementary training in civil law offered to common law lawyers of the federal Department of Justice, on several occasions, 2007-2012.
Community and Civic Activities:
List all organizations of which you are a member and any offices held with dates.
- Chair of the board of directors and participant in the research projects of Canadian Lawyers’ Association for International Human Rights (1994-2001).
Part 11 – The Role of the Judiciary in Canada’s Legal System
The Government of Canada seeks to appoint judges with a deep understanding of the judicial role in Canada. In order to provide a more complete basis for evaluation, candidates are asked to offer their insight into broader issues concerning the judiciary and Canada’s legal system. For each of the following questions, please provide answers of between 750 and 1 000 words.
1. What would you regard as your most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada?
My greatest contribution to law and the pursuit of justice is my teaching, research and practice in the area of Aboriginal law. I sincerely believe that my work in this field over the last 25 years has made a valuable contribution to reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and mainstream society.
My publications have raised awareness of and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples in non-Indigenous society. In the early 1990s, I was one of the first to write in French on this subject. My book Aménager la coexistence, which was published in 2003 and won the Fondation du Barreau du Québec prize, was the first true synthesis of the subject and has become the primary reference text for French-speaking academics and legal practitioners. I had the book translated and updated, and it was published in English in 2013 under the title Terms of Coexistence.
I have taught Aboriginal law at McGill University and the University of Ottawa. Through my teaching, I have increased awareness of the realities of Indigenous peoples and their rights among numerous cohorts of students. Several of those students are now working in that field. For the past 15 years, I have been conducting research on several specific aspects of Aboriginal law. My research originally focused on Indigenous legal traditions and their recognition in Canadian law. Revitalization of these traditions is increasingly seen as a priority by Indigenous peoples and by governments. Through my research and teaching, I have contributed to raising awareness about these traditions and ensuring their legitimacy. For example, I organized a summer school that enabled several groups of students from the University of Ottawa to visit Cree communities in northern Quebec and learn about Cree law regarding land management. This was an extremely enriching educational experience. I also published an article on the recognition of Inuit legal traditions with respect to beneficiary status under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and my book Terms of Coexistence includes a section on the recognition of these traditions under Canadian law. More recently, we undertook a research project on customary adoption in partnership with the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam. In addition to giving rise to scientific papers, this project led us to write a brief, which our Innu partner presented to the committee of Quebec’s National Assembly studying Bill 113, one of the goals of which is to recognize this type of adoption. We hope that the improvements we have proposed will be integrated into that bill. We also hope that the results of this project will allow the Innu to set up a culturally adapted youth protection system.
My research has also focused on the legal recognition of Indigenous identity. I first looked at membership regimes for Indigenous peoples, such as Indian status, the membership codes adopted by the First Nations, and beneficiary status under various modern treaties. I showed how some of these rules were discriminatory, not only on the basis of gender, but also and particularly on the basis of race. By drawing on anthropological and sociological knowledge about ethnic identity, I was also able to demonstrate how the flexible use of genealogical and other criteria (place of education, language skills, etc.) makes it possible to develop definitions of Indigenous status that are consistent with both the right to equality and the right to self-determination. In recent years, my research has also focused on the related issue of identifying Indigenous groups. Many Indigenous groups have never been recognized as bands under the Indian Act. My research focuses on the strategies used by these groups and the inadequacy of the categories under Canadian law to assess their claims. Here again, I am seeking to demonstrate the potential of using the concept of equality to ensure greater recognition of Indigenous identity.
I have also sought to secure greater justice for Indigenous peoples through my work as a litigator. Throughout my career, I have regularly represented Cree and Innu organizations in various types of litigation, and provided them with legal advice on complex constitutional issues. I recently agreed to represent the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society on a pro bono basis in its discrimination case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which involved the underfunding of child welfare services in Indigenous communities. In drafting the submissions and closing arguments, my role was to reconcile the specific situation of Indigenous peoples within Canadian federalism with the right to equal access to essential public services. The efforts of our legal team led to a landmark Tribunal ruling in January 2016. Since that time, I have also drafted a proposal for federal legislation recognizing First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare.
Finally, my desire to ensure greater justice for Indigenous peoples has led to frequent appearances in the media to comment on numerous current events concerning Indigenous peoples and to increase public awareness of their rights.
2. How has your experience provided you with insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians and their unique perspectives?
My work with Indigenous peoples has brought me into close contact with an important component of Canadian diversity. From the early days of my practice, I have represented Cree and Innu organizations. I also lived in Chisasibi for several months in 2001-2002. Many of the research and teaching projects that I mentioned in my response to the previous question allowed me to visit Cree and Innu communities on a regular basis and to collaborate with Indigenous lawyers, political leaders and social workers. All these experiences have given me a better understanding of the reality of Indigenous peoples, notably their political and social organization, their relationship with the territory, their economic realities and their aspirations. I have also been in a position to observe that for many Indigenous people, the Canadian legal system represents a regime that is imposed from the outside, that is often out of step with Indigenous legal traditions and values and that only partially meets the needs of communities. I am therefore able to appreciate the scope of the work that still needs to be done to establish mutually respectful legal relationships between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state.
For the past ten years, I have also been in contact with Francophone communities in provinces other than Quebec. In representing Francophone groups in major cases before the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, I have become familiar with the challenges associated with living in a minority setting, and have learned about the history of vibrant communities that Quebecers often tend to ignore. At the University of Ottawa, where I have worked for the past 12 years, coexistence between Anglophones, Franco-Ontarians and Quebecers is a daily reality. I played a key role in the design and implementation of the Programme de droit canadien, which for the first time brought together Franco-Ontarian and Quebec students to study both civil and common law, primarily in French. I was the principal architect of the University of Ottawa’s designation under the French Language Services Act, a long-standing demand of the Franco-Ontarian community.
Overlapping this direct contact with Indigenous peoples and Francophone communities is a theoretical reflection on Canadian diversity that has underpinned much of my research over the past 15 years. A central aspect of this reflection concerns the concept of identity, which is what allows individuals to situate themselves in relation to human diversity, and the way in which this concept can be translated into legal rules. I see identity as a social construct. This means that the various traits or elements that make up a person’s identity acquire their meaning through interactions between members of society. It also follows that the categories used to describe this diversity do not have an “objective” or “natural” meaning, but that their definition, necessarily contentious, derives from the ongoing confrontation between the various perspectives expressed about them. I applied this understanding of identity to the various definitions of Indigenous status in an article entitled “Disentangling Race and Ethnicity,” which won the Canadian Association of Law Teachers award, and later in my book Identity Captured by Law. This work has also allowed me to reflect on the concept of intersectionality, particularly with respect to the specific discrimination faced by Indigenous women. Furthermore, my research draws on insights from political philosophy regarding the political and legal means of recognizing diversity, including the work of Will Kymlicka and James Tully. Along with a colleague, I recently wrote a book chapter entitled “Le droit et la diversité ethnoculturelle,” which provides a general survey of these issues. My perspective on these questions is also summarized in Chapter 1 of my book Terms of Coexistence, which is attached to this application.
These reflections have also led me to take a stand in the public debates that have raged in Quebec in recent years. I have often been called on to explain to the public the concept of reasonable accommodation and the Supreme Court’s decisions on the place of religion in society. I publicly criticized the Quebec government’s 2013 proposed “Charter of Quebec Values” for its unjustified restrictions on religious freedom. In February 2014, I published an opinion piece entitled “La valeur des droits,” which reiterated the importance of considering individual rights in collective decision-making. Every time I have expressed an opinion, I have urged the public to set aside stereotypes and reductionist views of identity in order to establish a respectful dialogue among all members of society.
Finally, my activities as a lawyer and as a professor have brought me into contact with colleagues from across Canada. Working with them has allowed me to appreciate the diversity of regional and provincial perspectives on a wide range of issues. As a member of the Quebec and Ontario bars, I am also able to appreciate legal diversity. In fact, many of my research and teaching projects have been based on a comparison of civil and common law.
3. Describe the appropriate role of a judge in a constitutional democracy.
Constitutional democracy is a political system in which the elected representatives of the people must abide by the rules established by the Constitution. In such a context, the Constitution can be seen as a pact between state and citizens. Pursuant to this pact, the state can pursue collective goals as long as it also respects all individuals and treats them with dignity; in other words, as long as it respects fundamental rights. Such a pact is necessary to ensure that citizens support democratic decision-making mechanisms. In an opinion piece published two years ago, I wrote:
[translation] “Why do we accept majority rule? Because we are guaranteed that the majority will not take away certain particularly important rights. Because the majority must always leave us a minimal sphere of freedom. As such, citizens agree to participate in the collective projects chosen by the majority on the condition that their fundamental rights will be respected. This is the modern social contract.” (“La valeur des droits,” 2014)
In a democratic society, the role of the courts is first and foremost to settle private disputes between citizens. Whether it be family matters, employment or commercial relations, the courts offer litigants an impartial solution for their disputes and a guarantee against the arbitrariness of private power. The presence of the courts as the ultimate guardians of their rights encourages litigants to comply with their obligations or to seek recourse to alternative methods of dispute resolution. The courts thereby ensure stable economic and social relations.
The role of the courts also includes settling disputes between the state and its citizens. The courts ensure that the rule of law is respected, i.e., that the power of the state is constrained by law. They also play the role of guardian of the Constitution in that they verify that government actions and laws adopted by Parliament respect the rights guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution. In fulfilling this role, the judge may be called on to restrain the actions of the elected representatives of the people. It is in such circumstances that the concept of constitutional democracy assumes its full meaning. The judge’s action is legitimate because it is not based on political motives, but rather on a judicial method founded on the principles of interpretation of legal texts and respect for the doctrine of precedent (stare decisis).
The first aspect of this method is respect for legislation through its interpretation. Of course, legislation imposes a constraint from which the judge may not deviate. It is well known, however, that legislation cannot foresee every specific situation. The legislation must be interpreted before it is applied. The Constitution in particular requires considerable interpretive effort, given that it often sets out general principles in abstract and concise terms. Judges are not free to interpret legislation as they see fit. The process of interpretation is governed by a set of well-known principles. These principles aim to ensure not only faithfulness to the legislature’s intention, but also consistency of the law as a system and achievement of the purposes of the legislation. The judge must choose the interpretation best suited to these imperatives. The principles apply equally to constitutional matters, although the weight of the various factors may vary according to the type of provision. For example, the parts of the Constitution dealing with the structure of political institutions must be interpreted with an eye to history (as I argued before the Supreme Court in Caron and in Reference re Senate Reform), while those dealing with fundamental rights reflect our country’s commitment to a set of universal principles.
The second fundamental aspect of the judicial method is the fact that the judge’s decisions are constrained by the doctrine of precedent. Judges do not act alone. They are part of an institution. They must apply the general principles resulting from the decisions of higher courts. In the case of appellate courts, judges must also follow the previous decisions of their own court. In this sense, case law can be seen as a reservoir of collective wisdom accumulated by the judiciary. The binding force of precedent helps to ensure the stability and consistency of the law and the equality of all litigants before the law.
Consistent adherence to both types of reasoning ensures the legitimacy of the law and the judicial system. If the judicial decision visibly follows an accepted method, its outcome will be seen as the result of a reasoned application of pre-established principles rather than an expression of personal preference.
However, the legitimacy of the courts does not depend solely on the type of reasoning they adopt. Legitimacy also obviously derives from the fact that the judge is perceived to be impartial and independent. The judge must apply the law without favouring one group over another, whether it be men and women, employers and employees, or the prosecution and the accused. In addition, the judge must always act in accordance with the principles of judicial ethics. Finally, in order to play their role properly, the courts must provide prompt and accessible justice. The guarantee of the rule of law would be illusory if ordinary citizens could not realistically bring their case before the courts.
4. Who is the audience for decisions rendered by the court(s) to which you are applying?
Judicial decisions have multiple audiences.
The decisions of trial and appeal courts are addressed first of all to the parties and their counsel. They are intended to convince the parties, particularly the losing party, that the judge has faithfully carried out the obligation to decide the case impartially and with an open mind, treated each party fairly, considered the evidence, and given serious consideration to the arguments presented by the parties. By demonstrating that the judge has listened to the losing party, a well-written decision increases the likelihood that the losing party will accept the outcome, voluntarily comply with the decision, and not cast aspersions on the judicial process. It also allows the parties to assess the merits of a potential appeal, and where applicable, enables the Court of Appeal to understand the trial judge’s reasoning. To achieve this, the decision must present coherent reasoning, provide an overview of the evidence and analyze the main arguments made by the parties. The judge should also, to the extent possible, use simple language and avoid technical expressions or pompous formulations that may sound arcane to non-lawyers.
The decisions of courts, particularly courts of appeal, are also addressed to the broader legal community, which includes other judges and decision makers, lawyers, public servants and law students. These decisions set precedents that can be used by other legal practitioners to support their reasoning. It is also important to recognize that self-represented litigants are increasingly able to access court decisions through public databases for use in their own cases. When a decision is rendered on a controversial question of law, it is therefore desirable for the judge to establish the basic principles applicable, to pinpoint the issue, to briefly mention the arguments on both sides and where applicable, decisions that have already addressed the question, and then to explain the reasons for preferring one outcome over another.
In writing their decisions, judges are also speaking to society at large. How the courts apply the law is a matter of great importance to members of the public. The constitutional principle of open court allows Canadians to see how the courts function, and the courts’ decisions play a crucial role in this.
Decisions dealing with major societal issues obviously illustrate this interest on the part of the general public. These decisions have the effect of focusing public debate on certain controversial issues and often require a governmental response. Judges must necessarily bear this in mind when drafting such decisions. In particular, in cases involving the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it has often been asserted that the relationship between the legislature and the courts is a form of dialogue, in which judges participate through their written decisions. Even when they do not involve a high-profile issue, decisions may generate public interest because they deal with a type of situation that may affect a large number of people (e.g., child custody disputes). Whether they are the subject of newspaper headlines, statistical analyses or other forms of research, they are therefore not just of interest to the parties and legal practitioners.
In many cases, the public learns of the judicial decision through an intermediary, who may be a journalist, a researcher or an individual seeking to make the law more accessible. It is helpful for judges to familiarize themselves with how these professionals work and to bear them in mind when writing their decisions. Moreover, we live in a society where citizens have increasing access to raw information. More and more, we can expect members of the public to inform themselves by reading court decisions directly.
Thus, far from being unaccountable, as some critics claim, judges are answerable to society through their decisions. The duty to give reasons is in some sense the price of security of tenure. In showing that legal reasoning has been followed and precedent has been respected, judges ensure their legitimacy and demonstrate that they are playing their proper role in the architecture of the state.
Finally, paradoxically, decisions are addressed to judges themselves, in that the drafting process holds up a mirror to their own reasoning, allowing them to identify flaws and correct shortcomings. Careful and rigorous drafting of reasons therefore constitutes a form of quality assurance for judicial reasoning.
5. Please describe the personal qualities, professional skills and abilities, and life experience that you believe will equip you for the role of a judge.
I believe that I have been given so much by my parents and family, my teachers, my professional mentors and all those around me in one form or another. I therefore feel a duty to give back even more to society. This obligation has guided my career choices to date and motivates me in my decision to apply for a judicial position. In the following paragraphs, I would like to highlight what I have learned from my professional experiences and describe the personal and professional qualities that I would bring to the position of judge.
My earliest experience was gained in the context of practising law in court. After clerking for Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court in 1993-1994, I practised law full time for seven years, primarily in the area of litigation. The cases I was involved with included several lengthy commercial arbitrations, for which I supervised the preparation of expert reports, examined witnesses and prepared written legal and factual submissions of over 100 pages. During this period, I also personally argued some 20 cases before the Court of Appeal of Quebec and the Federal Court of Appeal. My practice covered a wide range of subjects. In fact, within my firm I was considered the person to be called on when new or complex legal problems arose. My experience in private practice also exposed me to the realities of the private companies and public agencies we represented.
I then did my doctoral studies at Oxford University and in 2004, became a professor at the University of Ottawa. This new phase of my career allowed me to engage in a theoretical reflection on the law, a reflection that was informed and inspired by my practical experience before the courts. I developed the ability to integrate knowledge from other disciplines into my work so that I could allow more room for the social context of the law. Writing my numerous books and articles has allowed me to refine my ability to articulate complex legal reasoning. I have also worked to make the law more accessible to the general public.
When I arrived at the University of Ottawa, I quickly began to assume a variety of administrative assignments. In particular, I was the Dean of the Civil Law Section for a little over five years. This position provided me with hands-on experience of the day-to-day challenges of being a manager, from the hiring and managing of staff covered by collective agreements, to the planning of course offerings, to the disciplinary processes related to academic fraud. In addition, my frequent contacts with the media have allowed me to hone my ability to formulate objective legal opinions in a concise, timely and reliable manner, as well as to better understand society’s expectations of the law and the courts.
My academic commitment has not prevented me from maintaining an ongoing connection with the world of legal practice, such that my theoretical reflections are always rooted in concrete experience. Indeed, during this time, I have been assigned eight cases in the Supreme Court of Canada, including one as amicus curiae. These cases have contributed to the development of the law in various fields. I have also provided legal advice on complex Aboriginal law issues on behalf of government agencies and Indigenous communities. I therefore combine academic excellence with a very high level of practice.
My diverse experience leads me to define myself first and foremost as a legal generalist. This enables me to confidently approach problems in new areas, drawing on both my ability to make connections between concepts that are far removed from one another and my proficiency in legislative interpretation methods. I am able to situate each area of law in the broader context of the overarching legal system. As a member of the Quebec and Ontario bars, I am also in a position to consider the similarities and differences between civil and common law. Moreover, I am knowledgeable in other disciplines, including the social sciences and engineering, and have broad general knowledge that can only be an additional asset for performing the duties of a judge.
In any intellectual endeavour, I am curious, seek to identify all pertinent facts, and demonstrate rigour and logic, perfectionism and objectivity. I carry out the tasks entrusted to me with integrity, a sense of duty, efficiency and punctuality. Through my experience, I have learned to listen to others, to respect them and to understand their motivations and interests. While I am capable of convincing others to accept my perspective, I adopt a collegial and diplomatic attitude to seek consensus. I have also developed the ability to plan and execute complex projects, as well as manage and motivate a team within a large organization. I can handle a heavy workload and have learned to deal with numerous files simultaneously. For example, over the past few years, I have successfully combined administrative duties, teaching, research and publication projects and practice cases, while regularly responding to media requests.
Finally, I strive to perform my work while respecting the needs of my family and maintaining balance in my personal life. In fact, I find that the activities I enjoy with my wife and two daughters are what give me the energy and the resources I need to live a balanced life despite the breadth of the challenges I face. This balanced life enables me to develop and preserve the values of respect for others, tolerance of diversity, excellence, objectivity, integrity and fairness that will constantly guide me in my work as a judge.
6. Given the goal of ensuring that Canadians are able to look at the justices appointed to the bench and see their faces and life experience reflected there, you may, if you choose, provide information about yourself that you feel would assist in this objective.
Although I usually find myself in a majority situation, I am committed to listening to and seeking to understand the perspectives of other groups. Indeed, whether it is on the “Charter of Quebec Values,” Indigenous peoples, Francophone communities outside Quebec, or victims of sexual assault, I am publicly known for presenting and defending the perspectives of marginalized groups. In doing so, I have become aware that institutions and legal rules often reflect the perspective of the majority group and must be adjusted so as to be more inclusive. I have also realized the importance of listening to the voices of people in minority situations in order to understand their reality and their perspective. I therefore believe that I am in a position to make decisions that will be respectful of Canada’s diversity and in which Canadians will see themselves reflected.