Billions of dollars invested,
not a penny lost.
LUIS MILLAN MONTREAL
Barely a week after abandoning
a lawsuit that sought to dissolve a
provincial commission of inquiry
into Quebec’s system of nominating judges, former Justice Minister Marc Bellemare testified under
oath that Liberal Party fundraisers, with the consent of Premier
Jean Charest, pressured him to
appoint two loyal Liberals to the
bench and to promote a third as
assistant chief justice to the Court
In explosive testimony before
the commission headed by former
Supreme Court of Canada Justice
Michel Bastarache, Bellemare
also alleged that on the day he
announced he was resigning in
2004, Charest reminded him that
he was sworn to secrecy and could
not disclose information regarding
the role that party fundraisers
played in nominating judges.
But under cross-examination
on the second day of hearings
from commission lead counsel
Guiseppe Battista, Bellemare conceded that he had no corroborating evidence nor witnesses to back
up allegations that rocked Quebec’s legal and political circles. The
only evidence he produced were
cryptic notes he scrawled on a
piece of cardboard while watching
a hockey game on the day of his
resignation, which he said he
tucked away and forgot about.
“Maybe there are people who
at the time were aware of this and
could confirm it to you, but I
don’t have documents or audio or
video of that,” said Bellemare,
who appointed four judges to the
Court of Quebec and promoted
three during his tenure as justice
minister from April 2003 until
The inquiry was launched after
See Bellemare Page 23
Should privilege extend
to tax accountants?
Ontario’s Chief Justice Warren Winkler, one of the country’s top judicial mediators, is calling for a “cultural shift” toward
offering litigants more court-based judicial mediation.
PAUL LAWRENCE FOR THE LAWYERS WEEKLY
Reaching for the
‘biosimilar’ brass ring
Ont.’s chief justice calls for judges
to expand their role as mediators
CRISTIN SCHMITZ OTTAWA
Despite some fierce opposition within his own ranks,
Ontario’s chief justice is calling
for the judiciary to push beyond
its “comfortable” decision-mak-ing role to conduct more mediations in civil cases.
Admitting his proposed “
cultural shift” is “controversial,”
especially amongst judges, Chief
Justice Warren Winkler argues
the time is ripe to “plan seriously” to make judicial mediation more routinely available to
civil litigants (not just on an ad
hoc basis) by integrating it into
Ontario’s regular court services
and renovating court facilities to
provide the necessary meeting
rooms and access to technology.
If civil courts don’t offer more
judicial mediation — a quicker
and cheaper way of resolving
disputes than trials— the justice
system will become less access-
Winkler speaks on
the toll judging takes
ible and less relevant to most
Canadians, he predicts.
However the chief justice
stresses also that court-based
mediation should “supplement,
not diminish,” judges’ core purpose of deciding cases. “
Mediation must…enhance the trial
process, not supplant it,” he says.
Chief Justice Winkler con-
tends that “the issue today is not
whether we approve of the
increased role of media-
tion — that role is upon us, like it
or not—but whether this cul-
tural shift should extend to
court-based mediation, presided
over by sitting judges.”
He goes on to advocate that
“judicial mediation should be
expanded beyond its present
form” because “the judiciary is
well situated now to meet this
pressing demand within our civil
justice system, even despite the
views of those within the judi-
ciary who would resist this
Nevertheless he acknow-
ledges that some judges don’t
want, or have, mediation skills.
Some also fear they must make
“the dreaded descent into the
arena” to “broker deals,” a role
they see as conflicting with their
core mandate to decide cases
above the fray.
Greening the law office
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