Justin Trudeau has nominated an Indigenous woman to Canada’s highest court in a landmark appointment after decades of criticism over the lack of Indigenous representation on the country’s highest court.
The Prime Minister announced on Friday that Michelle O’Bonsavi has been selected to fill an upcoming vacancy in the court.
O’Bonsavin, an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation, has been a judge in Ontario’s superior court in Ottawa since 2017. He has also taught law at the University of Ottawa and previously worked for the RCMP and legal services. Canada post.
The Franco-Ontarian was found following the impending retirement of Justice Michael Moldaver.
“I am confident that Justice O’Bonsaw will bring invaluable knowledge and contributions to our nation’s highest court,” Trudeau said, adding that he was selected through an “open, nonpartisan” process.
Unlike the scorched-earth hearings in the United States, where a justice’s opinions are heavily scrutinized and senators often use the process to fuel their own political ambitions, the Canadian process is less controversial.
Parliament’s justice committee will meet next week to hear from the justice minister and the head of the Supreme Court of Canada’s independent advisory council on judicial appointments. O’Bonsawin will then take questions from the committee and the senate.
then application formO’Bonsaw described how her Indigenous identity in Canada shaped both her life and her legal career, including being discriminated against and ridiculed as a young Indigenous girl growing up off-reserve.
“I believe that my experience as a francophone First Nations woman, parent, lawyer, scholar and judge gives me a lived understanding and insight into the diversity of Canada because I and my life experience are part of that diversity,” she said. he said.
He also stressed the importance of removing stigma around mental health issues and the need for an “inclusive” and “compassionate legal system” for First Nations, Inuit and Metis.
On Friday, Justice Minister David Lametti called the nomination for the high court a “historic moment.”
For decades, indigenous groups have called for justice that represents a different way of understanding the law.
“Canada’s highest court has always lacked an individual to interpret Canadian law through the eyes of Indigenous peoples – but no longer,” Elmer St Pierre, national head of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, said in a statement.
“Indigenous people have long faced discrimination, racism and prejudice in Canada’s justice system, which has led to our people being over-represented in courts and prisons. Governments must continue to ensure that the voices of indigenous peoples help shape, interpret and enforce laws.”
O’Bonsawi’s nomination is the second landmark appointment to the court. In 2021, Trudeau chose Mahmoud Jamal for the bench. making him the first person of color to serve as a supreme court justice.
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