Judges' Reaction to the Government's Response

    MONTREAL, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Earlier today, the Minister of Justice
issued the response of the government to the May 30, 2008 report of the
Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission (the "Quadrennial Commission").
Under s. 26(7) of the Judges Act, the Minister must respond to a Quadrennial
Commission report within six (6) months after receiving it.
    The President of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, Justice
Pierre J. Dalphond of the Quebec Court of Appeal, issued the following
statement in connection with the government's response:
    "The Quadrennial Commission process reflects the constitutional
requirement that in order to preserve the independence of the judiciary,
judicial compensation must be reviewed periodically by a body that is
independent of the executive and legislative branches.
    The recommendations contained in the Quadrennial Commission report of May
30, 2008 were carefully considered, well reasoned and reasonable. The
government has now indicated that it will not be implementing any of these
recommendations at the present time.
    Federally appointed judges recognize that the Canadian economy is
currently facing unprecedented challenges calling for various temporary
measures. However, the applicable constitutional principles will require that
the Quadrennial Commission's recommendations be reconsidered once the economic
situation is under control. The Association reserves its detailed comments
pending further review of the response.
    The Association remains concerned by the fact that the government's
response to the Quadrennial Commission's recommendations was not provided
within the time period prescribed by the Judges Act. In this regard, the
process of setting the remuneration of federally appointed judges is once
again shown not to be as effective as constitutionally required. I urge the
Minister of Justice to resume discussions with the judiciary in order to find
ways to strengthen the process".

    The membership of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association is
composed of over 1000 judges of the currently sitting 1065 federally appointed
judges and over 300 retired judges. The Association promotes the advancement
and maintenance of the judiciary as a separate and independent branch of the
government and the pursuit of a better public understanding of the role of the
judiciary in the administration of justice.

For further information:

For further information: Pierre Bienvenu, Ogilvy Renault, Montreal,
(514) 847-4452

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