--Stephen Harper, in Sault-Ste. Marie, Ontario, September 3, 2009.
Yesterday's news of former Mulroney Tory Pierre Blais's appointment by Peevey Stevie as chief justice of the Federal Appeal Court fell below the radar for a whole slew of newsmakers unable to get their one-track gaze off the "upcoming election" meme. Luckily, the story did not escape the attention of the Canadian Press (view it here, via the G&M), where they know a thing or two about putting perspective into a news story:
Judge Blais was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative MP in 1984 and was re-elected in 1988. He lost his Bellechasse seat, just outside Quebec City, when the PCs were devastated by Mr. Chrétien's Liberals in the October 1993 federal election.Clearly, the right-wing partisan appointments are in full swing under a minority Harper government. Patronage is something opposition leaders have been able to make hay with before, of course.
Judge Blais served in multiple junior cabinet roles under Mr. Mulroney before replacing Kim Campbell as justice minister in a January, 1993, shuffle. He co-chaired the PCs' national re-election campaign.
Critics of his tenure accused the Quebec nationalist of being more concerned with party politics than with justice policy.
As justice minister, he rejected mandatory anti-sexism training for judges at all levels. He also proposed lowering the age at which the Young Offenders Act applies to 10 from 12 and reducing the age at which adult criminal law applies to 16 from 18.
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