Judicial advisory body will kickstart search for Nunavut judges
“For the first time in history, Inuit members make up the majority of Nunavut’s Judicial Advisory Committee”
With the June 28 appointment of members to a Nunavut Judicial Advisory Committee, Nunavut should move closer to seeing new judges in the territory.
As of last October, there were two empty judicial seats out of six in Nunavut.
And over the past years, Nunavut has lost nearly half of its 92 volunteer deputy judges—who take the place of resident judges in many matters—to retirement and health concerns.
Now, the members of this new committee will expedite the process for assessing applicants to the federally-appointed judiciary, said a news release on the appointments.
The new committee, also announced by a news release in Inuktitut, also includes more Inuit than in previous years.
“For the first time in history, Inuit members make up the majority of Nunavut’s Judicial Advisory Committee. Today’s announcement is a milestone towards a stronger, more diverse judiciary,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s justice minister and attorney general.
Those new Inuit members include Iqaluit lawyer Joseph Murdoch-Flowers, John M. Hickes of Rankin Inlet, Eliyah Padluq of Kimmirut and Lena Pedersen of Kugluktuk.
The Justice Advisory Committee is an independent body which provides recommendations to the justice minister on federal judicial appointments.
The members’ recommendations are merit-based but non-binding, the news release noted—and anyone seeking appointment to the bench must apply under a new judicial appointment process.
The committee members will, however, provide lists of “recommended” and “highly recommended” candidates for the minister’s consideration.
Nunavut’s committee members, appointed by the federal government by order-in-council for a two-year term, include:
• Justice Bonnie M. Tulloch, appointed to the Nunavut Court of Justice in 2012;
• Joseph Paul Murdoch-Flowers, a lawyer with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, who previously worked as a criminal defence lawyer with the Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik legal clinic in Iqaluit;
• Kathryn Kellough, a staff criminal lawyer at Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik;
• John M. Hickes, a former mayor of Rankin Inlet and current negotiator for Inuit organizations on various files who owns and operates two hotels in Rankin Inlet;
• Eliyah Padluq, an Inuktitut-speaking elder living in Kimmirut who helps organize the Elder Food Support Program and develops programming for the Baffin Correctional Centre’s Pamiujaq Outpost Camp; and,
• Lena Pedersen of Kugluktuk, the first woman elected to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly from 1970-1975, who also, from 2001-2003, served on the Nunavut Law Commission, helping to facilitate public consultations in all Nunavut communities on legislation for the new territory.