Liberal MP's Family, Friends, Neighbour 'Win' 5 of 6 Recent Judicial Appointments
Federal Liberals have been promising to appoint the "most meritorious jurists" to judicial vacancies across Canada, but most candidates winning judicial appointments in New Brunswick over the last year have had something else going for them — personal connections to senior Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc.
Five of the last six federal appointments announced in New Brunswick include Leblanc's neighbour, a LeBlanc family relation and three lawyers who helped retire debts from his unsuccessful 2008 leadership bid. LeBlanc is currently minister of intergovernmental affairs, northern affairs and internal trade.
Erin Crandall, a professor at Acadia University who has written extensively on the politics of judicial appointments in Canada, said patronage is still a significant force in provinces like New Brunswick, despite reforms to curb its use in the selection of judges.
"It's more prominent in smaller provinces," Crandall said.