PM defends system for appointing judges amid questions about ties to N.B. minister

Dominic LeBlanc

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the federal system for appointing judges after revelations several in New Brunswick have personal connections to Liberal cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc.

CBC reported this week that five of the last six federally appointed judges in New Brunswick have ties to LeBlanc, who is Trudeau's minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs.

One is LeBlanc's neighbour, a second is a relative and three helped him pay off debt he accumulated during his unsuccessful run for the Liberal party leadership in 2008.

A complaint has since been filed to the ethics commissioner by watchdog Democracy Watch, which is asking for the government to suspend further appointments until an investigation is concluded.

Trudeau didn't specifically address the five judges in New Brunswick when asked about them during an event in Montreal, but instead defended the Liberal-installed system for appointing justices as merit-based and transparent.

He added that the government was pleased to have nominated ``top-notch judges'' across the country, and that it does not plan to stop appointments.