Skip to content

FOLA urges Provincial Government to de-politicize and return independence to Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee

Feb 23, 2024 Modified: February 23, 2024

Premier Ford’s comments at a news conference this morning, doubling-down on the position that judges be appointed for political and not merit-based reasons, reflect a juvenile understanding of the role of an independent judiciary and erodes confidence in the justice system. The justice system is not a playground for politicians to bully. The rule of law is upheld when judges are placed by merit, not by fiat.

The Premier’s words set back much of the good work this government has done to modernize and improve the justice system in partnership with the courts and other legal stakeholders. They cast aspersions on all of the meritorious appointments this government has already made. They suggest that appointed judges were politically biased and take partisan positions that parallel Doug Ford’s policies, and worse, the appointees can’t even respond to the insinuation.

All of this undermines public confidence in the administration of justice in a dangerous and anti-democratic way.

By most accounts, Ontario has a thoughtful and pragmatic Attorney General in Doug Downey. It is disappointing that the Premier has – once again – placed the position of the Attorney General in an impossible situation within the legal community and forced him to defend dangerous comments about the role of the judiciary in Ontario.

As a legal community and a profession duty-bound to uphold the rule of law, we denounce aspersions like this from being cast on the institutions of justice and the people that do that important work.

These comments are irresponsible. They are harmful. And worse, they are contagious on the political right and pull apart at the threads of our democracy in a misleading and dangerous way. We call on the Premier to do better.

About FOLA

FOLA is a non-profit organization that represents Ontario’s 46 county and district law associations. Most of FOLA’s members are sole practitioners or work in small firms across the province.



Douglas W. Judson