Mr. Joe Comartin
Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Halifax has given me the opportunity to point out the role that judges play, both as retired judges and active judges. They are regularly at international conferences to share their experiences of how they built the strong judiciary we have in this country.
I would like to use a couple of examples, one being Justice Arbour and the role she played with regard to crimes against humanity and war crimes, and the role she is playing at the United Nations. She is a very good judge but she was not atypical in the role she played in advancing, which, I would guess, our government, like the Bush administration in the United States, would be opposed to, the development of international law and, specifically, an international criminal court, that would deal with crimes against humanity, genocide and holocaust. She has been one of the leading judicial figures in the world in developing that.
The other example I have comes out of my law school days in Windsor. Work is being done, with the direct active assistance of a number of the judges in Canada, to develop a judicial system in Palestine to deal with the corruption that has permeated its judicial system in the past because of the direct conflict with the involvement at the political level in the judiciary in Palestine. Quite frankly, that program is in serious jeopardy because of the Conservative government's decision to cut funding to the Palestine government. A key part of that program are the judges who come from Canada to help Palestine better its judicial system.
The program we used in Russia, again with the active participation by our judiciary, showed the Russians that the old Soviet system was not the way to go. They should not have government telling the so-called independent judiciary but in fact have an independent judiciary. It is beginning to have some impact in Russia even under the current government. The quality of the judges that we send to take part in that contributes to the development of a better judiciary right around the globe.
Subtopic: Judges Act