TORONTO – Last month, Justice Todd Ducharme of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice acted as the judge in a mock trial called The Trial of David Suzuki.
Justice Ducharme’s high profile participation in this intensely political media stunt seems to be a breach of several guidelines in the Ethical Principles for Judges document published by the Canadian Judicial Council.
For example, “Judges should avoid any activity or association that could reflect adversely on their impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties” (p. 28) and “Judges should refrain from attendance at political gatherings…taking part publicly in controversial political discussions” (p. 28-29).
The highly political nature of The Trial of David Suzuki is obvious. The event was paid for by the Cape Farewell Foundation, which is devoted to “[instigating] a cultural response to climate change”, and supported by the registered lobby group, the David Suzuki Foundation.
Given Suzuki’s public denunciations and activism against current governments, the “trial” was a highly politicized “faux trial”, organized by those with a very particular and controversial political agenda, which they were trying to advance.
The organizers made it clear that this was part of a campaign of persuasion.
The independence of the judiciary must be upheld. The dignity of the office must be defended and preserved. We oppose Justice Ducharme’s violation of the neutrality and independence of the courts for the sake of a partisan campaign, no matter the political or ideological agenda.
We have filed a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council in order to respectfully request an evaluation of Justice Ducharme’s conduct.
For more information, please contact:
Ethical Oil Community Organizer
amanda.achtman [at] gmail.com