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Quebec party leaders hail top court’s ruling against Nadon appointment

Quebec’s party leaders greet each other at the election debate in Montreal on March 20, 2014.

PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Supreme Court's rejection of Marc Nadon's appointment reverberated on the Quebec election campaign, getting resounding approval from all major party leaders.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said the ruling was further proof that the federal system works for Quebec, and reinforces that Ottawa cannot unilaterally infringe on Quebec's legal traditions and civil law.

"It shows that there are institutions in the country that ensures that a balance is respected and recognizes the rights of provinces," Mr. Couillard said. "The courts, the Canadian mechanisms are there to settle these matters. It has been done and that is good news."

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The Quebec government had long been opposed to Mr. Nadon's appointment, arguing that he lacked the expertise to properly represent the province's legal traditions on the court. Friday's ruling "proves exactly that what we defended was right and demonstrates that when Quebec stands up for itself it can succeed," Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois said. "In this case, there could have been no other decision. Mr. Harper erred when he appointed Justice Nadon."

In her reaction to the Supreme Court decision, Ms. Marois abstained from aggressively confronting the Harper government, appearing satisfied to simply underscore Quebec's gains from the decision.

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault said the decision doesn't necessarily show that Canadian federalism automatically protects Quebec's interests – it only reinforces that the province's three judges on the bench must come from Quebec. "This has nothing to do with the way federalism works for Quebec," Mr. Legault said.

The CAQ calls itself a nationalist party – neither federalist nor sovereigntist – that seeks greater autonomy for Quebec.

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About the Author
Quebec City political correspondent

Rhéal Séguin is a journalist and political scientist. Born and educated in southern Ontario, he completed his undergraduate degree in political science at York University and a master's degree in political science at the Université du Québec à Montréal.Rhéal has practised journalism since 1978, first with Radio-Canada in radio and television and then with CBC Radio. More

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