Michel Girouard resigns from Quebec Superior Court: Canadian Judicial Council

·2 min read

OTTAWA — The Canadian Judicial Council says a Quebec judge has resigned after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear his appeal.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says Michel Girouard's decision to step down from the Quebec Superior Court "narrowly avoids his removal from office by Parliament."

A 2012 complaint alleged that Girouard, while he was still a lawyer, had bought illegal drugs from a client.

An inquiry committee rejected the allegations but cited contradictions and implausibilities in Girouard’s testimony.

A second complaint about Girouard’s credibility during the initial proceedings led a majority of judges on the council to recommend he lose his job.

The Federal Court and the Court of Appeal dismissed Girouard's attempts to overturn the recommendation, prompting his application to the Supreme Court.

In a news release Thursday as chairperson of the judicial council, Wagner said Girouard's resignation "is the last chapter in a prolonged saga that has undermined expectations of access to justice and has cost Canadians millions of dollars."

Wagner said Canada benefits from outstanding judges who demonstrate the highest ethical integrity but the Girouard matter shows that the disciplinary process that deals with instances of judicial misconduct must be re-examined.

"In the matter of Michel Girouard, proceedings have been going on for eight years now. Throughout this entire period, Michel Girouard has continued to receive his full salary despite not sitting, and he will now receive a pension for life, all at the expense of Canadian taxpayers," said Wagner.

Earlier Thursday, Justice Minister David Lametti said he would seek parliamentary approval to remove Girouard from the bench.

Lametti said Thursday on Twitter that as the "lengthy process has unfolded, I have made it clear that I fully intended to act if Justice Girouard exhausted his avenues of appeal and the revocation decision was upheld. That moment has arrived."

Lametti said he intended to proceed with Girouard's removal by seeking the necessary approval of the House of Commons and Senate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press