Why did Keen have to be fired?
19 Jan 2008
So asks the Toronto Star in this editorial.
I have argued that even though administrative tribunals in Canada, such as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, are entitled only to as much institutional independence as their enabling legislation grants them, given the language in the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, S.C. 1997, c. 9, including the fact that the legislation refers to that tribunal as a “court of record”, the CNSC is entitled to a great deal of independence from interference by government.
Where a tribunal is given that kind of independence, the members of the tribunal have a corresponding duty to defend that independence.
Ms. Keen’s decision not to testify before the parliamentary committee set up to inquire into the events giving rise to her dismissal is unfortunate. It is, in my view, an abdication of her responsibility to defend the independence and integrity of the tribunal on which she continues to sit. In addition, it deprives Canadians of the opportunity to hear and be educated on the functioning of administrative tribunals which occupy a growing part of the justice system in Canada. Finally, it sweeps under the rug some questionable behaviour on the part of this government.
I agree with the writer in this editorial that if need be, she should be summoned to appear. I do, however, hope that it does not come to that. I hope that Ms. Keen will continue to do what she had done so well up to this point, and defend the independence of her tribunal.