The AJC supports Emilie Taman's appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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November 12th, 2015
November 12th, 2015

The AJC supports Emilie Taman's appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal

The AJC agrees to support Emilie Taman in her appeal of the recent Federal Court decision.  In its decision, the Federal Court dismissed Ms. Taman's application for judicial review on the basis that the Public Service Commission's decision to refuse her leave without pay in order to run for political office was reasonable.  

The Court found that although Ms. Taman's Charter rights are limited, such limits reflect a proportionate balancing of her Charter rights to engage in political activity and run for office with the principles of political impartiality and loyalty in the public service.  Justice Kane ruled among other things, that:

  • the Public Service Commission decision is not a "blanket prohibition" on all federal prosecutors;
  • facts relating to former political candidates or office holders not being barred from employment as federal prosecutors and provincial statutes and approaches permitting prosecutors to run for elected office in other jurisdictions are not relevant considerations with respect to the proportionality of the Commission's decisions or the minimal impairment on Ms. Taman's Charter rights; i)   
  • the Threader test of whether a reasonable, fully-informed person would conclude that she would be influenced in the performance of her duties by partisan political considerations does not apply to the Commission (noting that s. 114 of the PSEA includes some of the elements of this test);
  • the PPSC Deskbook provides a significant amount of prosecutorial discretion;
  • Ms. Taman's discretion compared to that of police officers, who are not prohibited from running for office, is different;
  • the Commission did conduct a comprehensive inquiry;
  • deference should be given to administrative bodies in balancing Charter values and broader statutory objectives.
The grounds for appeal as set out in the Notice of Appeal indicate that the Application Judge erred in reaching most of the aforementioned conclusions.

In Len MacKay, president of the AJC's view:  "The question of whether future and existing federal prosecutors will have a right to ever run for federal, provincial or municipal office in the face of this court decision will linger on as long as the Public Prosecution Service of Canada continues to oppose federal prosecutor requests.  We are seeking clarity for federal prosecutors and for new lawyers who are thinking of joining the PPSC as federal prosecutors.  The existing and future members have a right to know."

Emilie Taman, was a federal public prosecutor, who lost her position when she decided to run as a candidate in the federal election after the Public Service Commission refused to grant her leave without pay in order to run for public office.    Ms. Taman recently lost her bid to have the Federal Court overturn the Public Service Commission's decision.

We will keep you posted on any further developments on this appeal.

i) See para. 109

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