BC needs more judges

The chief justice of British Columbia's Supreme Court says he is frustrated by the federal government's "failure" to appoint judges, and he is calling on Ottawa to urgently fill at least nine vacancies in the province.

Christopher Hinkson says he is speaking out because softer approaches with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould have not worked and the public is not getting access to justice.

He says he meets every Monday morning with litigants whose cases have to be delayed — sometimes for up to a year — because judges are not available.

Hinkson says B.C.'s judicial advisory committee has approved more than nine candidates but many have been rejected by the minister because they are not "suitable," although he doesn't know what criteria she is using.

Wilson-Raybould did not immediately respond to a request for comment but on Wednesday she appointed one new justice to the B.C. Supreme Court and moved a judge to the Appeal Court.

The federal government has committed to increasing diversity in the judiciary, but Hinkson says while he supports that goal, if people from diverse backgrounds are not applying or do not meet the requirements to be a judge the positions shouldn't be left vacant.

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