Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 12 of 59 11 ment passed legislation that would increase the number of judges in the court to 95 from 90, plus a chief justice and an associate chief justice, theoretically bringing the total to 97 if the 90th position were recognized by the federal government. And while the federal government some time ago "notionally" allotted those five new positions to the B.C. Supreme Court, Hinkson says he has been told "they no longer exist. "If one goes by the provincial legislation, the court is missing nine appointments," Hinkson says, but "according to Ottawa, there are only three vacancies." Hinkson notes that B.C. is in a "unique" situation regarding First Nations land claims. There are only five treaties in the province, "so when there are issues over land claims, we have no treaty to revert to." The courts must then go through a factual analysis of First Nation claims. There are now five in the province, with hearing days ranging from two to 500. With judges devoted to these cases, they "simply aren't available to hear anything else." First Black justice minister in Canada decries calls to defund police Q&A Fast Facts: » First Black justice minister in Canada » Called to bar in Nigeria in 2003, immigrated to Canada in 2005 » First elected MLA Edmonton-South West on April 16, 2019 » Named Minister of Municipal Affairs on April 30, 2019 » Named justice minister on Aug. 25, 2020 Kaycee (Kelechi) Madu Alberta Minister of Justice New Alberta Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu is the first Black politician in Canada to hold the key portfolio at either the federal or provincial level. After he was sworn into office on CC, Canadian Lawyer was able to catch up with him. What brought you to Canada? I was born and raised in southeast Nigeria. I studied law at the University of Lagos and was called to the bar in 2003. I was in private practice, but my wife was a university professor, and it was important for her to pursue graduate studies outside of Nigeria. She applied to universities in the United States, the U.K. and Europe, but she also had a chance to study at the University of Alberta, where her education would be funded. We came in 2005 and immediately fell in love with Alberta. It is a place where if you work hard there is boundless opportunity. What brought you into politics? I never had the taste for politics in Nigeria, but I bought my first political party membership ever a year after arriving in Alberta. I have always been interested in how we build communities, how we build a society, based on values that are important to me. The decision to become a politician came in 2015 when the NDP won the provincial election.. What do you think about discussions of defunding police and putting those resources toward dealing with systemic racism? Defunding police is something I absolutely oppose. The emphasis should be on police forces building relationships and working actively to solve problems. More concretely, the province intends to embark on a review of the Police Act, so it can address concerns such as carding and street checks of Black people and other minorities. Through that review, many of the problems the cultural minority communities have identified will be addressed. "There hasn't been any real increase in the number of judges since the mid-1990s." Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson, British Columbia Supreme Court From the complex to the simple; our range of expertise enables us to handle whatever size or type of legal issue you may have. We are committed to providing forward-thinking and flexible legal counsel while maintaining client service excellence. That's what we like to call Right-sized Thinking®. 2019-20 TOP 10 O N TA R I O R E G I O N A L F I R M No Matter the Size or Type of Case, We Can Handle It Right-sized Thinking® • 1-800-323-3781 •

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