Quebec Supreme Court seat opens as LeBel announces retirement

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (R) and Justice Louis LeBel leave the...

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (R) and Justice Louis LeBel leave the Senate chamber. REUTERS/Blair Gable

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET

OTTAWA — Two of three Quebec seats on the Supreme Court's bench will be empty as of Nov. 30, when Justice Louis LeBel is set to retire.

This adds to the pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fill those empty seats.

Harper had previously tried to appoint Marc Nadon — a lawyer from Quebec who'd sat on the Ontario federal court, but not a Quebec court, leading the Supreme Court to find him ineligible for the job.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin made the announcement Friday, calling LeBel a "pillar of the court."

"He is deeply loved and respected by his colleagues and he will be dearly missed," McLachlin said.

LeBel, who was appointed in 2000 by former prime minister Jean Chretien, will have been a judge for 30 years by the time he retires on his 75th birthday next November.

"It has been a privilege to contribute to the administration of justice in Canada," LeBel said in a release.


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