Judge dismisses petition over B.C. minister Shirley Bond’s qualifications
A B.C. Supreme Court Justice has dismissed a petition questioning whether Shirley Bond is qualified to serve as attorney general.
Burnaby resident Lesslie Askin had raised concerns about the decision to appoint Bond, who is not a lawyer, to the provincial cabinet position.
Askin argued the law prohibits unqualified individuals from holding the office of attorney general and that Bond’s appointment is invalid.
Askin had complained in January to the Law Society of B.C. about Bond’s appointment as attorney general.
Following a review, the society determined the premier has discretion under the Constitution Act to appoint the attorney general.
The society, which regulates the legal profession in B.C., also concluded it does not have jurisdiction to further investigate Askin’s complaint.
Askin filed her petition in B.C. Supreme Court in late March and was granted an expedited hearing.
Following hearings held in Vancouver in early June, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein agreed with Bond and the law society that the petition should be dismissed.
Stromberg-Stein determined the attorney general is not required under law to be a practising lawyer. She noted there have been past attorneys general who were not lawyers.
Stromberg-Stein also determined it “would impermissibly constrain the Crown prerogative of ministerial appointment” to conclude only lawyers qualify to be attorney general.
“In conclusion, the petitioner has obviously put a lot of time and effort into her submissions to this Court on a topic she is obviously passionate about. However, in my view, her petition is devoid of merit,” Stromberg-Stein wrote in reasons for judgment issued on June 18.
Bond was first elected as a Liberal MLA in 2001. She has previously held the roles of minister of public safety and solicitor general, and acting attorney general.
Premier Christy Clark appointed Bond as minister of justice and attorney general in February.