Unworthy To Be a Judge

2021-12-21

The recent appointment of Azimuddin Hussain to the bench of Quebec Superior Court reveals extreme bias.

Sommaire en français La nomination récente d’Azimuddin Hussain à la magistrature de la Cour supérieure du Québec révèle un parti pris extrême. Ce blogue est disponible en français : Inapte à être juge.

Yesterday (Dec. 20, 2021) we learned that the lawyer Azimuddin Hussain has been named to the bench, as judge of Quebec Superior Court. Hussain was very much in the news a year ago, when in November and December of 2020 he represented an opponent of Bill 21 before that very court. In his comments at that time, Hussain drew an outrageous parallel between Bill 21 and the Nuremberg Laws adopted by Nazi Germany in 1935. Basically, Hussain observed that the Nuremberg Laws led to genocide and holocaust, thus implying that Bill 21 could lead to something as serious.

Recall that the Nuremberg Laws denied German citizenship to Jews (as well as Romani and Blacks) and banned intermarriage and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans. On the other hand, Bill 21 requires that some civil servants and teachers remove any religious symbols they normally wear when they are on the job. That is all. Bill 21 does not apply when off the job.

Hussain’s words were much worse than just comparing apples and oranges—more like comparing a teapot with a Tyrannosaurus rex. To make matters worse, the judge Marc-André Blanchard did not object in any way. This incident is part of the general campaign, by the opponents of secularism, to denigrate and demonize Bill 21 and its supporters.

Hussain’s comment was made on a Friday. The following Monday morning, Hussain claimed he had been misinterpreted by the media and the judge responded, “I assure you that I understood your comparisons as being purely rhetorical.” In my opinion, this constitutes serious bias and a major lack of judgment by Blanchard.

However, other incidents during that case last year were arguably as bad or even worse. At one point, Hussain, in his determination to discredit the testimony of the expert witness (for the MLQ) Jacques Beauchemin, referred to him as “an older white male heterosexual who does not wear a religious symbol.” In an earlier court session, Hussain also belittled another expert witness, professor Georges-Auguste Legault, by calling him “a white man” in order to discredit his testimony. Given that sex, age, skin colour and sexual orientation are of no relevance in this context, Hussain’s comments were completely inappropriate. Even more disturbing was that Judge Blanchard listened to all this passively and made no objection, no attempt to reprimand Hussain for his improper behaviour.

In my opinion, for the above reasons, as well as for many other aspects of the court case last year, both Judge Blanchard and Azimuddin Hussain must be considered unworthy of the position of Judge of Quebec Superior Court. Both lack the necessary objectivity to occupy that position.

The appointment of Hussain also reveals that Federal Justice Minister David Lametti and those who advised Lametti must also be extremely biased.

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