The reigning Liberal government may find themselves again in hot water as at least six superior court justices supposedly attended partisan fundraisers to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior officials.
As first reported by the National Post, the alleged donations came shortly before their appointments to the bench, including three justices appointed to the court in Alberta.
According to Elections Canada’s Regulated Fundraising Events Registry, which covers all partisan donations from 2019 of at least $200, three people with names similar to federally appointed judges appear on the registry.
“Robert Armstrong and Michel Bourque, both of Calgary, attended several fundraisers with high-level cabinet members — sometimes together — with their last attendance at events just a couple months before judges with similar names were appointed to Alberta’s Court of King’s Bench,” writes Kate Schneider, a reporter with the Investigative Journalism Foundation (IJF).
According to a joint investigation by the National Post and the IJF, three times as many Liberal donors received a judicial appointment than Conservative donors since 2016.
Robert W. Armstrong of Calgary was appointed to Alberta’s superior court in February 2021. Michel H. Bourque, also of Calgary, received his appointment that December.
The registry lists a Michel Bourque attended five Liberal fundraisers between October 2017 and September 2021. One included a meet-and-greet with Trudeau and two with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The registry also lists a Robert Armstrong attending three fundraisers for the Liberals between July 2018 and October 2020 — two with Trudeau and one with Freeland.
In addition, Kevin Feth, a name similar to another Alberta judge, and Armstrong and Bourque are top donors with ties to the exclusive Laurier Club for Liberal supporters who donate $1,700 per year — the legal maximum an individual can make in partisan donations.
The judges have yet to reply to the National Post or IJF enquiries to confirm their attendance.