Trudeau appoints first Aboriginal judge to Supreme Court of Canada, Michelle O’Bonsawin

Sylvie Claire / August 20, 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday appointed Aboriginal Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin to serve on the country's Supreme Court, a historic first for a country in the process of reconciliation with its indigenous peoples.
 
An Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation in Quebec, O'Bonsawin is also fluently bilingual in French and English, something Justin Trudeau pledged to do at a time when the use of French is declining in Canada, according to recent official data.
 
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin to the Supreme Court of Canada, a court recognized around the world for its strength, excellence and independence, Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement.
 
A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice since 2017, Justice O'Bonsawin has specialized throughout her career in many areas including mental health and human rights.
 
As an Aboriginal woman growing up in Northern Ontario, I have come to realize the need for dedicated individuals to provide a strong and representative voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, the judge wrote in her nomination papers released by the government.
 
A non-binding process must still take place before Parliament by the end of August before she can take office.
 
Michelle O'Bonsawin's appointment is the second in a row to make Supreme Court history. Last year, Mahmud Jamal became the first non-white person appointed to the Court.
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