TORONTO, April 14, 1999 - The appointment of the first black judge in Québec history will enhance public respect in the justice system, the executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation said today.
"I commend the Québec government's decision to appoint Juanita Westmoreland-Traore to the bench," said Moy Tam. "She is a highly capable and effective lawyer who will make an excellent contribution to Canadian and Québec jurisprudence."
Ms. Westmoreland-Traore is currently dean of law at the University of Windsor and has had a long and distinguished career in the area of human rights. She will be joining the criminal and family law divisions of the Court of Québec on April 21 and will be one of only two non-white judges on the Québec bench.
"The Québec government's record in appointing visible-minority judges to the bench has been poor," said Ms. Tam. "However, I think the government is finally beginning to recognize that it is in the interest of Québec society to have a judiciary that reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the province."
She added that the appointment will encourage more young people from visible-minority groups to enter the legal profession.
"Black youth and other visible-minority youth are far more likely to consider law as a career if they have role models they can look up to."
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (www.crr.ca) opened its doors in November, 1997. It operates at arm's length from the federal government and works to combat racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canada.