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Quebec Judge Ousted
May 19, 2006 permalink
Quebec Youth court Judge Andrée Ruffo has resigned rather than be fired after exhausting her legal appeals. The real reason for her ouster is that she spoke out publicly against the Quebec system for handling children. In a recent article Stephen Baskerville points out that judge Milton H Raphaelson felt free to criticize the family law system only after his retirement. Judge Ruffo is an example for judges who fail to wait for retirement before speaking out.
Ruffo steps down after top court declines case
CBC.CA News, Last Updated: May 18 2006 03:03 PM EDT
Youth court Judge Andrée Ruffo quit her job before Quebec could remove her from the bench, after the Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday that it wouldn't get involved in the case.
In November 2004, the Quebec Judicial Council found that the controversial lower-court judge – an outspoken defender of children's rights – had violated the council's code of ethics 18 times and been reprimanded 12 times since she being appointed to the bench 16 years earlier.
In late 2005, the Quebec Court of Appeal – recommended that Ruffo be removed from the bench. Ruffo appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking them to review the decision by Quebec's top court.
After the Supreme Court declined the request on Thursday, Ruffo resigned.
For years, Ruffo, 63, has publicly criticized provincial child welfare policy. Her views made her a hero to some, but others saw her as a loose cannon.
She first attracted public attention in 1987 when she sent two teenagers to sleep in the provincial social service minister's office in Quebec City to highlight the lack of available foster-care beds.
The appeal court said her goal was laudable but criticized the way she went about it, saying she ended up hurting the cause she advocated.
Other ethical lapses cited by the appeal court included Ruffo's appearance in a television commercial for Via Rail and her acceptance a speaker's fee of $1,500 to talk at a conference about New Age medicine.
The final decision on whether to remove her from the bench would have rested with the provincial government.
pointed out by a VOCA reader