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Former PC Party vice-president appointed as Ontario judge

A former vice-president of the Progressive Conservative party has been appointed an Ontario judge — a move one opposition party says is the latest example of the government putting “well-connected insiders” into prestigious roles.

On Monday, the province announced Sara Mintz was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice and will be stationed in Toronto.

Mintz, who was most recently the associate chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensative Board before its wind-down, disclosed to a legislative committee during her appointment to that board that she was the fifth vice-president of the PCs some 20 years ago.

She was also a member of both the provincial and federal Conservative parties, and interned for former premier Mike Harris in 2001.

In a statement, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the appointment is a “dangerous politicisation of the judicial process that erodes public trust in the justice system, our democracy and the government itself.”

“For years, the Ford government has used the public purse to dole out prestigious appointments to well-connected insiders,” he said. “Judges should be appointed to apply the law, not to do the Premier’s bidding.”

CBC Toronto has reached out to Mintz for comment.

Province says appointees subject to vetting process

In response to the criticism, Jack Fazzari, the press secretary for Attorney General Doug Downey, pointed to Mintz’s career before her appointment.

“As required by law, all appointees were subject to an in-depth vetting process set out publicly on the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) website and were recommended to the AG,” said Fazzari.

“Sara Mintz has been a lawyer for 20 years and is an expert in family and civil law. As well, she has been the alternative executive chair of Tribunals Ontario (TO) since 2022 and a member of the TO Executive Leadership team since 2020.”

In February, the province moved to appoint two former staffers to a committee that helps select provincial judges. Matthew Bondy, a former deputy chief of staff to Ford, is the chair of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, and Brock Vandrick, Ford’s former director of stakeholder relations, is also on the committee.

At the time, Ford said the province planned to “triple down” on installing tough-on-crime judges and that his party was elected “to get like-minded people in appointments.” 

Opposition parties and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association have condemned the move. 

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