Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, June 17, nominated Justice Mahmud Jamal to the country's Supreme Court, making him the first person of colour to join the Court.
In its 146-year long history, the Apex Court only had white justices, hence the appointment assumes special significance.
Trudeau took to Twitter to announce the appointment. "Justice Mahmud Jamal has had a distinguished career, throughout which he's remained dedicated to serving others. He'll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court - and that's why, today, I'm announcing his historic nomination to our country's highest court," he said.
Jamal's nomination will replace retiring Rosalie Silberman Abella. Abella was the first Jewish woman and the first refugee to sit on the Top Court, according to Economic Times.
Canadian Bar Association's Reaction
Canadian Bar Association appreciated the move to nominate Jamal to fill the Ontario seat that would enable the bench to serve a diversified population
In a statement, the Association said that it had benefitted from the litigator's expertise and analysis of critical issues.
"I have advocated during my presidency, and the CBA has also advocated that our judiciary needs to reflect the makeup of Canada. And at this point in time, it's lacking in diversity in terms of Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour. Justice Jamal's nomination is a significant stride." Brad Regehr, President of Canadian Bar Association, told Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
Early Life, Beliefs
Jamal was born to an Indian family in Kenya's Nairobi. He was raised in Britain before moving to Canada in 1981.
In a questionnaire as part of his application to the Supreme Court, Jamal said that his diverse upbringing made him aware of the difficulties and challenges faced by minorities and immigrants in the country.
"I was raised at school as a Christian, reciting the Lord's Prayer and absorbing the values of the Church of England, and at home as a Muslim, memorising Arabic prayers from the Quran and living as part of the Ismaili community," he said, reported Hindustan Times.