John Gomery

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John Gomery

Justice of the Quebec Superior Court
In office
1982 – August 9, 2007
Personal details
Born(1932-08-09)August 9, 1932
DiedMay 18, 2021(2021-05-18) (aged 88)
EducationMcGill University

John Howard Gomery QC (August 9, 1932 – May 18, 2021) was a Canadian jurist.


Born in Montreal, Quebec, Gomery was educated at McGill University where he received Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) degrees. Gomery was a member of the McGill Law Journal.

In 1957, Gomery was called to the Quebec Bar and worked at the law firm Fasken, Martineau and Dumoulin in the areas of family law, commercial litigation and bankruptcy. He became a partner in 1966. In 1972, he was appointed Queen's Counsel (QC). In 1982, he was appointed to Quebec Superior Court Montreal district and from 1999 to 2005 served as President of the Copyright Board of Canada (renewed in 2002).

Gomery has also been involved in the Canadian Bar Association and Chambre des notaires du Québec. He was also President of the Comité Général des Juges de la Cour supérieure du Québec, President of the Family Law Committee from 1983 to 1993, and has been a member of the Rules of Practice Committee since the beginning.

Gomrey retired from the court bench on August 9, 2007, after turning 75, the age of mandatory retirement.

Gomery Commission[edit]

Gomery was appointed on February 19, 2004 as Commissioner of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities (informally, the Gomery Commission) to investigate the Sponsorship scandal. Gomery's mandate is set by Section IV, clause I of the Inquiries Act which states: "The Commissioner [is] directed to perform his or her duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization and to ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing criminal investigation or criminal proceedings." In other words, Gomery's mandate was only to determine whether there were problems with the federal sponsorship program in Quebec between 1995 and 2003; he was explicitly forbidden to name any individuals or organizations that may have been responsible for the alleged fraud that occurred during the sponsorship program. Gomery's report, available in several parts e.g. Restoring Accountability: Recommendations,[1] assisted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with further investigations, which led to criminal charges being filed and prosecuted against certain key figures in the scandal.

He has been criticized by many, in particular Chrétien supporters, who saw his dealings in the commission as biased. Others also criticized Gomery's terms of reference which did not allow the inquiry to investigate Paul Martin's contracting habits as finance minister.[2]

In 2005, the Canadian Press named Gomery Newsmaker of the Year. Time magazine also named him its Canadian Newsmaker of the Year.

Jean Chrétien went to federal court to clear his name and have the Gomery report invalidated. On June 26, 2008, federal judge Max Teitelbaum criticized Gomery for making comments that indicated he judged issues before all evidence was heard and exhibited bias against Chrétien. The federal judge also ruled that Gomery's comments on "small town cheap" amounted to a personal insult against Chrétien. The court criticized the Gomery inquiry's conclusions that Chrétien and Jean Pelletier bore responsibility for the sponsorship scandal.[3][4]

Later life[edit]

Gomery suffered two strokes between 2020–21 and contracted COVID-19. He made the decision to obtain medical assistance dying and passed on May 18, 2021.[5][6]


  2. ^ Panetta, Alexander (November 2, 2005). "Gomery pick to 'shut up' critics". cnews. Ottawa. The Canadian Press. Archived from the original on November 4, 2005. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  3. ^ Maccharles, Tonda (June 27, 2008). "Gomery was biased in report, judge rules". Toronto Star. Ottawa. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Clark, Campbell; Curry, Bill (27 June 2008). "Absolving Chrétien, judge blasts Gomery"". The Globe and Mail.
  5. ^ Tunney, Catharine (May 19, 2021). "John Gomery, who headed federal sponsorship scandal inquiry, has died". CBC News. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "Judge John Gomery has died at the age of 88".
  • Garvey, Bruce (2005-05-05). "Don't Wait for Gomery". National Post. p. A26.

Further reading[edit]