Following years of speculation, former cabinet minister Vic Toews has been appointed to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench.
Toews, who retired from federal politics last summer, was long-rumoured to be headed for a judgeship. He will sit in the General Division of the Queen's Bench.
Toews, 61, is a former Crown prosecutor and was Manitoba's justice minister in the late '90s prior to leaving provincial politics for a lengthy career as a Conservative MP in Ottawa.
Manitoba Law Society CEO Allan Fineblit said Toews's legal experience — especially his expertise in the field of constitutional law — will serve him well on the bench.
Fineblit suggested some might find Toews's appointment unusual because of the length of time Toews was in politics — but said he's very knowledgeable about the law.
"I expect his appointment will be controversial because of his background," said Fineblit. "He may surprise people."
Toews is well-known for his tough-on-crime policies and his contempt for judicial activism.
Winnipeg lawyer Evan Roitenberg, who sits on the board of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said he expects Toews will do what all judges must — evaluate evidence in a fair and independent manner.
"What people do in their past positions generally should be forgotten when they go to the bench," he said.