POLITICS
10/21/2011 12:17 EDT | Updated 12/21/2011 05:12 EST

Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin formally welcomes new colleagues to the court

OTTAWA - Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin formally welcomed two newcomers to the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday.

She said the two new justices will be sworn in at a private ceremony next Thursday there will be an official welcoming ceremony in the Supreme Court itself in mid-November .

Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis were named to the court by Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this week.

The two were both judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

McLachlin said the two are both accomplished judges.

"They both possess a wealth of experience in diverse areas and will bring their considerable ability, wisdom and judgment to the Supreme Court of Canada," she said. "My colleagues and I very much look forward to working with them."

Harper said Moldaver and Karakatsanis are eminently qualified for their new roles.

"I have every confidence both justices will serve all Canadians faithfully and with distinction."

The two judges were questioned by a special committee of MPs on Wednesday, when New Democrat Joe Comartin expressed concerns that Moldaver doesn't speak French. He wasn't mollified when the judge said he'll take language lessons.

Comartin said Friday he still has reservations.

"Mr. Justice Moldaver I think is in his mid-60s now," he said. "He’s only got 10, 12 years on the bench maximum and is he going to need to spend two, three years, you know, getting fluent in French?"

Moldaver, 63, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1990 and moved to the appeal court in 1995.

Karakatsanis, 56, is a former Ontario deputy attorney who was named to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2002 and to the appeal court in 2010.