OTTAWA - The Conservative government is defending its nomination of a Quebec judge who used to be a lawyer for members of the Hells Angels.

The Tories named Jacques Leger, a former Conservative party president, to the Quebec Court of Appeal in January 2009.

But media reports have revealed that Leger advised members of the biker gang on commercial rights before he became a Quebec Superior Court justice in 2006.

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois blasted the government during question period over Leger's nomination.

Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis defended the appointment, saying that all candidates must go through a rigorous nomination process.

But when pressed by the NDP to elaborate on Leger's qualifications, the Tories stayed mum.

The opposition parties questioned whether the ex-Hells Angels attorney should be in a position to preside over cases involving the biker gang.

Radio-Canada reported this week that Quebec Court of Appeal Chief Justice Michel Robert pulled Leger from a case that involved four Hells Angels.

The report said Leger had not raised any concerns about a possible conflict of interest in hearing the case.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe expressed outrage at the nomination.

“How can this government - this defender of law and order - be so partisan that it would name a judge to the Court of Appeal after he represented the Hells Angels?” Duceppe told the House of Commons on Thursday.