The Rt. Hon. Joseph Honoré Gérald Fauteux PC CC (1900-1980) was the junior of the two new justices appointed on Dec. 22, 1949.
Gérald Fauteux was born in Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, the brother of Liberal MP Gaspard Fauteux and the brother-in-law of Progressive Conservative senator Claude Castonguay. Through his mother, Héva Mercier, he was the grandson of Quebec premier Honoré Mercier, nephew of premier Sir Lomer Gouin, first cousin of Liberal senator Léon-Mercier Gouin, and first cousin twice removed of current Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair.
Fauteux went to U de Montreal and passed the bar in 1925, partnering in Montreal with his cousin, Honoré Mercier Jr. Fauteux lectured in criminal law at McGill and was Dean of Law there from 1949 to 1950, and was later Dean of Law at the U of Ottawa from 1953 to 1962. He was also Crown Prosecutor for Montreal from 1930 to 1936, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Province of Quebec from 1939 to 1947, a legal advisor to the Kellock-Taschereau Commission in 1946, and a judge of the Quebec Superior Court from 1947 to 1949.
Fauteux was promoted to Chief Justice on March 23, 1970, the fourth Chief Justice in eight years. Important cases of his tenure include Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company v. Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. (1970), which decided if a patent covers both a machine and that machine’s process, and somebody invents a different machine that works with the same process, it isn’t patent infringement; Caloil Inc. v. Attorney General of Canada (1971), which agreed that the federal government had the power to restrict the import and sale of goods in specific areas of the country; AG Manitoba v. Manitoba Egg and Poultry Association (1971), known as the “Manitoba Egg Reference”, which decided that provinces could not engage in trade embargoes with each other; Horsley v. MacLaren (1972), which found there is no civil duty to rescue someone in trouble (this is also known as the Ogopogo case, after the boat Mr. Horsley fell off and died); R. v. Duke (1972), which found the common law principle of natural justice (i.e., the right to a fair and unbiased trial) is equivalent to the right to fundamental justice enumerated in the Bill of Rights (and later in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms); Tennessee Eastman Co. v. Commissioner of Patents (1972), which found that medical procedures are not patentable; and Calder v. British Columbia (Attorney General) (1973), which found that Aboriginal land title derives from rights existing prior to Western contact, as opposed to their derivation from the governing statutes. Fauteux retired on Dec. 23, 1973, and died in 1980.
Louis-Philippe de Grandpré CC (1917-2008) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 1974. Born in Montreal, de Grandpré went to McGill and was called to the bar in 1938. At the age of 29, he developed a cyst in his spinal cord that crippled his right side for the rest of his life. He had a thriving private practice in Montreal and was president of the Canadian Bar Association for 1972 and 1973, where he opposed state control of legal aid plans. As a justice, de Grandpré was very conservative and anti-abortion, butting heads fiercely with Bora Laskin, until he resigned from the Court on Oct. 1, 1977, claiming the judgeship bored him. He returned to his Montreal practice and died in Saint-Lambert a month shy of 91.
Yves Pratte (1925-1988) was appointed to the Court on Oct. 1, 1977. Born in Quebec City, Pratte went to U of T and Laval and passed the bar in 1947. He was Dean of Law at Laval from 1965 to 1968, and chairman of Air Canada from 1968 to 1974. Pratte resigned his judgeship for health reasons on June 30, 1979, and returned to private practice, dying suddenly of a heart attack in 1988. His son, André Pratte, is the editor-in-chief of La Presse.
Julien Chouinard OC CD (1929-1987) joined the Court on Sept. 24, 1979, the only Supreme Court appointment of Joe Clark. Chouinard was born in Quebec City and went to Laval before going to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, returning and passing the bar in 1953. During this time he also served as an officer in the militia, working his way up to lieutenant-colonel, and was Commander of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment from 1965 to 1968. He joined the Quebec civil service as deputy minister of justice in 1965, then he was appointed Secretary General of the Executive Council of Quebec in 1968, serving until his appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1974. Chouinard served on the Supreme Court for seven years, until his death from brain cancer on Feb. 6, 1987.
Claire L’Heureux-Dubé CC (1927-now) became the first French woman on the Supreme Court on April 15, 1987. Born Claire L’Heureux in Quebec City, she went to McGill and Laval and passed the bar in 1951. She married Dr. Arthur Dubé in 1957, staying together until his suicide in 1978. L’Heureux-Dubé was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1973, then to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1979.
On the Court, L’Heureux-Dubé was a prolific dissenter: her liberal, activist jurisprudence often clashed with her fellow justices, her judgements rested heavily on research into the social sciences, and her written opinions were very long. L’Heureux-Dubé left the Court July 1, 2002. She now campaigns for greater access to justice in Quebec City.
Marie Deschamps CC (1952-now) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Aug. 7, 2002. Deschamps was born in Repentigny and went to U de Montreal and McGill before passing the bar in 1975. She was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1990, then to the Quebec Court of Appeal two years later. Deschamps retired from the Court on Aug. 7, 2012. She has since joined the faculty at McGill Law School.
Richard R. Wagner (1957-now) replaced Deschamps on Oct. 5, 2012. Wagner was born in Montreal, the son of Quebec attorney-general and Progressive Conservative MP and senator Claude Wagner. Richard went to the U of Ottawa and was called to the bar of Quebec in 1980, then began a successful career in Montreal as a realty and commercial litigator. Wagner was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 2004, then to the Quebec Court of Appeal in February of 2011.
On December 22, 1949, two new justices were added to the Supreme Court. The more senior of the two was the Rt. Hon. John Robert Cartwright PC CC MC (1895-1979). Born in Toronto, Cartwright went to UCC and Osgoode Hall, then signed up for the Army in World War I. He was wounded twice in battle, awarded the Military Cross, rose to the rank of captain, and served as an aide-de-camp to three generals. After the war, Cartwright passed the bar in 1920 and took up private practice in Toronto. In 1947, he was prosecuting counsel for the federal government in spy trials resulting from the Kellock-Taschereau Commission.
Cartwright became Chief Justice on Sept. 1, 1967. The most important cases of his tenure included Carnation Co. v. Quebec Agricultural Marketing Board (1968), which found provincial laws overlapping with federal commerce laws are not necessarily invalidated; R. v. Whitfield (1969), which set the definition of arrest as needing to include actual physical seizure or detention; Walter v. Attorney General of Alberta (1969), which upheld provincial restrictions on communal land ownership, despite incidentally discriminating against Hutterites and Doukhobors; and R. v. Drybones (1970), which empowered the courts to strike down federal legislation which contravened the 1960 Bill of Rights, an important precedent once the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed in 1982. Cartwright retired from the bench on March 13, 1970, and returned to private practice. He died in 1979.
The Rt. Hon. Bora Laskin PC CC FRSC (1912-1984) was appointed to the Supreme Court on March 19, 1970. Laskin was born in Ft. William, ON, which is now Thunder Bay. His brother, Saul, was later the mayor of Thunder Bay. Bora went to U of T, Osgoode Hall, and Harvard Law School, called to the bar in 1937, and taught law at U of T and Osgoode Hall from 1940 to 1965. He was a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal from 1965 to 1970.
Laskin became Chief Justice on Dec. 27, 1973, to the shock of many in the legal community, who expected Pierre Trudeau to follow tradition and appoint as chief the senior-most justice, Ronald Martland. The tail end of Laskin’s court saw the proclamation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in many ways Bora Laskin was Canada’s first modern Chief Justice. Jordan House Ltd. v. Menow (1974) found bars had a duty to make sure drunk guests arrive home safely; Canadian Aero Service Ltd. v. O’Malley (1974) ruled that a subsidiary company’s directors have fiduciary duties to their parent company; Attorney General of Canada v. Lavell (1974) ruled it was not contrary to the Bill of Rights to deprive Native women of their benefits if they marry non-Native men (a ruling which influenced the drafting of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the law in question was repealed in 1985); R. v. Kienapple (1975) established the “Kienapple principle”, where you can’t be charged with more than one crime from the same act; Jones v. Attorney General of New Brunswick (1975) found the Official Languages Act constitutionally valid; Interprovincial Cooperatives v. Dryden Chemicals Ltd. (1975) decided a province cannot constitutionally pass laws that apply to other provinces; Morgan v. Prince Edward Island (Attorney General) (1976) upheld a provincial limiting non-residents’ ability to own land; Reference re Anti-Inflation Act (1976) found the federal government had the power to control inflation; MacDonald v. Vapor Canada Ltd. (1976) struck down a clause of the Trade-marks Act penalizing practices “contrary to honest industrial or commercial usage” for being a provincial power; R. v. Miller and Cockriell (1977) upheld the death penalty as constitutional; R. v. Leary (1977) limited the use of the intoxication defence; R. v. Kruger and al. (1977) found Aboriginal hunting rights don’t automatically supersede provincial gaming laws; R. v. Smithers (1978) defined how involved in a death you have to be before you can be charged with manslaughter; Capital Cities Communications Inc. v. CRTC (1978) decided cable TV is within federal jurisdiction; Attorney General of Quebec v. Kellogg’s Co. of Canada (1978) allowed provinces to regulate TV advertising; Nova Scotia Board of Censors v. McNeil (1978) decided film censorship is not criminal law and is a provincial power; Attorney General of Canada and Dupond v. City of Montreal (1978) decided municipalities can control parade traffic by passing anti-nuisance laws; Reference Re Agricultural Products Marketing Act (1978), a.k.a. the “Egg Reference”, upheld the legality of a federal agricultural marketing scheme; R. v. Manitoba Fisheries Ltd. (1978) defined a regulatory taking as expropriation; Cherneskey v. Armadale Publishers (1979) found a defence of fair comment is not applicable if the editors don’t agree with the comment; R. v. Dunlop and Sylvester (1979) ruled that just being at the scene of a crime doesn’t count as aiding and abetting; R. v. Lewis (1979) found not all criminal acts require a motive; R. v. Solosky (1980) declared solicitor-client privilege to be a fundamental right; R. v. Pappajohn (1980) limited the use of a mistake of fact defence in rape trials; Pettkus v. Becker (1980) reformed property distribution in common-law separations; Reibl v. Hughes (1980) held that doctors obtaining medical consent have a duty to disclose all risks fully; R. v. Ron Engineering and Construction (Eastern) Ltd. (1981) found the issuing of a call for tenders constitutes a contract in and of itself; Reference re Residential Tenancies Act (1981) set out the separation of jurisdiction between courts and administrative bodies; Seneca College v. Bhadauria (1981) found discrimination does not exist as a tort in common law; Reference re Resolution to Amend the Contitution (1981) set the parameters for the patriation of the Constitution of Canada; Minister of Justice v. Borowski (1981) set the standard for public interest standing to challenge the legality of a law; Ontario Human Rights Commission v. Etobicoke (1982) stuck down unjustified age discrimination; R. v. Vetrovec (1982) established the ability for judges to warn juries about the untrustworthiness of witness testimony; Shell Oil Co. v. Commissioner of Patents (1982) found the new use for an old compound is patentable; R. v. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (1983) found any tort of breach of statutory duty is subsumed by the law of civil or criminal negligence; R. v. Perka (1984) limited the defence of necessity to occasions where involuntariness is strictly limited; and Reference re Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act (1984) found that legislation passed by the government of Newfoundland to take back water rights contracted out to the province of Quebec was unconstitutional.
Laskin died in office on March 26, 1984. His son, John Laskin, was a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Gerald Eric Le Dain CC (1924-2007) was Pierre Trudeau’s final appointment to the Supreme Court on May 29, 1984. Born in Montreal, Le Dain served in the artillery in World War II, then went to McGill, passed the bar in 1949, then earned a doctorate in law from the Université de Lyon. He taught law at McGill, then was dean of Osgoode Hall Law School from 1967 to 1972. In the early 1970s he became a hero to stoners by chairing the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs from 1969 to 1973, which recommended the decriminalization of marijuana.
Le Dain sat on the Federal Court of Canada from 1975 to 1984. He left the Supreme Court on Nov. 30, 1988, and died in 2007.
Peter deCarteret Cory CC (1924-now) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 1989. Born in Windsor, ON, Cory flew bombers in the Air Force in World War II, then went to UWO and Osgoode Hall and passed the bar in 1950. He practiced law in Toronto until 1974, then was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, getting a promotion to the Ontario court of Appeal in 1981. Cory retired from judging on June 1, 1999, and has since been Chancellor of York University and Honorary Colonel of the 426 Transport Training Squadron.
Louise Arbour CC (1947-now) was elevated to the Court on Sept. 15, 1999. Arbour was born in Montreal, the daughter of a successful hotelier. She attended the Université de Montréal, clerked for Supreme Court justice Louis-Philippe Pigeon, and passed the Quebec bar in 1971. She taught at Osgoode Hall from 1974 to 1987, when she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, then to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1990. In 1996, Arbour was appointed as the UN’s chief prosecutor for war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, where she made headlines for indicting Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity.
Arbour left the Supreme Court on June 30, 2004, to serve as the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights from 2004 to 2008, and was inducted into the French Legion of Honour in 2011. She is now the president of the International Crisis Group.
Louise Charron CC (1951-now) was elevated to the Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2004. Born in Sturgeo Falls, ON, Charron went to Carleton U and the University of Ottawa and passed the bar in 1977. She practiced civil litigation and served in the Crown Attorney’s Office before teaching at U of O. She was appointed to the District Court of Ontario in 1988 and to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1995, and concurrently served on the Nunavut Court of Justice from 1999 to 2004. Charron left the Court on Aug. 30, 2011, and is now a fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, a liberal advocacy group.
Andromache Karakatsanis (1955-now) was appointed to the Court on Oct. 21, 2011. Karakatsanis was born in Toronto to flagrantly Greek parents who owned a souvlaki restaurant. She went to U of T and Osgoode Hall and passed the Ontario bar in 1982. She clerked for judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal and practised privately before entering a string of high-level jobs in the Ontario government: Vice-Chair of the Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario in 1987, Chair and CEO of the LLBO in 1988, Deputy Attorney General and Secretary of the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat in 1995, Deputy Attorney General for Ontario in 1997, Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council of the Government of Ontario in 2000, and finally was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2002 and elevated to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2010, where she served a year and a half before joining the Supreme Court.
In 1927, the Supreme Court’s membership was increased to seven, to avoid tie votes. John Henderson Lamont (1865-1936) was appointed to the new opening on April 2, 1927. Lamont was born in Horning’s Mills, in Dufferin County, ON. He went to U of T, passed the bar in 1893, and practiced law in Toronto until 1899, when he moved to the Northwest Territories and settled in Prince Albert. He was the Liberal MP for the Provisional District of Saskatchewan from 1904 to 1905, when he resigned to serve as Liberal MLA for Prince Albert City and Attorney-General in the first legislature of Saskatchewan. Lamont served as a judge of the Saskatchewan Supreme Court from 1907 to 1918, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal from 1918 to 1927, and on the Supreme Court of Canada from 1927 to his death on March 10, 1936.
Albert Blellock Hudson (1875-1947) succeeded Lamont on March 24, 1936. Born in Pembroke, ON, Hudson moved to Manitoba as a child, attended the University of Manitoba and passed the bar in 1899. He was a Liberal MLA from 1914 to 1920, and was Attorney-General and Minister of Telephones and Telegraphs of Manitoba from 1915 to 1917. Hudson was the Liberal MP for Winnipeg South from 1921 to 1925. Hudson served on the Supreme Court from 1936 to his death on Jan. 6, 1947.
Charles Holland Locke CC MC (1887-1980) succeeded his friend and mentor, Albert Blellock Hudson, on June 3, 1947. Born in Morden, MB, he articled in Albert Hudson’s law office and passed the Manitoba bar in 1910. He signed up for the Army in World War I and was awarded the Military Cross for action on the Western Front. Locke came back to Winnipeg after the war, but moved to Vancouver in 1928 and engaged in private practice until he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Locke retired from the Court on Sept. 16, 1962, and died in 1980. His son, Charles Conrad Locke, was a justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
Emmett Matthew Hall CC (1898-1995) was appointed to the Court by John Diefenbaker on Nov. 23, 1962. Hall was born in Saint-Colomban, QC, but moved to Saskatoon as a child. He got a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan (where he supported himself as a public-school French teacher) and passed the bar in 1922. He proved to be a hotshot young defence lawyer, winning his first case before the Supreme Court of Canada at the age of 29. Hall was made Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan in 1957 and Chief Justice of Saskatchewan in 1961.
As a justice of the Supreme Court, Hall was the only justice to dissent from the decision to deny a retrial to Steven Truscott in 1967. But his most prominent role came in 1964, when he chaired a royal commission on the health system in Canada. The Hall Commission recommended the immediate adoption of public health insurance, making Hall one of the fathers of Medicare. Hall also co-chaired the Hall-Dennis report on education reform for the province of Ontario. Hall retired from the Court on March 1, 1973, and died in 1995 at the age of 96.
The Rt. Hon. Robert George Brian Dickson PC CC CD (1916-1998) succeeded Hall on March 26, 1973. Brian Dickson was born in Yorkton, SK, went to the University of Manitoba, passed the bar in 1940, and signed up for the Army and fought in France in World War II, where he lost a leg near Falaise. Coming home, he became a successful corporate lawyer in Winnipeg and was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in 1963 and promoted to the Manitoba Court of Appeal in 1967.
Dickson was appointed Chief Justice on April 18, 1984. He was the first new chief justice to be appointed since the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and thus the first truly modern Chief Justice. As such, his court settled a number of important cases. City of Kamloops v. Nielsen (1984) set out limits for compensation in tort claims based purely on economic loss; Hunter v. Southam Inc. (1984) struck down the Combines Investigation Act of 1923 for a failure to provide standards in the administration of warrants; R. v. Guerin (1984) found the federal government has a fiduciary duty to the First Nations of Canada and that the common-law tradition of Aboriginal title was a right unique (or “sui generis”) to Aboriginal law; Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration (1985) declared that refugees without status in Canada still had rights under the Charter; R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. (1985) declared Lord’s Day Acts (laws banning trade on Sundays) unconstitutional; Operation Dismantle v. The Queen (1985) declared the courts can only intercede with the legislative and executive arms of the government for legal reasons, not political ones; R. v. Sansregret (1985) found that willful blindness to a lack of consent qualifies as rape; R. v. Therens (1985) found mandatory breathalyzer tests at the scene of an accident violates the right to retain counsel; R. v. Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. (1985) determined that corporate culpability can be pinned on its directing executives; Reference re Section 94(2) of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act (1985) found that a law that decrees absolute liability for an offence cannot impose a penalty of detainment or imprisonment except in extreme circumstances; Ontario Human Rights Commission and O’Malley v. Simpsons-Sears Ltd. (1985) acknowledged the existence of indirect discrimination thorough conduct creating an effect of prejudice; R. v. Valente (1985) found that, legally, provincial court judges had judicial independence equivalent to that of federal judges; R. v. Oakes (1986) established the “Oakes test”, which is used to determine if a law is “reasonably justified” under section 1 of the Charter; R. v. Clarkson (1986) decided an accused person must be fully aware and informed of the consequences before he or she waives his or her right to retain and instruct counsel; Société des Acadiens v. Association of Parents (1986) decided that people speaking a minority language in court have the right to an interpreter, but don’t have the right to a judge that speaks their language; Central Trust Company v. Rafuse (1986) established the discoverability doctrine for statutes of limitations: the time period begins when the plaintiff discovers or ought to have discovered the problem while exercising due diligence; R. v. Jones (1986) decreed that government holding ultimate control over education does not contravene freedom of religion; Mrs. E. v. Eve (1986) found a guardian doesn’t have the right to forcibly sterilize an adult retarded person in their care; Kosmopolous v. Constitution Insurance Co. of Canada (1987) declared corporate liability could be placed directly on shareholders only when such an action would be just and equitable to third parties; R. v. Collins (1987) established a test for the admissibility of evidence; Reference re Alberta Public Service Employee Relations Act (1987) found that freedom of association doesn’t include the right to go on strike; R. v. Smith (1987) found that long mandatory sentences not taking into account the severity of the crime constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; Rio Hotel Ltd. v. New Brunswick (Liquor Licensing Board) (1987) ruled that provincial laws regulating nudity in bars are constitutionally valid; Robichaud v. Canada (Treasury Board) (1987) found that a corporation can be found liable for the discriminatory conduct of its employees who are acting in the course of their employment; R. v. Béland (1987) ruled that polygraph tests are inadmissible in court; R. v. Wigglesworth (1987) decided how to determine if a legal proceeding is criminal in nature; R. v. Vaillancourt (1987) found that a murder committed when death was not foreseen by the guilty party is not culpable homicide; R. v. Morgentaler (1988) struck down the federal regulations on abortion and ordered them rewritten (which Parliament has never done); R. v. Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd. (1988) decided that oceanic pollution was an exclusively federal jurisdiction; BCGEU v. British Columbia (1988) decided that judges can issue injunctions against picketing outside of courthouses; R. v. Dyment (1988) ruled that the police cannot seize blood samples taken for medical reasons; Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General) (1988) struck down the parts of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language restricting non-French signage; Devine v. Quebec (Attorney General) (1988) found provincial regulation of minority language rights are constitutionally valid; Sobeys Stores Ltd. v. Yeomans and Labour Standards Tribunal (NS) (1989) ruled labour tribunals are not unconstitutional; Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia (1989) established the “Andrews test” to determine when equality rights have been violated; Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec (Attorney General) (1989) found restrictions on advertising to children violates freedom of speech, but is saved under Section 1 of the Charter; Brooks v. Safeway Canada (1989) found discrimination against pregnant women to be unconstitutional; United States of America v. Cotroni; United States of America v. El Zein (1989) found that extradition violates mobility rights, but is allowed under Section 1 of the Charter; Tremblay v. Daigle (1989) ruled that a fetus is not a legal person under Canadian law; Lac Minerals Ltd. v. International Corona Resources Ltd. (1989) decided how confidential relationships can be created in the course of business, and the appropriate penalties when such relationships are broken; Mackeigan v. Hickman (1989) held that to require a federal judge to explain his or her decisions would violate the principle of judicial independence; Edmonton Journal v. Alberta (Attorney General) (1989) held that publication bans on matrimonial proceedings are a violation of freedom of speech; R. v. Duarte (1990) found that recording of private communications requires the consent of both sides; R. v. Brydges (1990) imposed a duty upon the police to provide information to a legal aid lawyer if needed (legal aid lawyers for the recently arrested are now called “Brydges counsel”); R. v. Storrey (1990) ruled a police officer need both subjective and objective reasons to make an arrest; Mahé v. Alberta (1990) required that parents of the English/French minority in each province have the right either to be represented on the school boards, or to have school boards of their own; Knight v. Indian Head School Division No. 19 (1990) created a threshold test to determine whether an administrative process is obliged to be procedurally fair; R. v. Lavallee (1990) recognized the existence of battered woman syndrome; R. v. Ladouceur (1990) found that random traffic checks violate the right against arbitrary detention, but are saved under Section 1; R. v. Sparrow (1990) held that Aboriginal rights cannot be infringed upon without justification; Reference re ss. 193 & 195.1(1)(c) of Criminal Code (Canada) (1990), a.k.a. the “Prostitution Reference”, found limits on communicating for purposes of prostitution were an acceptable limit on freedom of expression (later struck down in 2013’s Bedford v. Attorney-General); R. v. Skinner (1990) found the solicitation of prostitutes does not violate the right to freedom of association; Apple Computer, Inc. v. Mackintosh Computers Ltd. (1990) found software can be copyrighted; and Rocket v. Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (1990) struck down a law prohibiting advertising by medical professionals.
Dickson retired on June 30, 1990, and died in 1998.
William Alexander Stevenson OC (1934-now) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Sept. 17, 1990. Stevenson was born in Edmonton and went to the University of Alberta Law School, where he co-founded the Alberta Law Review. He passed the bar in 1958 and both practiced law and taught at U of A until 1975, when he began a string of judgeships: the District Court of Alberta (1975-79), the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (1979-80), the Court of Appeal of Alberta (1980-90), the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories (1976-80), the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories (1980-90), and the Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory (1978-83).
Stevenson retired from the Supreme Court on June 5, 1992, due to his frail health, and now enjoys a quiet retirement.
John Charles Major CC (1931-now) replaced Stevenson on Nov. 13, 1992, the last justice appointed by Brian Mulroney. Born in Mattawa, ON, “Jack” Major attended Loyola College (now part of Concordia U) and U of T before moving to Alberta, where he passed the bar in 1958. He practiced law in Calgary and was senior counsel to the Calgary Police, then was appointed to the Alberta Court of Appeal in 1991. As a justice, Major was well-respected for his well-written opinions. Major left the Court on Dec. 25, 2005 and returned to private practice. He chaired a commission of inquiry in 2006 into the Air India bombing of 1985.
Marshall E. Rothstein (1940-now) became Stephen Harper’s first appointee to the Supreme Court on March 1, 2006. Born in Winnipeg, Rothstein earned an LLB from the University of Manitoba ad passed the bar in 1966. He practiced transportation and competition law in Winnipeg and lectured in transport law at the University of Manitoba. He was appointed to the Trial Division of the Federal Court of Canada in 1992 and elevated to the Appeal Division in 1999.
William Alexander Henry (1816-1888), a Father of Confederation, was the last of the original six justices appointed on Sept. 30, 1875. Born in Halifax and raised in Antigonish, NS, Henry passed the Nova Scotia bar in 1840 and served in the General Assembly of Nova Scotia from 1840 to 1843 and from 1847 to 1867, during which time he served as a delegate to all three constitutional conferences. He was later Mayor of Halifax from 1870 to 1871. As a judge, Henry was generally well regarded, although justices Strong and Gwynne openly complained that his written decisions were terribly composed. Henry died on the bench on May 3, 1888.
Christopher Salmon Patterson (1823–1893) was appointed to replace Henry on Oct. 27, 1888. Born in London, England, Patterson went to Ireland to study at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution before emigrating to Picton, ON, in 1845. He was called to the bar in 1851 and moved to Toronto in 1856 to practise law. In 1874, he appointed to the Ontario Court of Error and Appeal, serving until 1888. Patterson died in office on July 24, 1893. Patterson Township, in Parry Sound District, ON, is named in his honour.
George Edwin King (1839–1901) was appointed to the Court by Sir John Thompson on Sept. 21, 1893. King was born in Saint John, NB, to a family of wealthy shipbuilders. He earned a BA and an MA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, was called to the bar in 1865, and set up practice in Saint John.
King served as a Liberal-Conservative MLA for Saint John County and City in the New Brunswick legislature from 1867 to 1878 and was Attorney-General of New Brunswick from 1870 to 1878 and Premier from 1870 to 1871 and from 1872 to 1878. As premier, King passed a new Municipalities Act, abolished debtors’ prisons and property restrictions on voting, extended women’s’ property rights, and established a universal public schools system, which was hotly contested by the province’s Catholics all the way to the Imperial Privy Council in the 1874 case of Maher v. Town Council of Portland, which King won. King was also a supporter of women’s’ suffrage, but was unable to give women the right to vote in his time in office.
In 1880 King became a justice on the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick, sitting until he became a justice on the Supreme Court, where he stayed until his death on May 7, 1901.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Louis Henry Davies PC KCMG (1845-1924), to date the only Prince Edward Islander to serve on the Supreme Court, was appointed on Sept. 25, 1901. Born in Charlottetown, Louis Davies went to England to study law at the Inner Temple, passed the bar in 1866, returned to PEI, and sat as a Liberal in the provincial General Assembly from 1872 to 1879, where he was the chief architect of the Land Purchase Act of 1875, under which the absentee landlords which had owned much of the land in PEI were bought out by the government. Davies also served as Premier and Attorney-General of Prince Edward Island from 1876 to 1879, during which time he reformed the civil service and founded the PEI public schools system. He was later a Liberal MP for Queen’s County, PEI, from 1882 to 1901, and was Minister of the Marine and Fisheries under Laurier from 1896 to 1901.
Sir Louis became Chief Justice on Nov. 23, 1918. The signature case of his chief justiceship was Bedard v. Dawson of 1923, which found that, although criminal law is exclusively the domain of the federal sphere, the provinces have the power to make laws to prevent crime. Sir Louis died in office on May 1, 1924.
Edmund Leslie Newcombe (1859-1931) filled the vacant spot on Sept. 16, 1924. Born in Cornwallis, NS, Newcombe graduated from Dalhousie law school, passed the bar in 1882, and practised law in Halifax and Kentville, specializing in maritime insurance law. Newcombe then moved to Ottawa and served as the federal Deputy Minister of Justice from 1893 to 1924. Newcombe died in office on Dec. 9, 1931.
Oswald Smith Crocket (1868-1945) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Sept. 21, 1932. Born in Chatham, NB, Crocket went to UNB and passed the bar in 1892. He was the Conservative MP for York County, NB, from 1904 to 1913, and was then a judge of the Court of King’s Bench Division of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick from 1913 to 1932. Crocket retired on Apr. 13, 1943, and lived another 23 months.
Ivan Cleveland Rand CC (1884-1969) was appointed to replace Crocket on Apr. 22, 1943. Born in Moncton, Rand went to Mount Allison University and Harvard Law School and passed the New Brunswick bar in 1912, then moved to Medicine Hat, AB, where he practiced law for eight years before returning to Moncton in 1920 to take a job as counsel to the Canadian National Railways. He served briefly as Attorney-General of New Brunswick from 1924 to 1925, and sat in the Legislative Assembly for Gloucester County from February to June of 1925.
Rand’s most significant legal contribution in Canada came when he arbitrated a Ford plant strike in Windsor in 1945. Rand decided that all employees benefitting from a collective agreement made by a union should pay union dues, even if they aren’t members, a concept now known as the Rand formula. Rand was also pro-Zionist, and Canada’s representative on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947.
Ivan Rand retired from the bench on Apr. 27, 1959. He was dean of law at the University of Western Ontario from 1959 to 1964 and presided over a Royal Commission in 1966 concerning judge Leo Landreville’s insider trading of stock in Northern Ontario Natural Gas. Rand died in 1969.
Roland Almon Ritchie CC (1910-1988) was placed on the Court by John Diefenbaker on May 5, 1959. Ritchie was born in Halifax, the scion of the powerful Ritchie, Almon, and Stewart families. His brother Charles was one of Canada’s top diplomats, and the long-time secret lover of the Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen.
Roland Ritchie attended the University of King’ College, Halifax, and earned an BA from Oxford before passing the Nova Scotia bar in 1934. He practiced law in Halifax, lectured in insurance law at Dalhousie, and served as an Assistant Deputy Judge Advocate in the 3rd Division in WWII. Ritchie retired from the Supreme Court on Oct. 31, 1984, and served as Chancellor of the University of King’s College from 1974 to his death in 1988.
Gérard Vincent La Forest CC FRSC (1926-now) was appointed to the Court by Mulroney on Jan. 16, 1985. Born in Grand Falls, NB, La Forest went to St. Francis Xavier University and UNB, passed the bar in 949, then studied law at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and earned a doctorate in law from Yale. From 1952 to 1955 he worked in the federal Department of Justice, then taught at UNB, was Dean of Law at the University of Alberta from 1968 to 1970, Assistant Deputy Attorney General of Canada for Research & Planning from 1970 to 1974, a member of the Law Reform Commission of Canada from 1974 to 1979, taught law at the University of Ottawa from 1979 to 1981, and a judge of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal from 1981 to 1985.
La Forest retired from the Supreme Court on Sept. 30, 1997. He now practices law in Fredericton.
J. E. Michel Bastarache CC (1947-now) was appointed as the first Acadian justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 30, 1997. Born in Quebec City, Bastarache earned a BA from the Université de Moncton, a law degree from the University of Nice in France and a BCL from the University of Ottawa.
In the 1970s, Bastarache was a legal translator for the Province of New Brunswick, the General Secretary for the Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick, and held a number of important jobs in the Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1978, he joined the Université de Moncton as a professor, was admitted to the Bar of New Brunswick in 1980, and was Dean of Law at UMoncton from 1980 to 1983. From 1983 to 1984, he was the Director General for the Promotion of Official Languages in the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, and from 1984 to 1987, he was the Associate Dean of the Common Law section of the University of Ottawa. Then he turned to private practice before becoming CEO of Assumption Mutual from 1989 to 1994, then was a lawyer in Moncton until he was appointed to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in 1995. Bastarache retired on June 30, 2008, and now practices law in Ottawa.
Thomas Albert Cromwell (1952-now) was appointed to the Court by Harper on Dec. 22, 2008. Cromwell was born in Kingston, ON, and got degrees in music and law from Queen’s. He earned a piano diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and a BCL from Oxford. He was a professor of law at Dalhousie from 1982 to 1992 and 1995 to 1997, the executive legal officer to Chief Justice Lamer from 1992 to 1995, and a judge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2008.
On June 4, 2014, Prime Minister Harper announced the appointment, effective June 9, of Clément Gascon (1960-now) to the open Supreme Court seat vacated by Morris Fish.
Born in Quebec City, Gascon earned a BCL from McGill and was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1982. He practiced commercial law until being appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 2002, then to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2012.
The Hon. Télesphore Fournier PC (1823-1896) was appointed to the inaugural Supreme Court on Sept. 30, 1875. Born in Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, QC, he went to school at the Nicolet seminary, began articling in 1842 and was called to the bar in 1846. He was the co-editor of the Le National de Québec newspaper from 1855 to 1859. Fournier was the Liberal MP for Bellechasse from 1870 to 1875 and concurrently the Quebec MLA for Montmagny from 1871 to 1873. He served in the cabinet of Alexander Mackenzie as Minister of Inland Revenue (1873–1874), Minister of Justice and Attorney General (1874–1875) and Postmaster General (1875) before leaving for the Court. Fournier retired on Sept. 12, 1895, and died in May of 1896 at the age of 72.
Désiré Girouard (1836-1911) replaced Fournier on Sept. 28, 1895. Born in Saint-Timothée, QC, he received a BCL from McGill and was called to the bar in 1860. He served as the Conservative MP for Jacques-Cartier from 1878 to 1895 and was elected Mayor of Dorval in 1892.
Girouard served on the Court until his death on Mar. 22, 1911. His son, Sir Édouard Percy Cranwill Girouard KCMG DSO, was an accomplished civil engineer and British colonial governor, serving as Governor of Northern Nigeria from 1907 to 1909 and Governor of the East Africa Protectorate (now Kenya) from 1909 to 1912. Sir Édouard’s grandson, Mark Girouard, is a noted architectural historian and an expert on the history of the traditional English country house.
The Hon. Louis-Philippe Brodeur PC (1862-1924) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Aug. 11, 1911. Born in Beloeil, QC, he graduated from Laval and was called to the bar in 1884. He wrote and edited some newspapers before serving as the Liberal MP for Rouville from 1891 to 1911, serving as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1900 to 1904, Minister of Inland Revenue from 1904 to 1906, Minister of Marine and Fisheries from 1906 to 1910 and Minister of the Naval Service from 1910 to 1911.
Brodeur left the Supreme Court on Oct. 10, 1923, to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. He died in Quebec City on New Year’s Day, 1924.
Arthur Cyrille Albert Malouin (1857-1936) was appointed to the Court on Jan. 30, 1924, lasting barely more than 8 months – the shortest tenure of any Supreme Court justice. Malouin was born in Quebec City, graduated from Laval and passed the bar in 1882. He was Liberal MP for Quebec Centre from 1898 to 1905 and a judge of the Quebec Superior Court from 1905 to 1924. Malouin retired from the Court on Oct. 1, 1924, and died 12 years later.
The Rt. Hon. Thibaudeau Rinfret PC (1879-1962) replaced Malouin on Oct. 1, 1924. Rinfret was born in Montréal; his brother was the Hon. Fernand Rinfret PC, Liberal MP for St. James from 1920 to 1939, Secretary of State for Canada under Mackenzie King and Mayor of Montreal from 1932 to 1934.
Thibaudeau attended Laval and McGill and passed the bar in 1901. He practiced privately in Montreal until being appointed as a judge of the Quebec Superior Court in 1922.
Rinfret was appointed Chief Justice on Jan. 8, 1944. As Chief Justice, Rinfret saw the end of judicial appeals to the Imperial Privy Council in 1949, making the Supreme Court truly supreme. One of the most important rulings of his Court was 1949’s Reference re Validity of Section 5(a) of the Dairy Industry Act, usually called the “Margarine Reference”, which struck down the government’s ban on the production of margarine and set stricter definitions on what constitutes criminal law. Frey v. Fedoruk et al. (1950) decided what constitutes a breach of the peace. R. v. Boucher (1951) declared that criticism of the government is not seditious libel. R. v. Azoulay (1952) decided that judges have an obligation to explain confusing evidence to juries.
Rinfret was acting Governor General of Canada from Jan. 28 to Feb. 28, 1952, between the tenures of the Earl Alexander of Tunis and Vincent Massey. In that role, Rinfret proclaimed Elizabeth II Queen of Canada on Feb. 6 of that year. Rinfret retired from the Court on June 22, 1954, and died in 1962.
The Hon. Douglas Charles Abbott PC (1899-1987) joined the Court on July 1, 1954. D.C. Abbott was born in Lennoxville, QC, and earned a BA from Bishop’s University before joining the Army in 1916 and seeing action in France in World War I. After the war he earned a BCL from McGill, studied law at the Université de Dijon, and passed the bar of Quebec in 1921. Abbott was the Liberal MP for Saint-Antoine – Westmount from 1940 to 1954, serving under King and Saint-Laurent as Minister of National Defence (1945-46) and Minister of Finance (1946-54).
Abbott retired from the Supreme Court on Dec. 23, 1973. His son, the Hon. Anthony Abbott PC, was Liberal MP for Mississauga from 1974 to 1979 and served as Minister of National Revenue under Trudeau.
Jean-Marie Philémon Joseph Beetz CC (1927-1991) replaced Abbott on Jan. 1, 1974. Born in Montreal, QC, Jean Beetz earned an LLL from the Université de Montréal, a Rhodes Scholarship and received a BA from Oxford University in 1953, then was called to the bar and taught constitutional law at the Université de Montréal until he was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1973. An expert in constitutional law, Beetz was special counsel to Pierre Trudeau leading up to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. Beetz retired on Nov. 10, 1988, and died three years later.
Charles Doherty Gonthier CC (1928-2009) was appointed by Mulroney on Feb. 1, 1989. Gonthier was born in Montreal. His father, Georges Gonthier, was the Auditor-General of Canada, and his maternal grandfather, the Rt. Hon. Charles Doherty PC, was Minister of Justice under Borden and a Canadian delegate to the Versailles Peace Conference. Charles Gonthier earned a BCL from McGill and passed the bar in 1952. He was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1974, then to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1988. Gonthier retired on Aug. 1, 2003, and died in 2009.
Morris Jacob Fish (1938-now) was appointed to the Supreme Court on Aug. 5, 2003, the last appointment by Jean Chrétien. Born in Montreal, Fish was a bright and promising student at McGill, earning a BA and a BCL, then did postgrad work at the Université de Paris before passing the bar of Quebec in 1964. An expert in criminal law, Fish was a part-time professor of law at McGill, the University of Ottawa and the Université de Montréal, and was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1989. He was also a reporter for the Montreal Star from 1959 to 1970.
Fish retired on Aug. 31, 2013. Prime Minister Harper attempted to appoint Mr. Justice Richard Nadon of the Federal Court to the seat, but the Supreme Court ruled in the Reference re Supreme Court Act in March 2014 that Nadon’s long tenure on the Federal Court was not adequately linked to the bar of Quebec and so was ineligible for the seat. The seat is still vacant.
Jean-Thomas Taschereau (1814-1893) was appointed as the senior-most French justice in the first Supreme Court on Sept. 30, 1875. Taschereau, born in Quebec City, was the son of a judge of the King’s Bench and legislative assemblyman (also named Jean-Thomas), the brother of Elzéar-Alexandre Cardinal Taschereau, Archbishop of Quebec, and brother-in-law of Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, Minister of Justice under Laurier and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Jean-Thomas the Younger was called to the bar in 1836. He studied law in Paris and took up private practice upon his return to Quebec City; he also taught at Université Laval from 1855 to 1857. In 1865, he was appointed a judge of the Quebec Superior Court, and elevated to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Quebec in 1873. Taschereau retired on Oct. 6, 1878, and died fifteen years later.
Jean-Thomas Taschereau’s son, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, served as premier of Quebec from 1920 to 1936. Louis-Alexandre’s son, Robert Taschereau, was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1964 to 1967.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Henri-Elzéar Taschereau PC Kt. (1836–1911) succeeded his cousin Jean-Thomas on the Supreme Court on Oct. 7, 1878. Born in Quebec City and educated at U de Laval, he was called to the bar in 1857 and elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1861 as the Conservative member for Beauce, where he voted against Confederation and was defeated for re-election in 1867. He was appointed a judge of the Quebec Superior Court in 1871, serving seven years. During his time on the Supreme court, he taught law part-time at the University of Ottawa. On Nov. 21, 1902,Taschereau, being the senior-most puisne justice, became Chief Justice, serving for four years until his retirement on May 2, 1906. He continued to travel to London to sit on the Privy Council Judicial Committee until he died in the spring of 1911.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Fitzpatrick GCMG PC (1853–1942), the incumbent justice minister, had himself appointed Chief Justice by Laurier on June 4, 1906 – the only person ever directly appointed to be Chief Justice. Sir Charles’s wife was sisters with the wife of Jean-Thomas Taschereau, making him the uncle of Louis-Alexandre Taschereau and great-uncle of Robert Taschereau.
Born in Quebec City, Charles Fitzpatrick studied law at U de Laval and was called to the bar of Quebec in 1876. He acted as chief counsel to Louis Riel during his treason trial in 1885. Fitzpatrick represented Quebec County as a Liberal in the the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1890 to 1896 and as its MP from 1896 to 1906. He served in the cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as Solicitor General of Canada from 1896 to 1902, and as Minister of Justice from 1902 until 1906.
Sir Charles resigned as Chief Justice on Nov. 21, 1918, to accept an appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, serving until 1923. He died in the summer of 1942.
Pierre-Basile Mignault (1854–1945) was appointed to the Court on Oct.25, 1918. Born in Worcester, MA, he received a BCL from McGill and was called to the Quebec bar in 1878. He then proceeded to practice law in Montreal until 1914, when he was appointed to the International Joint Commission, overseeing boundary waters with America.
On the Court, Mignault was one of the most important proponents of the observance of the subtle points of Quebec civil law and its antecedents in French law of the ancien régime. He wrote a treatise on the history and practice of Quebec civil law in nine volumes between 1885 and 1916, which is still cited in courts today. Mignault retired on Sept. 30, 1929, and died sixteen years later, at the age of 91. Parc Mignault in Montreal is named after him.
Lawrence Arthur Dumoulin Cannon (1877–1939) was appointed by Mackenzie King on Jan. 14, 1930 – his last appointment to the Court before his defeat by R.B. Bennett that August. Born in Arthabaska, QC, Cannon received a BA and an LLL from Université Laval, was called to the Bar in 1899, served on Quebec City Council from 1908 to 1916, and from 1916 to 1923 was the Liberal MLA for Quebec City Centre. He went back to practising law until he was made a judge of the Court of King’s Bench of Quebec in 1927, serving three years. Cannon stayed on the Supreme Court until his death on Dec.25, 1939.
L.A.D. Cannon was the son of Lawrence John Cannon, a justice of the Superior Court of Quebec. He was also the son-in-law of Chief Justice Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, and the brother of Lucien Cannon, Solicitor-General under Mackenzie King. Lucien Cannon is the grandfather of Lawrence Cannon, the former foreign affairs minister and our current ambassador to France. L.A.D. Cannon’s son, Charles Arthur Dumoulin Cannon, was the Liberal MP for the Magdalen Islands from 1949 to 1958.
The Rt. Hon. Robert Taschereau PC CC (1896–1970) was appointed to replace Cannon, his cousin and former law partner, on Feb. 9, 1940. He was the son of Quebec premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, grandson of Justice Jean-Thomas Taschereau, and great-nephew of Henri-Elzéar Cardinal Taschereau, Chief Justice Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, and Sir Adolphe-Philippe Caron, defence minister under Macdonald and Postmaster-General under Thompson.
Taschereau was born in Quebec. He studied at Laval University and obtained an LLL in 1920, the year he was called to the bar. Taschereau was the Liberal MNA for Bellechasse from 1930 to 1936, returning to law until he was appointed to the Court. As a puisne justice, Taschereau gained fame in 1946 by co-chairing the Kellock-Taschereau Commission to root out Commies in the government.
As the senior-most justice, Taschereau was promoted to Chief Justice on Apr. 22, 1963. He served as acting Governor-General from Mar. 5 to Apr. 17, 1967, after the death of Georges Vanier. His court established guidelines for the expropriation of land by the NCC in the 1966 case of Munro v. National Capital Commission. But the Robert Taschereau Court is most infamous for the ruling in May 1967 in which it decided 8-1 (Mr. Justice Emmett Hall dissenting) to deny a retrial to Steven Truscott, who had been sentenced to hang in 1959 as a 14-year-old boy when he had been found guilty of murdering a local girl. (His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1960, was paroled in 1969, and was exonerated in 2007.) Many blamed Taschereau’s poor judgement on his worsening struggle with alcoholism, and he resigned on Sept. 1, 1967, dying three years later.
Louis-Philippe Pigeon CC (1905–1986) was appointed to the Supreme Court by Lester Person on Sept. 21, 1967. Born Henryville, QC, he studied at ULaval and was called to the bar in 1928. He was law clerk to the Quebec legislature from 1940 to 1944, taught constitutional law at his alma mater, was a legal advisor to Quebec premier Jean Lesage and was chairman of the National Council on the Administration of Justice from 1963 to 1967. He also wrote a very influential book on the legal interpretation of statutes and legislation, which he published in 1965. Pigeon served ably on the Court until he retired on Feb. 8, 1980. He died six years later, aged eighty-one.
The Rt. Hon. Joseph Antonio Charles Lamer PC CC CD (1933-2007) was appointed to replace Pigeon by Pierre Trudeau on Mar. 28, 1980. Born in Montreal, Antonio Lamer joined the Army right out of high school. He served in the Royal Canadian Artillery from 1950 to 1954 and in the Canadian Intelligence Corps from 1954 to 1960, and was later Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, from 1992 to 1998. In 1956, he graduated in law from the Université de Montréal and was called to the bar in Quebec in 1957. He practiced privately and taught law and criminology at his alma mater, and was appointed to both the Quebec Superior Court and the Court of the Queen’s Bench of Quebec in 1969, and promoted to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1978. In 1987, he married Justice Danièle Tremblay of the Federal Court of Canada. (Justice Tremblay-Lamer is currently sitting as a supernumerary judge of the Federal Court.)
Lamer was made Chief Justice on July 1, 1990. His tenure saw the continued expansion of the importance of the Supreme Court that began under R.G.B. Dickson. R. v. Khan (1990) decided when evidence given by children can be dismissed as hearsay; R. v. Martineau (1990) eliminated the crime of “culpable homicide” under s.213(a) of the Criminal Code, wherein a death caused accidentally in the course of a lesser indictable crime is considered murder; R. v. Hess and R. v. Nguyen (both 1990) found that a person having sex with a minor is not committing statutory rape if he has a justifiable reason to believe the person was not a minor; R. v. Askov (1990) established how to decide if a person faces trial “within a reasonable time”; McKinney v. University of Guelph (1990) decided public universities aren’t really “the government”; R. v. Keegstra and R. v. Andrews (both 1990), importantly, defended the government’s power to censor hate speech; R. v. Sullivan (1991) said fetuses don’t count as legal persons in cases of criminal negligence; Reference re Provincial Electoral Boundaries (Saskatchewan) (1991) decided that the right to vote in Canada does not mean the right to electoral equality, but the right to effective representation in Parliament, and that therefore inequalities in riding population are okay if the constituents are better served by that configuration; Reference re Canada Assistance Plan (B.C.) (1991) decided that courts don’t have to answer reference questions if there’s not enough legal content to the issue; R. v. Jobidon (1991) declared that consent isn’t a valid defence for grievous bodily harm; Kindler v. Canada (Minister of Justice) and Reference Re Ng Extradition (both 1991) told the government that extradition to countries with the death penalty was okay (later reversed in 2001’s United States v. Burns); R. v. McCraw (1991) classified rape threats as threats of serious bodily harm; R. v. Wholesale Travel Group Inc. (1991) pointed out that there is a difference between “true” crimes and regulatory offences; R. v. Stinchcombe (1991) declared that the Crown has the duty to disclose all of the evidence it has to the defence, whether or not it uses it; Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1992) set new parameters for a party to prove it is personally affected by legislation and thereby be granted standing to challenge its constitutionality in court; R. v. Genereux (1992) found the government, within certain guarantees of judicial independence, could constitutionally set up a separate court-martial courts system; R. v. Butler (1992) found that pornography counts as freedom of expression, but the government can still restrict the sale of violent pornography; Canadian National Railway Co. v. Norsk Pacific Steamship Co. (1992) decided that you can still sue for lost profits under tort law even if the plaintiff doesn’t suffer any physical loss of property; R. v. Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society (1992) found that a law worded too vaguely can be struck down as a violation of a right to fundamental justice; R. v. Zundel (1992)struck down a section of the Criminal Code forbidding the publication of false news as a violation of freedom of expression; R. v. Parks (1992) found a person committing a crime while sleepwalking could be declared not guilty by reason of automatism; London Drugs Ltd. v. Kuehne & Nagel International Ltd. (1992) found that privity of contract, a legal principle limiting a contract’s effects to be strictly between its signatories, does not mean that the contract’s obligations and protections do not extend to employees of the signatories; New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia (Speaker of the House of Assembly) (1993) claimed parliamentary privilege is an unwritten part of the Constitution; R. v. K.G.B. (1993) found that prior inconsistent statements are admissible in court when they are necessary and the witness can be cross-examined; Hall v. Hebert (1993) decided the doctrine of ex turpi causa non oritur actio (from a bad cause, no action comes) only applies when the plaintiff would profit from illegal activity or subvert a criminal penalty, and that otherwise normal civil or criminal damages should be awarded; Canada v. Ward (1993) defined “persecution” in refugee claims to include non-state-sanctioned persecutors; Ramsden v. City of Peterborough (1993) struck down a bylaw prohibiting posters on public property as an unconstitutional interdiction of freedom of expression; Ontario Hydro v. Ontario (Labour Relations Board) (1993) found that the federal government’s jurisdiction under Section 92(10) of the Constitution Act of 1867 over public works “declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general advantage of Canada” to extend to incidental matters (in this instance, labour relations); R. v. Morgentaler (1993) struck down provincial regulations on abortion, like it had for federal regulations in the case of the same name in 1988; Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) (1993) determined that there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide; R. v. Dersch (1993) decided that police need a warrant to obtain confidential medical records; R. v. Marquard (1993) found that an expert giving evidence in areas outside his expertise should be disregarded at trial; Hunt v. T&N plc (1993) determined that the court orders of a provincial superior court could override provincial laws passed in other provinces that would deter its execution; R. v. Daviault (1994) found that being drunk is only a valid criminal defence only when drunk to the point of insanity or automatism; Native Women’s Association of Canada v. Canada (1994) found that the government is not obliged to financially support interest groups while drafting Constitutional amendments; R. v. Heywood (1994) struck down the laws against vagrancy in the Criminal Code, after finding that it was written so broadly that it had essentially made loitering a criminal offense; Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (1994) set out the modern guidelines on issuing publication bans in criminal trials; Miron v. Trudel (1995) decided that making offers to married couples and excluding common-law partners is discrimination; Egan v. Canada (1995) established the Charter right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation; R. v. Park (1995) established a judge does not have to tell a jury in a sex assault case to consider the accused mistakenly believed he had consent if the defence does not have an “air of reality”; Weber v. Ontario Hydro (1995) declared that a labour arbitration board can be counted as a “court of competent jurisdiction”; R. v. Hibbert (1995) found that criminal defence of duress is an excuse, not a mental impairment; Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995) established that in cases not involving the government where common law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms conflict, the Charter is to be interpreted in favour of common law, not the other way around; R. v. Jorgensen (1995) made it clearer how one “knowingly” distributes obscene materials; R. v. Badger (1996) ruled that ambiguity in aboriginal treaty rights should give the benefit if the doubt to the Aboriginals; R. v. Van der Peet (1996) decided aboriginal fishing rights don’t confer the right to sell the fish, just to catch them; R. v. Pamajewon (1996) decided aboriginal self-government is subject to reasonable limitations, and does not include the right to control gambling; Adler v. Ontario (1996) decided the constitutional guarantee of public funding of separate Catholic education in Ontario did not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; R. v. Noble (1997) ruled the exercising of the right to silence of the accused cannot be given credence at trial; R. v. Feeney (1997) found police are not even allowed to enter a private house for non-emergency reasons without permission or a search warrant; R. v. Hydro-Québec (1997) decided environmental protection was both a federal and provincial jurisdiction; R. v. Belnavis (1997) decreed the backseat of a car is not a place that can reasonably expected to be private; R. v. R.D.S. (1997) established how to decide if a judge is biased; Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd. (1997) established that damages can be awarded for wrongful dismissal if the employer does the firing in bad faith; Godbout v. City of Longueuil (1997) found laws requiring municipal workers to reside in the municipality they work for to be a Charter violation; Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (1997) saw the Supreme Court openly and definitely decline to declare why Aboriginal people deserve entitlements; R. v. Lucas (1998) found laws against defamatory libel to be a “reasonable limit” on freedom of expression covered under Section 1 of the Charter; Vriend v. Alberta (1998) declared that provincial governments could not exclude sexual orientation from their human rights codes; Aubry v. Éditions Vice-Versa Inc. (1998) established that you do not need consent from someone to photograph them in a public place, but you do need their permission to publish it; Thomson Newspapers Co. v. Canada (Attorney General) (1998) struck down a law prohibiting the publication of opinion polls within three days; Pushpanathan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1998) established the standards to review the decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board; Reference re Secession of Quebec (1998) ruled that the unilateral separation of Quebec from Canada was unconstitutional, but that if there was a clear majority in favour of separation, the federal government was obliged to negotiate in good faith with Quebec on matters of secession; R. v. Cuerrier (1998) found that infecting people with HIV counts as aggravated assault; Cadbury Schweppes Inc. v. FBI Foods Ltd. (1999) sorted out the legal status of the sanctity of trade secrets, and the ways they differ from patents; R. v. Godoy (1999) decided an anonymous 9-1-1 call is sufficient grounds for police to forcibly enter a residence; R. v. Ewanchuk (1999) eliminated the defence of implied consent as a defence to charges of sexual assault; Law v. Canada (1999) established the “Law Test” for adjudicating claims of violation of equality rights under section 15 of the Charter; M. v. H. (1999) gave same-sex common-law couples the same rights as straight couples; Bazley v. Curry (1999) made the rules on the vicarious liability of non-profit organizations; Litigation Guardian of Dobson v. Dobson (1999) ruled women can’t be sued for negligence to their fetuses during pregnancy; British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. British Columbia Government Service Employees’ Union (1999), known as the Meiorin Case, created a unified rule on when human rights legislation can be justifiably broken for a bona fide occupational requirement; New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. J. G. (1999) decided that parents fighting for custody against the state have the right to legal aid; and British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v. British Columbia (Council of Human Rights) (1999), known as the Grismer Estate Case, held that any blanket discrimination based on disability without any attempt at accommodation is unconstitutional.
Lamer retired on Jan. 6, 2000, and was made Associate Professor of Law at the Université de Montréal and Honorary Colonel of the Governor General’s Foot Guards; he was also Communications Security Establishment Commissioner from 2003 to 2006. From 2003 to 2006 he chaired an inquiry conducted by the Newfoundland government surrounding the wrongful criminal proceedings in three murder cases. He died of heart failure in 2007.
Louis LeBel (1939-now) was appointed to the Supreme Court by Jean Chrétien on Jan. 7, 2000. LeBel was born in Quebec City. He graduated in 1958 from Collège des Jesuites, earned his law degree at Université Laval and was called to the bar in 1962, then went on to get an LL.M from the University of Toronto in 1966. He was a top student, winning the Governor General’s medal. He practiced law in Quebec City and taught at University of Ottawa and Université Laval until 1984, when he was appointed directly to the Quebec Court of Appeal, where he sat for 16 years.