Presented by Ian Greene
In her 18 years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin turned the court into a more collegial and consensual court than at any time in the court’s history. Not only was the rate of unanimous decisions around 70 per cent during these years – significantly higher than before or after – but there were no “blocs” of judges who tended to vote together consistently, as there had been under previous chief justices. In a just-published book, Beverley McLachlin: The Legacy of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ian Greene and Peter McCormick outline how the character traits developed by McLachlin when growing up in rural Alberta contributed to her success in promoting consensus among the judges about controversial issues such as assisted dying, prostitution, and Indigenous land claims. The authors demonstrate how these same qualities carried her through a public showdown with then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper over an unqualified appointment to the Supreme Court. She was given overwhelming support on her stance by the Canadian and international legal communities. She left the Supreme Court stronger and more respected than ever on the world stage.
IAN GREENE has taught political science and public administration at York University since 1985. He has published extensively about the Charter of Rights, and judicial decision-making. He and Peter McCormick interviewed Beverley McLachlin as part of their research for this book. As well, they interviewed her high school friends in Pincher Creek, Alberta, and some of her colleagues. Copies of the book, Beverley McLachlin: The Legacy of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, will be available for purchase at this lunch talk.
When: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Where: McLaughlin College Senior Common Room 140, from 12:00 - 1:30 P.M.
Hosted by the Office of the College Head, McLaughlin College and York Collegium for Practical Ethics (YCPE)