File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Supreme Court Judge Beverley McLachlin takes part in the welcoming ceremony for Justice Richard Wagner at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. Chief Justice McLachlin fought back tears as she said goodbye after more than a quarter century on Canada’s highest court.

McLachlin hears final case, but still has months of work on judgments ahead

OTTAWA — Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin fought back tears as she said goodbye Thursday following more than a quarter century on Canada’s highest court.

McLachlin is hanging up her robes after hearing more than 2,000 Supreme Court cases, including a final one on interprovincial trade.

She concluded with some emotional remarks, thanking her husband, colleagues, the court staff and the public — and musing that she will even miss the judicial homework.

“In fact that may be the biggest adjustment that I have to face — what am I going to do with my evenings?”

McLachlin is stepping down after 28 years on the court, including almost 18 years as chief.

“I know that my time here will always be the centrepiece of my life,” she said.

McLachlin spoke of her tenure as a period in which the justice system in Canada emerged as a potent force for good.

“It’s been intellectually stimulating, it’s been hugely challenging and there’s not been a day when I haven’t thought I’m the luckiest of people.”

Justice Rosalie Abella lauded McLachlin’s inspiration and leadership, saying she did everything possible to help the judges.

“We don’t know how she did it,” Abella said. “She seemed incapable of fatigue.”

McLachlin officially retires Dec. 15. However, she will continue to have a say on judgments in cases she has heard, as long as they are released by next June 15.

If any are released after that date, the judgment will note that McLachlin had no input into the decision.

Since the court generally sits with an odd number of judges, it means some cases that McLachlin heard could result in rulings from an even number, posing the possibility of a tie.

As a result, the court is working to identify cases involving differences of opinion among the judges, with the aim of releasing those judgments by mid-June.

McLachlin is the first woman to hold the top job on the high court and is also Canada’s longest-serving chief justice.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said this week McLachlin exemplifies the qualities a chief justice should have, citing her thorough understanding of the law and ability to foster a collegial spirit on the court.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to name a new chief justice soon.

Mclachlin

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats turn minority into majority in British Columbia election

The New Democrats won a majority government in the British Columbia election… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read