Globe and Mail
August 27, 2018
By Sean Fine
Never had a Canadian Supreme Court judge been attacked like this.
Claire L’Heureux-Dubé had just been publicly blamed – by a judge from Alberta’s highest court – for the high male suicide rate in Quebec. Compounding the insult, Ms. L’Heureux-Dubé had lost her own husband to suicide two decades earlier.
What happened next, within the court itself in that 1999 episode, is revealed in legal historian Constance Backhouse’s groundbreaking biography, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Life, using documents from the personal papers of Ms. L’Heureux-Dubé, now 90.
Chief Justice Antonio Lamer chose not to speak up in her defence, prompting the fiery Ms. L’Heureux-Dubé to send a memo to all eight of her colleagues. Pointedly, she told them that Israel’s Chief Justice, Aharon Barak, had defended his court when it was under attack.
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