By Philip Girard
University of Toronto Press, Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
646 Pages Copyright by Philip Girard, 2005
In the history of twentieth-century Canadian law, Bora Laskin (1912-1984) is by all accounts one of its most important figures. Born in northern Ontario to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Laskin became a prominent human rights activist, university professor, and labour arbitrator before embarking on his ‘accidental career’ as a judge on the Ontario Court of Appeal, a member of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Chief Justice of Canada. Throughout his entire professional life, he used law to make Canada a better place for workers, racial and ethnic minorities, and the disadvantaged. As a judge, he sought to make the judiciary more responsive to changing expectations in regard to justice and fundamental rights.
In this biography, Philip Girard chronicles the life of a man who fought corporate capital, university boards, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and his own judicial colleagues in an effort to modernize institutions and reshape Canadian law, Girard draws on a wealth of previously untapped archival sources to provide, in vivid detail, a critical assessment of the contributions of a dynamic man on an important mission. - (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History)