Journée du Barreau 2017

September 07 2017, from 10:00 to 22:00

Montreal, QC

Reflections on inclusion
By Johanne Landry

As has been the tradition for several years now, the Journée du Barreau of Montreal on September 7 was divided into two parts: the morning at the Courthouse, and then late afternoon at the Centre Mont-Royal. The Chief Justices reviewed the highlights of the past year and the guests of honour expressed their vision of the theme for 2017: “An Inclusive Bar”.

Opening of the Courts

The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Quebec and presiding at the ceremony, was pleased to see the appointment of Justices Claudine Roy, Jocelyn F. Rancourt and Simon Ruel. She also shared the good news that for the first time in its history, the Court of Appeal had sat elsewhere than in Montreal and Quebec City; namely in Trois-Rivières for a criminal law matter and a tax evasion matter. At a time when the primacy of law is of crucial importance and depends on the public’s trust in institutions, it is essential to promote contact between citizens and professionals in the justice system to help the public learn more about the justice system and explain it to them, and to familiarize the public with some of the less-accessible elements of the system, she said. In the same vein, the Chief Justice also asked the legal community to provide financial support for Éducaloi, which helps educate the public about their rights so that they are better able to exercise them.

The Honourable Paul Crampton, Chief Justice of the Federal Court, was pleased about the reduction in delays for hearing cases and making decisions, as well as the success of a pilot project for an electronic hearing room. However, the Chief Justice mentioned that the Federal Court was still facing several major challenges, including chronic underfunding of the Courts Administrative Service, one result of which was that it could take up to 18 months for the translation of a decision; as well as the siting of the Court’s offices in commercial buildings far from the legal district in certain cities. The Chief Justice was also planning to create some additional positions in the near future, and so he invited members of the Bar who work in the fields of intellectual property, maritime law, administrative law, immigration law and aboriginal law, as well as seasoned litigators, to think about applying. “Especially if you can help us achieve our goal of increasing diversity within the Court,” he added.

The Honourable Jacques R. Fournier, Chief Justice of the Superior Court, first gave a few reflections on inclusion. “Everyone, whatever their sex, gender, race, sexual identity or religion, must be free to practise law,” he stated. Referring to the Jordan decision, Chief Justice Fournier described it as shock therapy for all participants in the legal system. He listed a series of measures introduced in the wake of the Jordan decision. Among the improvements it gave rise to was the reduction in the time period for scheduling a criminal trial in the Montreal division, which has dropped from 30 to 17 months. “The crisis of delays in criminal cases is in the process of being corrected,” he affirmed. However, the battle is not won. Priority must be given to hearing already-scheduled cases in order to return to a normal pace.

The Honourable Lucie Rondeau, Chief Judge of the Court of Quebec, described an historic moment for the Court when it welcomed with open arms a cohort of new judges appointed following a marathon session to staff vacant positions and newly-created ones. On her list of success stories and good news, Chief Judge Rondeau mentioned out-of-court examination in lieu of a preliminary inquiry when committal for trial is not contested, counsel’s option to meet with a judge in his or her chamber to facilitate discussions before holding a trial, and an on-site mediation project in the Small Claims Division.

A word from the Minister

“It is completely appropriate to redouble our efforts to ensure that our workplaces and our organizations reflect the diversity of our society,” said Stéphanie Vallée, Quebec Minister of Justice, mentioning that the Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montreal had added some colour to the palette of his actions, which would serve the Montreal legal community well by supporting it in all its differences.

“As lawyers, everything we do helps to shape citizens’ perception not only of our profession but also of our justice system. We have to mobilize and stay focused on our commitment to serve the law, justice and the public,” she also said.

The Minister pointed out that last year on the same date, the community was assessing the actual scope of the Jordan decision, and added that the progress reported by the Chief Justices would not have been possible if each had not responded to the Supreme Court’s call. “There was an unprecedented mobilization of the legal community,” she stated.

The Minister also noted that partners of the Table Justice-Québec (TJQ) had presented an action plan last October filled with new initiatives and measures in response to the Jordan decision. In addition, she mentioned the government’s significant financial investment to add judges, courtrooms and personnel, and among other things, she announced that next year will focus on modernizing the IT system.

Inspiring speakers

Mtre Mélanie Dugré officiated during the Ceremony of the Journée du Barreau in the afternoon. The audience was heard to say that she performed her role expertly.

Mtre Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada and a Bar member for 40 years, emphasized that training and multi-skilling as a lawyer are considerable assets for companies and that there are tremendous opportunities for law graduates. In connection with the theme, Mtre Lacroix made a distinction between diversity and inclusion; with the first being the product of what distinguishes each person, such as their ethnic origin, gender, values and experience, while inclusion is ensuring, as an organization, that all these people work well together in an environment that promotes differences. The President and CEO also explained how the Crown corporation seeks to better represent Canadian diversity by recruiting the most creative minds in the country from all backgrounds and cultural communities.

Madam Vice-Bâtonnière of the Barreau de Paris, Dominique Attias, began her speech by citing St. Exupery, who wrote: “If I am different from you, I enrich rather than diminish you,” adding that the Bar of Montreal’s concerns are the same as those of the Barreau de Paris, which believes that within society, cohesion and empathy must override individualism, and that discrimination, prejudice and inequality must be eradicated. Madam Vice-Bâtonnière Attias mentioned a number of measures taken by her Bar to promote inclusion and equality and reminded everyone that at a time where social connections seem to be weakened, a lawyer’s role is still paramount.

Mtre Paul-Matthieu Grondin, Bâtonnier of the Barreau du Québec, was pleased with the improvement in delays in the area of justice, while recalling that there still was an insurmountable wall, namely court costs and the lack of access to justice. Mtre Grondin recalled to what point young lawyers are moved by ideals and a search for meaning. “When we became lawyers, we made access to justice our common mission. It is not a hollow expression but one of our ethical duties,” he said, while inviting the entire community to form a coalition to argue for the cause of justice in the court of public opinion during the next provincial elections in 2018. It is by making justice a social issue that we will succeed with this much desired reform, he concluded.

Mtre Sophia M. Rossi, President of the Young Bar of Montreal, illustrated the reality of young lawyers by talking about different situations experienced by the members of the Board of Directors confronted with challenges to their generation, such as articling for below minimum wage or not being paid at all, the lack of training in entrepreneurship, the obligation to pay one’s professional membership when returning to school, or the low percentage of women among major law firm partners. “Young lawyers, we must be the creators of change,” was her challenge to her colleagues and new entrants.

The Medal of The Bar of Montreal

Mtre Brian R. Mitchell awarded the Bar of Montreal Medal to Mtre Richard W. Pound, former President of the Canadian Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympic Committee, where he waged a colossal battle against doping in sport. “I would like to thank you for this medal that I do not deserve but humbly accept,” said the recipient during a short speech in which he talked about three popular quotations filled with common sense: it is only in the dictionary that “success” comes before “work”; if it is a mistake, it is still a mistake even if everyone does it, and if it’s the right thing, it’s the right thing even if no one does it; and finally he spoke about enjoying practising law: if you find a job you love, you will not work a single day of your life.

This evening ceremony was also marked by a minute of silence for members who had died during the past year, and certificates were awarded to members celebrating their 50th, 60th and 70th anniversary of their admission to the Bar.

Finally, Bâtonnier Mitchell emphasized that concerted efforts aimed at inclusion will not change everything in a single year, and that it is this year that is laying the foundation for a profound transformation. He also mentioned that an action plan will look into the abolition of unpaid articling, the reasons why numerous female lawyers leave the profession during the first five years of practice, ways to reflect the challenges facing people related to immigration and the LGBTQ community within the justice system, as well as the means of fighting taboos given problems of stress, burnout, depression and addiction. The Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montreal concluded by thanking the speakers for their inspirational words.

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Anniversaires d'admission au Barreau (50-60)
Les avocats célébrant leur 70e, 60e ou 50e anniversaire d'admission, présents lors de la cérémonie de la Journée du Barreau,
se sont réunis autour du bâtonnier Brian R. Mitchell pour une photo immortalisant cette journée anniversaire.


70e anniversaire 
Me Manuel Shacter, c.r., Ad. E., avocat à la retraite.

60e anniversaire 
Me Pierre Brassard, avocat à la retraite, Me John Ciaccia, avocat à la retraite, l'honorable Michel Côté, c.r., avocat à la retraite, Me Sidney Cutler, c.r., Me Jaime W. Dunton, avocat à la retraite, Me Francine Geoffrion, Me John H. Gomery, c.r., avocat à la retraite, Me Lucien Lachapelle, Me Fernand Lalonde, c.r., avocat à la retraite, Me J. Vincent O'Donnell, c.r., Ad. E., avocat à la retraite, Me Alex K. Paterson, O.C., O.Q., c.r., Ad. E., l'honorable Lawrence A. Poitras, c.r., avocat à la retraite, Me Bernard Sivak, avocat à la retraite, Me Stanley Taviss, avocat à la retraite et Me J.-Lambert Toupin, c.r.

50e anniversaire
Me David H. Appel, avocat à la retraite, Me Edward E. Aronoff, Me Casper M. Bloom, c.r., Ad. E., Me Jack B. Boidman, Me Earl S. Cohen, Me Jacques Dagenais, Me Armand L.C. de Mestral, C.M., Me Marc Desjardins, avocat à la retraite, Me Guy Dufort, Me Claude J.E. Dupont, Me Gilles Fafard, Me Bernard Faribault, avocat à la retraite, Me Charles E. Flam, Me Mortimer G. Freiheit, Me Robert Golfman, Me Harold P. Gordon, c.r., avocat à la retraite, Me Bernard Grenier, Ad. E., Me Michel Jetté, l'honorable Daniel Johnson, G.O.Q., Me Daniel Kochenburger, Me Bennie Kravitz, Me Gordon Kugler, Me Jean-Marc Lafaille, avocat à la retraite, Me Ray E. Lawson, Me Morden Lazarus, Me William B. Mauer, Me Pierre B. Meunier, Me Irving Narvey, Me Leslie Irwin Notkin, Me Reevin Pearl, Me Michael L. Richards, avocat à la retraite, Me Gérard Rochon, avocat à la retraite, Me Raymond Royer, avocat à la retraite, Me Arthur Sanft, Me Stephen A. Scott, Me Sharon Sholzberg Gray, avocate à la retraite, Me David H. Sohmer et Me Gabriel Terkel, avocat à la retraite.



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Allocutions prononcées lors de la Journée du Barreau :

Album photos « Journée du Barreau 2017 »