1997-1998 Me Albert Louis Stein, Q.C
The rule of law is the foundation of the freedoms which mark our society. It is synonymous with the concept of equality before the law. These are concepts that we normally take for granted, just as we assume that persons in authority will exercise their authority for the purpose for which it was granted to them, and within the confines of the law. When they overstep the line, when they attempt to impose their will on another, weaker citizen, then one hopes that somebody will stand up and take up the defence of the unfortunate.
We are justified in so hoping if, and only if, we can show that, at times, even under the most unfavourable circumstances, some of us have taken a stand to defeat the abuse of power. The Bar of Montreal has the great honour to count amongst its member a lawyer who fought for a fundamental right, the freedom to practice the religion of one’s choice, against the most powerful forces that this Province could muster and not only did he fight, but he won. The case of Roncarelli vs. Duplessis remains to this day a cornerstone of our jurisprudence.
By granting Mtre A.L. Stein, Q.C., the Montreal Bar Medal, we wish to remind everyone, and primarily ourselves, that it is the true nature of a lawyer’s work to defend all those who need to be defended. Mr.Stein’s achievement in that respect deserves recognition.