|Chief Justice of Ontario|
|Preceded by||Charles Dubin|
|Succeeded by||Warren Winkler|
|Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom|
|Prime Minister||Brian Mulroney|
|Preceded by||Donald Jamieson|
|Succeeded by||Donald Stovel Macdonald|
|Attorney General of Ontario|
|Preceded by||John Clement|
|Succeeded by||Robert Welch|
|Preceded by||Leonard Mackenzie Reilly|
|Succeeded by||David McFadden|
Roland Roy McMurtry
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
|Spouse||Ria Jean Macrae|
Roland Roy McMurtry,(born May 31,1932) is a Canadian lawyer,retired judge and former politician in Ontario. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1985,serving in the cabinet of Bill Davis as Attorney General and as Solicitor General. After leaving politics,McMurtry was High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom between 1985 and 1988. He became a judge in 1991 and was appointed as Chief Justice of Ontario in 1996. McMurtry retired from the bench in 2007 and returned to the private practice of law.
McMurtry was born in Toronto as the son of lawyer Roy McMurtry. He was educated at St. Andrew's College and graduated in 1950. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto (Trinity College) in 1954,and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1958. While attending university,he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity and became a close friend of future Premier of Ontario Bill Davis,his Canadian football teammate.
While studying,he was hired to teach football at Upper Canada College. He also taught adult literacy classes at Frontier College,working through the day on construction projects and teaching at night. He was a trial lawyer for seventeen years before entering politics. He also wrote a weekly column in the Toronto Sun during the early 1970s.
In the 1960s,he worked with Dalton Camp and Norman Atkins to remove John Diefenbaker as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
McMurtry suffered a back injury during the 1971 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership convention and was able to exempt himself from choosing between Davis and rival candidate Allan Lawrence,whose campaign was managed by Atkins. Davis defeated Lawrence by 44 votes on the final ballot. A few weeks later,McMurtry organized a meeting which brought together the Davis and Lawrence leadership teams. The resulting alliance,known as the Big Blue Machine,dominated the Progressive Conservative Party into the 1980s.
Allan Lawrence resigned his St. George constituency in late 1972 to move to federal politics,and McMurtry was recruited by Davis as the Progressive Conservative candidate for a March 1973 by-election. He was unexpectedly defeated by Liberal Party candidate Margaret Campbell,a well-known municipal politician. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario two years later,in the 1975 provincial election,defeating Liberal candidate Frank Judge in the Eglinton constituency.
Davis won a minority government in the 1975 election,and McMurtry was immediately appointed to cabinet as Attorney General. He held this position until 1985,and he also served as Solicitor General from 1978 to 1982.
McMurtry introduced a large number of law reform bills and was largely responsible for family law reform in Ontario. In 1978,he took the first steps to make Ontario's legal system bilingual and to start the process of translating Ontario's statutes into French. He was a major advocate for human rights and improved race relations.
McMurtry was also the provincial minister responsible for emergency planning. During the 1979 Mississauga train derailment,he largely deferred to Mayor Hazel McCallion,who was the public face of the crisis handling.
McMurtry was a Red Tory,and he was one of Davis's closest advisers in government. As Attorney-General,he had been a primary negotiator for Ontario in the Trudeau era constitutional negotiations. He appeared as counsel for Ontario in the Patriation Reference before the Supreme Court of Canada. In November 1981,he played a major role in brokering the deal that achieved patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A late night "kitchen accord" between McMurtry,Jean Chrétien and Roy Romanow on 6 November 1981 broke a deadlock in negotiations,and resulted in the governments of all provinces except Quebec agreeing to the proposed reforms to the Constitution,which came into law the following year.
One of McMurtry's lowest points was his role in the prosecution of nurse Susan Nelles,who was charged with the murder of a number of infants at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The charges were dropped following a preliminary hearing and Nelles was exonerated by the Grange Commission,a royal commission called upon to examine the deaths. McMurtry was criticized for his Ministry's role in her wrongful prosecution. In a 2007 interview,McMurtry,looking back at the incident,said "I can remember that I had been away with my family on a school break,when I came back and saw the headlines,I brought in my deputy attorney-general,and said:'What the hell is going on here? You've had a nurse arrested at one of the world's most famous hospitals?' " McMurtry said that local prosecutors failed to consult the ministry before consenting to the charges and that examining the case McMurtry had doubts that Nelles had exclusive access to all of the children.
He was also Attorney-General at the time of the 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids which were widely denounced as one of the most socially regressive acts in the province's history.At the time it was widely believed that the raids were approved by McMurtry. In a 2007 interview,however,McMurtry said that this was not the case. "The irony of the whole thing was that I had expressed my concern to the chief of police;that it really looked like we were dissolving into a police state. The whole thing looked terrible. Without a doubt,that was one of my most frustrating experiences," said McMurtry.
When Davis resigned as Progressive Conservative leader and premier in 1985,McMurtry sought the party's leadership at the party's January 1985 leadership convention. He started as the underdog in the campaign,but impressed many delegates through his performance in candidates' debates and polling data showing him as the preferred choice of Ontario voters. During the contest,McMurtry was sometimes criticized for remaining too long in one portfolio. While his opponents all had diverse ministerial experience,McMurtry's expertise was focused more narrowly on matters of the law. His supporters included Robert Elgie,Frank Drea,Reuben Baetz and Bob MacQuarrie.
McMurtry won a total of 300 votes on the first ballot,considerably more than had been expected. It was not sufficient,however,to place better than fourth in a field of four,after Frank Miller,Dennis Timbrell and Larry Grossman. He was eliminated from the contest and gave his support to Grossman,a fellow Red Tory.
McMurtry's support was enough to move Grossman into second place on the second ballot,ahead of the more centrist Timbrell. Timbrell's delegates were divided on the last ballot,which allowed the conservative Miller to win the convention. Miller gave McMurtry the option of remaining as Attorney General in the new government,but he declined and announced his retirement from politics.
On February 4,1985,Canadian External Affairs Minister Joe Clark announced that McMurtry had been appointed to succeed Donald Jamieson as Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He served in this capacity until 1988. Upon his return to Canada,he resumed his law practice and served from 1989 to 1990 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Football League.
McMurtry was appointed Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court (Trial Division) in Ontario in 1991,and he became Chief Justice of that court in 1994. He became Chief Justice of Ontario in 1996,heading the entire court system in the province and leading the Court of Appeal for Ontario. That court gained a degree of public attention in 2003 when it ruled in Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) that provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing equality under the law required the Province of Ontario to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. For this, The Globe and Mail named McMurtry and his fellow judges the "Nation Builders of 2003."
In the weeks prior to his retirement in 2007,McMurtry was widely praised as being a unifying force and consensus-builder during his tenure as Chief Justice. "Under Chief Justice McMurtry's leadership,we pulled together and we worked hard,and the chief justice reached out to the bar and he sought their support,and he got it," said Court of Appeal (and future Supreme Court Judge Michael Moldaver in a speech. "Thanks to his courage,leadership and vision,we now have an appeal process that is capable of delivering quality justice in a timely and efficient manner."
"I don't want to paint him as the Next Coming,but he has been a great uniter," said Clifford Lax,a veteran Toronto civil litigator. "He is a really very nice person who is able to find common ground. In a quiet,unassuming way,he has won a lot of converts to what he has done."
During his term,McMurtry also acted as the Mayor of Toronto's race relations commissioner and helped create Pro Bono Ontario,which helps provide free legal services to the poor and encourages lawyers to provide pro bono services. In addition,he was involved with the Ontario Justice Education Network,a program which educates youth at risk about the justice system.
McMurtry is credited with helping transform a backlogged and sometimes fractious court into a highly efficient,harmonious body.
McMurtry returned to the practice of law after retiring from the bench. He was a member of the firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP until August 2014,when he moved to Hull &Hull LLP.McMurtry is a member of Pro Bono Law Ontario's Advisory Board.
As of 2019 [update] ,McMurtry is president of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History,which made several oral histories and co-published two of his books:
McMurtry is married to Ria Jean Macrae,with whom he has six children and 12 grandchildren. His eldest son,Jim McMurtry,ran as a Liberal in British Columbia in the 2006 federal election,placing second to Conservative Russ Hiebert.
McMurtry is a landscape painter,originally taught by A.J. Casson,and has donated pieces to charity auctions.
In 2007,McMurtry was awarded the Order of Ontario.In 2009,he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his distinguished career of public service,notably as chief justice of Ontario,and for his extensive volunteer involvement in many social and multicultural initiatives".
In 2013,McMurtry was given the G. Arthur Martin medal for outstanding contributions to criminal justice.He served as the 12th Chancellor of York University from 2008 to 2014.
The headquarters of the Attorney General of Ontario,the "McMurtry-Scott Building",is named in honour of McMurtry and Ian Scott (Attorney General from 1985 to 1990).
Osgoode Hall Law School,commonly shortened to Osgoode,is the law school of York University in Toronto,Ontario,Canada.
Frank Stuart Miller was a Canadian politician who served as the 19th premier of Ontario for four months in 1985. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1971 as a Progressive Conservative member of the central Ontario riding of Muskoka. He served in the cabinet of Premier Bill Davis in several portfolios including Minister of Health and Minister of Natural Resources. He also served five years as the Treasurer of Ontario.
Lawrence Sheldon "Larry" Grossman,was a politician in Ontario,Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly as a Progressive Conservative from 1975 to 1987,and was a cabinet minister in the governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller. Grossman was leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives from 1985 to 1987.
In 1985,the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party held two leadership elections:one in January,and one in November.
Dennis Roy Timbrell is a politician in Ontario,Canada. He was a member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) from 1971 to 1987,and was a Cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
Alan William Pope was a Canadian politician. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 1990,and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
James Alexander Renwick was a politician in Ontario,Canada. He was a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1964 to 1984 who represented the downtown Toronto riding of Riverdale. He served as president of the Federal New Democratic Party from 1967 to 1969. He died while still in office.
Robert Stanley Kemp Welch was a Canadian politician. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1985 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party,and was a cabinet minister in the governments of John Robarts,Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
Norman William "Norm" Sterling is a Canadian politician,who served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 2011.
David S. Young is a former politician in Ontario,Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1999 to 2003. He represented the riding of Willowdale and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves.
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Gowlings) was a Canadian and international law firm,with about 700 legal professionals in 10 offices in Canada and as well as London,Moscow,and Beijing. The firm offered legal support in business law,advocacy/litigation and intellectual property law.
Keith Calder Norton was a Canadian politician and public servant. He served as a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1985,and was until 2005 the chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Ian Gilmour Scott was a Canadian politician and lawyer. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1985 to 1992 who represented the downtown Toronto ridings of St. David and St. George—St. David. He was a cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson serving as Attorney General of Ontario and Solicitor General. Along with Robert Nixon and Sean Conway,he was considered to be "the intellectual heart and soul" of the Peterson cabinet.
Robert Goldwin "Bob" Elgie was a politician in Ontario,Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 1985,and was a cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller. His father,Goldwin Elgie,was also a Conservative Ontario MPP in the 1930s and 1940s. He was a member of the Ontario Press Council from 2001,serving as chair from 2006 until his death.
Gordon Wayne Walker,is a former politician in Ontario,Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1971 to 1975,and again from 1977 to 1985. He was a member of the Progressive Conservative Party,and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of William Davis and Frank Miller.
Archie Gray Campbell was a former Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario and the lower Ontario Court.
Warren Keith Winkler,is a Canadian jurist and a former Chief Justice of Ontario. Appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 1,2007,Winkler was previously Regional Senior Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for the Toronto Region. Winkler reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 on December 10,2013,and has since retired as the Chief Justice of Ontario. He served as Chair of the Order of Ontario Advisory Council. Mr. Winkler is now a Member Arbitrator at Arbitration Place in Toronto.
Arthur Kenneth Meen was a politician in Ontario,Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1967 to 1977 who represented the Toronto riding of York East. He served in the cabinet of the government of Bill Davis.
Sidney Bryan Linden is a former Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice and a judicial reformer and administrator in the province of Ontario,Canada.
Gowling WLG is a multinational law firm formed by the combination of Canada-based Gowlings and UK-based Wragge Lawrence Graham &Co in February 2016,in the first multinational law firm combination co-led by a Canadian firm. Gowling WLG ranks at number 16 in The Lawyer UK 200 2019. On the list of largest law firms by revenue,Gowling WLG ranked as the highest revenue producing firm in Canada and 74th in the world (US$587,140,000) in 2017.