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Aggressive in Pursuit

Aggressive in Pursuit: The Life of Justice Emmett Hall

  • Book Info
    Aggressive in Pursuit
    Book Description:

    Few people have had a greater impact on the lives of Canadians than the late Supreme Court judge Justice Emmett Hall. At the forefront of several important judgements in the 1960s and 70s ? such as Truscott and Calder ? Hall is perhaps best known for his role in the adoption of universal health care at the federal level in 1968. Based on extensive interviews with Hall and people who knew him, Frederick Vaughan'sAggressive in Pursuittells Hall's remarkable story.

    Born in Quebec in 1898 and raised in Saskatchewan, Hall had a long and distinguished career as a lawyer. In 1957, former law school classmate Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed Hall to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, and four years later to the office of Chief Justice of Saskatchewan. In 1963, Diefenbaker elevated Hall to the Supreme Court of Canada, where he took up the task of universal health care and showed himself to be an aggressive defender of native causes.

    Aggressive in Pursuittraces Hall's career from his earliest days of private practice in Saskatchewan to the end of his career, and death, in 1994. It shows how one prairie lawyer made a difference in the life of Canada.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7072-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    R. Roy McMurtry

    This is the fourth biography of a Supreme Court of Canada judge published by The Osgoode Society and doubtless it is the most provocative. For Emmett Hall, as Professor Vaughan so persuasively demonstrates, was a different sort of judge - and a different sort of man. Appointed to the Court in 1963 by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Justice Hall proved every bit as flamboyant and controversial as the prairie populist who elevated him to the highest court of the land.

    This judicial biography focuses on Hall's career as defence lawyer and civil litigator, his position as a civil-libertarian judge and...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 From Saint-Columban to Saskatoon
    (pp. 3-21)

    Emmett Hallʼs great-grandfather, James Hall, came to Canada with an Ulster regiment to fight in the War of 1812.¹ When the regiment was disbanded after the war, those who wished to remain in Canada were given land upon which to settle. Jamesʼs wife, Alice Donnelly, emigrated from County Tyrone, Ireland, to join her husband on a tract of land near the small village of Saint-Colomban - an Irish settlement - about twenty-five miles northwest of Montreal between Lachute and Saint-Jerome, where they made a living as dairy farmers. Alice was a devout Catholic, while James was an Ulster Presbyterian. Whether...

  6. 2 At the Bar of Saskatchewan
    (pp. 22-78)

    Emmett Hall settled into his practice in Saskatoon in 1927 and was to remain there until 1957, when he was appointed chief justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, a promotion that required him to move to Regina. A few short months after joining the Hearn firm, Hall took on a case that would lead to his first appearance before the Supreme Court of Canada. The case wasSchofield v. Glenn and Babb¹ and it involved the long-festering dispute between ranchers and grain growers that dominated a good part of rural life in Saskatchewan in the early 1920s. The...

  7. 3 Legal and Political Ambitions
    (pp. 79-89)

    As with many lawyers, Emmett Hall harboured political ambitions for a time but they were always secondary to his primary aspiration to go to the bench. His father had been a vocal supporter of the Liberal Party since his arrival in Saskatoon; most Catholics voted Liberal in Saskatchewan in those days. Following in his fatherʼs footsteps, Emmett gravitated to the Liberal Party and soon became widely known as an important Liberal voice in Saskatoon. According to Walter Tucker - a leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party who eventually became an MP and, still later, chief justice of Saskatchewan - ʹby...

  8. 4 On the Bench of Saskatchewan
    (pp. 90-105)

    Emmett Hall, accompanied by his wife, Belle, left Saskatoon for Regina on 4 October 1957 to be sworn in as chief justice of the Court of Queenʼs Bench for Saskatchewan. He was named by Prime Minister Diefenbaker to succeed Chief Justice J.T. Brown, who had died the previous April. Hall was formally notified of his appointment to the bench in a letter from the deputy minister of justice. The day he received the official notice he also received a phone call from the prime minister telling him to expect the letter and to congratulate him.¹ He knew that he was...

  9. 5 The Birth of National Medicare
    (pp. 106-138)

    On 23 November 1962 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed Emmett Hall to the Supreme Court of Canada. He was chosen to replace Justice Charles Holland Locke from British Columbia who had retired in September 1962. Hallʼs appointment to the nationʼs highest court came as no suprise; he had been in frequent contact with the prime minister and knew that he was being considered as a replacement for Justice Locke. Emmett and Belle had discussed the prospects of moving to Ottawa many times in preparation for the call. When it came they were ready to make the move. With the burden...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. 6 Reforming Education in Ontario
    (pp. 139-162)

    It would not be far off the mark to say that the history of public education in Ontario since the Second World War has been one long series of internal studies and royal commissions heaped on ministerial inquiries in a never-ending effort to reform the system. Indeed, education has been called ʹOntarioʼs preoccupation.ʹ¹ One professional educator describes the period from 1945 as ʹyears of rapid change, sharp shifts in direction, at times, tumultuous conflict.ʹ²

    Immediately following the war, the Conservative government of Premier George Drew established a royal commission under Justice John Andrew Hope to study the primary and secondary...

  12. 7 In the Supreme Court of Canada
    (pp. 163-229)

    At the time of his appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada on 23 November 1962 - it was one of Prime Minister Diefenbakerʼs last judicial appointments before the defeat of his government in the election of 1963 - Emmett Hall was just two weeks past his sixty-fourth birthday. He was sworn in as a puisne judge on 10 January 1963. From that date until the last day of February 1973, when he retired from the bench, he sat on 582 cases and wrote 118 judgments (almost twelve each year) of which 28 were dissenting opinions. As one might expect,...

  13. 8 More Work in Retirement
    (pp. 230-254)

    The picture of Emmett Hall sitting idle in retirement back home in Saskatoon was, for those who knew him, a difficult one to imagine. Certainly, had he wanted to, he could have settled in and relished his past achievements, which were considerable for any one man. Apart from his contributions to the development of the law, he had established his place as the man responsible for the implementation of a national health-care program in Canada. Clearly, this is the one area in which Emmett Hallʼs name will be permanently recorded in Canadian history. His monumental royal commission study of 1964...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 255-258)

    I chose ʹAggressive in Pursuitʹ as the title of this biography of Emmett Hall because it captured, I thought, the essential personality trait of the man. I resisted a suggestion that the title should be ʹAggressive in the Pursuit of Justiceʹ because - although true - it would have narrowed the focus too much. For Emmett Hall was aggressive in everything he did and undertook: whether as a school board or hospital trustee, as a royal commissioner or arbitrator, or as a defence counsel or judge. He felt passionately about the issues he was involved in at any given moment....

  15. Notes
    (pp. 259-280)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-286)
  17. Index
    (pp. 287-293)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 294-296)