The Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, 1870-1950

The Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, 1870-1950: A Biographical History

DALE BRAWN
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 432
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1287vbq
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  • Book Info
    The Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, 1870-1950
    Book Description:

    This fascinating study offers an intimate look at personalities ranging from prime ministers to members of the bench and both senior levels of government.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2719-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword THE OSGOODE SOCIETY FOR CANADIAN LEGAL HISTORY
    (pp. ix-x)
    R. Roy McMurtry and Jim Phillips

    In this meticulously researched and engaging collective account of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judiciary, Professor Donald Brawn presents a unique biographical history of a provincial bench. This study also doubles as a history of the court itself. It shows the close connections in the early days between the Ontario bar and the judges of the new province, and highlights the political nature of the judicial appointment process, in the period prior to 1950. But it also suggests that in addition to political and legal ability, many lawyers became judges because they, more than others, had made themselves known...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    This collection of thirty-three biographies is at the same time a history of Canada and the development of a Canadian national identity and a history of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench. It explores the relationships that the province’s first judges had with the societies in which they worked and socialized; and although these were ordinary men more concerned with practical realities than idealism, their biographies allow for the construction of a theory of ‘lawyering’ that integrates the study of a single bench into a much larger historical framework.

    A theme running through the work is that judicial appointments represented the...

  6. 1 The Red River Settlement Becomes a Province, 1872
    (pp. 21-46)

    Although Manitoba became Canada’s fifth province on 15 July 1870, the province’s colonial era did not end until a month later. The expedition under the command of Colonel Wolseley, sent by the three-yearold government of Canada to put an end to the provisional government of Louis Riel, trudged through a heavy rain in ankle-deep mud through the north-west gate of Fort Garry, as Riel vanished into the rain through the south-east gateway.¹ The settlement into which Wolseley and his men marched was a pastoral community of stone residences and white farmhouses, ‘with here and there a windmill.’ Buffalo trails were...

  7. 2 A Time of Controversy, 1872–1878
    (pp. 47-91)

    The year after Manitoba became a province Winnipeg’s population of 241 made it the nation’s 62nd largest community, and by the end of 1871 it had grown to a town of more than 900 buildings. Of this number, 400 were houses, 127 were occupied by manufacturers and merchants, and the balance were used as hotels, saloons, boarding houses, and office buildings.¹

    Despite the crudeness of many of its structures, however, there was no doubt that Winnipeg was established by businessmen for business purposes. The community’s natural leaders were members of the city’s commercial and social elites, and prominent in both...

  8. 3 The End of an Era, 1879–1884
    (pp. 92-148)

    In the fall of 1879 Justice McKeagney died while vacationing in New Brunswick. Betournay died a month later. For the second and last time in its history Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench was staffed by a single judge. Two weeks after Betournay’s death, however, one of the vacancies was filled when thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Dubuc went to the bench ‘at the peak of a brilliant forensic and political career.’¹ A young lawyer from St Catharines, Ontario, followed him less than a year later. According to correspondence between the federal minister of justice, who opposed the latter appointment, and the prime minister,...

  9. 4 The Manitoba Bar Comes of Age, 1885–1907
    (pp. 149-203)

    The years separating the appointment of Albert Killam to Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench in 1885 and that of William Egerton Perdue eighteen years later marked a watershed in the province’s history. Most of the first lawyers to practise in Manitoba had either retired or died, and the professionalization of the provincial bar was largely complete. While the growth of the profession had slowed from the heady days of the preceding decade, the province’s lawyers finally succeeded in consolidating both their position in, and visions of, Manitoba.

    An indicator that the Manitoba legal profession had finally come into its own...

  10. 5 The Emergence of a Provincial Elite, 1908–1920
    (pp. 204-265)

    Completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the mid-1880s opened Manitoba to large-scale development, a process that did not go unnoticed in the United States. In 1911 a special correspondent of theChicago Record Heraldvisited Winnipeg and his impressions were published by the newspaper.

    All roads lead to Winnipeg. It is the focal point of the three transcontinental lines of Canada, and nobody, neither manufacturer, capitalist, farmer, mechanic, lawyer, doctor, merchant, priest nor laborer, can pass from one part of Canada to another without going through Winnipeg. It is a gateway through which all the commerce of the east...

  11. 6 A Time of Transition, 1921–1938
    (pp. 266-310)

    In the 1920s both the government of Manitoba and the composition of the province’s highest trial court underwent significant transformations. In early October 1921 Justice Metcalfe was raised from King’s Bench to the Court of Appeal and his seat on the trial court was taken by Andrew Knox Dysart. The former Maritimer was one of the most literate and cultured judges to sit on a bench in Manitoba. Although some members of the Mantoba bar were less than enthusiastic about the appointment, largely because Dysart had little courtroom experience and had built only a modest practice, ‘it is generally acknowledged...

  12. 7 A Most Political Bench, 1939–1950
    (pp. 311-351)

    The prosperity experienced by Manitobans following the Second World War was evident both at law and in society generally, as people ‘elbowed each other for refrigerators, stoves, washers and furniture, cars and clothing.’¹ At law the number of Statements of Claim filed in Winnipeg’s Court of Queen’s Bench between 1946 and 1950 declined to only 194 per year, a decrease of almost 300 per year compared to claims filed during the preceding two decades. The Court of Appeal was also less busy, hearing an average of 110 appeals, almost 40 per cent fewer than heard annually between 1927 and 1945....

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 352-362)

    The Introduction suggested that three arguments run through this book’s thirty-three biographies. The first holds that judicial appointments represent the culmination of an on-going process of socialization. As the biographies illustrate, the legal profession is a community within other communities. Its members are trained similarly, define their roles similarly, share similar values and interests, are governed by the same code of ethics, and speak a common professional language. Regardless of the social background of members, these factors work to ensure the homogeneity of the legal profession.¹

    While they were not all of a piece, the first thirty-three judges of Manitoba’s...

  14. Appendices
    (pp. 363-368)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 369-422)
  16. Bibliographies
    (pp. 423-494)
  17. Index
    (pp. 495-508)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 509-511)