My Life at the Bar and Beyond

My Life at the Bar and Beyond

ALEX K. PATERSON
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80zbr
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  • Book Info
    My Life at the Bar and Beyond
    Book Description:

    A litigation lawyer for fifty years, Paterson describes some of his earlier cases, including those involving alleged brainwashing experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute funded by the CIA. He offers behind-the-scenes views of the fight against Bill 101, campaigning for the No Committee in the 1980 Quebec referendum, and the stand-off at Oka between Mohawks and the provincial police. Paterson also charts his involvement in establishing the McGill University Health Centre and the plans for a new major teaching hospital as well as directing the development and expansion of Bishop's University during his time as president and chancellor.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7323-9
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ALEX [By my mother]
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Dedication
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xvii-2)
  8. 1 Ancestors
    (pp. 3-8)

    The first Paterson to travel to Canada was John, whose brother was my great-great-great-grandfather Robert Paterson of Plewlands, Scotland. Born in 1732, John arrived in Quebec with General James Wolfe’s army in 1759. The story of the early Patersons is outlined in a letter addressed by my great-uncle James Blackwood (“Jimmy”) Paterson to my uncle Lieutenant-Colonel A.T. Paterson on 18 December 1938. I have included this letter as Appendix A.

    While the first Patersons to reside on this side of the Atlantic lived and worked for many years in Quebec City, neither they nor their relations who settled in Montreal...

  9. 2 Growing up in Montreal and Murray Bay
    (pp. 9-23)

    My mother, Jean Irvine Kennedy, was born in 1898 in Brighton, England, the second-oldest of six daughters and two sons born to Harold Kennedy of Liverpool and Katherine Irvine of Quebec City. Despite growing up in England and abroad, she and her sisters and brothers spent their summers in County Charlevoix, Quebec. This came about because her father, who owned his own lumber business, had offices both in Liverpool and Quebec City and every year he and his family crossed the Atlantic, usually on a ship owned by the Cunard Line. According to family lore, in 1902, while travelling, he...

  10. 3 On and off the Ships and before the Courts
    (pp. 24-35)

    I was admitted to the Montreal Bar in 1957, a few days after celebrating the birth of my second son. It was fortuitous that I passed my exams. Prior to marrying Joany Robb just two years before, when I was twenty-three and she was a year younger, I had promised my future father-in-law that we would not have children until I became a lawyer. My first-born, Robb, arrived nine months later, following which I failed one of my exams. The trauma of that failure was dramatic, but I was encouraged by the ensuing flood of letters from various judges and...

  11. 4 Bishop’s University
    (pp. 36-57)

    My great-grandfather on my mother’s side, George Irvine, had been the chancellor at Bishop’s from 1865 to 1867. After my arrival there as a student, I learned that my cousin, Hugh Mackenzie, who was killed in the Second World War, had graduated from Bishop’s, and that the chaplain, Canon Elton Scott, was a good friend of my parents and had married them in 1929 (I would later discover that he was also a close friend of Joany’s parents, having being brought up during the summers in Cap-à-L’Aigle).

    Upon my arrival at the university, I immediately met Tony Abbott, an open,...

  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 58-66)
  13. 5 The Poirier Commission
    (pp. 67-73)

    In early April 1976 I received a call from Jean Bienvenue, Premier Robert Bourassa’s minister of education. He wanted to know if I would act on a commission that was looking into a bitter, ongoing school dispute that had left the Quebec educational system in near chaos. At the time, I was president of Bishop’s and of the Mackay Centre and had considerable experience serving on various schoolrelated boards on the West Island of Montreal. The government must have considered this to be a sufficient background in education for me to be a credible representative of the English-speaking community.

    The...

  14. 6 The Montreal Olympics
    (pp. 74-78)

    My wife and I were thrilled to have tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1976 Summer Olympics, which were being held in Montreal. At the opening ceremony we found ourselves sitting in front of John Turner, a friend from the Junior Bar Association and a former minister of justice of Canada. We exchanged greetings and thought that was the end of it.

    The next week, a seventeen-year-old Russian high-board diver named Sergei Nemstanov, who was expected to come home with a medal, did not make it onto the podium and was apparently told by his coach that...

  15. 7 Elementary Schools
    (pp. 79-87)

    Growing up, I had often heard mention of the Mackay Centre. Allan Mackay, who was a descendant of the Centre’s founder, was a horseback-riding friend of my father’s and was married to my aunt’s sister. I had also heard that it was an excellent educational and rehabilitative environment for children with a range of disabilities. It was only in 1974, however, that I had my first real introduction to the school. I was acting as the lawyer for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when I met a dynamic American named Hollis Marden. After retiring as vice-president of Domtar, he had opened...

  16. 8 The Positive Action Committee, Language Legislation, and the 1980 Referendum
    (pp. 88-99)

    On 15 November 1976, after campaigning on a platform that advocated sovereignty for Quebec with an economic association with Canada, the Parti Quebecois was elected. Coming into power added fuel to the party’s determination to “francisize” Quebec, restrict access to English education, and render the English-speaking community invisible by banning the use of any other language than French on commercial signs. Needless to say, all of this traumatized our community.

    Many people feared an exodus of English-speaking Quebecers, most of whom were federalists. Such an exodus would weaken our English institutions and make the goal of sovereignty easier to achieve....

  17. 9 McGill University
    (pp. 100-121)

    In 1950 J.W. McConnell, one of McGill’s greatest benefactors, gave the J.K.L. Ross House on the corner of Peel and Doctor Penfield to the university to house the growing Faculty of Law. An austere and imposing building, it was named Chancellor Day Hall after Charles Dewey Day, who was principal from 1853 to 1855 and chancellor from 1884 to 1888. The next year, lawyers and judges were invited to the faculty for the first time as part-time lecturers, the idea being that the students should be exposed to the practical side of the law. As a student, I heard Mr...

  18. 10 The Oka Crisis
    (pp. 122-137)

    In early 1990, in the scenic town of Oka just sixty kilometres west of Montreal, plans were being made to extend a nine-hole golf course onto land claimed by the Mohawk of Kanesatake, an adjoining community of about 1,500 people. On 10 March, desperate to protect their land, which included an ancestral burial ground, a group of masked Mohawk set up barricades around an area known as “the Pines” and took up arms. At the end of June, a court order was issued to have the barricades removed, increasing tensions between the Mohawk and the townspeople of Oka. Early on...

  19. 11 The McGill Teaching Hospitals
    (pp. 138-160)

    Montreal’s English-speaking hospitals are in my blood. Of the four McGill teaching hospitals, which are staffed by physicians who also hold academic appointments at McGill, my family had close ties with three, the Royal Victoria (popularly known as the “Royal Vic” or just the “Vic”), the Montreal General, and the Montreal Children’s hospitals. My great-grandfather Alex Paterson was one of the founding governors of the Royal Vic, which opened its doors in 1893. Two of my aunts, Brenda Meredith and Elspeth Dawes, and my cousin Joan Bourne, held the position of president of the Women’s Auxiliary at different times and...

  20. 12 In Memoriam
    (pp. 161-163)

    Two people very close to me have not been mentioned in these memoirs. Both had died by the time I started writing, my cousin Angie Mackenzie in 1999, and Bob Legge, my partner at McMaster Meighen, in 1982. Their friendship was long-standing and their influence on my life enormous.

    Angie was nine years older than me, and when she came to Murray Bay when her parents were away she would stay with us. In fact, we were double cousins since our mothers were sisters and our fathers were first cousins. While Angie went to parties with an older crowd, our...

  21. Epilogue
    (pp. 164-166)

    The famous Canadian physician Sir William Osier said, in his farewell address at Johns Hopkins University, that “the most effective, moving, vitalizing work is done before forty.” He then added that his “second fixed idea” was “the uselessness of men above sixty years of age and the incalculable benefit it would be in commercial, political, and professional life if, as a matter of course, men stopped work at this age.” This caused an angry reaction at the time, but Osier also made another statement on the same occasion that I strongly endorse: “It is only those who live with the...

  22. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 167-170)
  23. Appendices
    (pp. 171-182)
  24. Bibliography
    (pp. 183-184)
  25. Index
    (pp. 185-196)