Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

My Journey Through Life and the Law

Book - 2019 | Simon & Schuster Canada edition
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"Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, offers an intimate and revealing look at her life and shares her insights into the most pressing legal and social questions we face today. As a young girl, Beverley McLachlin's world was often full of wonder--at the expansive Prairie vistas around her, at the stories she discovered in the books at her local library, and at the diverse people who passed through her parents' door. While her family was poor, their lives were rich in the ways that mattered most. Even at a young age, she had an innate sense of justice, which was reinforced by the lessons her parents taught her: Everyone deserves dignity. All people are equal. Those who work hard reap the rewards. Willful, spirited, and unusually intelligent, she discovered in Pincher Creek an extraordinary tapestry of people and perspectives that informed her worldview going forward. Still, life in the rural Prairies was lonely, and gaining access to education--especially for girls--wasn't always easy. As a young woman, McLachlin moved to Edmonton to pursue a degree in philosophy. There, she discovered her passion lay not in the ivory towers of academia, but in the real world, solving problems directly related to the lives of the people around her. And in the law, she found the tools to do exactly that. She soon realized, though, that the world was not always willing to accept her. In her early years as an articling student and lawyer, she encountered sexism, exclusion, and old boys' clubs at every turn. And outside the courtroom, personal loss and tragedies struck close to home. Nonetheless, McLachlin was determined to prove her worth, and her love of the law and the pursuit of justice pulled her through the darkest moments. McLachlin's meteoric rise through the courts soon found her serving on the highest court in the country, becoming the first woman to be named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She rapidly distinguished herself as a judge of renown, one who was never afraid to take on morally complex or charged debates. Over the next eighteen years, McLachlin presided over the most prominent cases in the country--involving Charter challenges, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia. One judgment at a time, she laid down a legal legacy that proved that fairness and justice were not luxuries of the powerful but rather obligations owed to each and every one of us. With warmth, honesty, and deep wisdom, McLachlin invites us into her legal and personal life--into the hopes and doubts, the triumphs and losses on and off the bench. Through it all, her constant faith in justice remained her true north. In an age of division and uncertainty, McLachlin's memoir is a reminder that justice and the rule of law remain our best hope for a progressive and bright future."--
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, Simon & Schuster Canada,, 2019
Edition: Simon & Schuster Canada edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781982104962
Branch Call Number: 347.71035 MCL NVD
Characteristics: 373 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, offers an intimate and revealing look at her life and shares her insights into the most pressing legal and social questions we face today. 

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Aug 27, 2020

A very good read. Read cover to cover a few times as I had the book for an extended time due to the COVID shutdown.
Canada is better having had her on the SCoC, as well as the Chief Justice. She handled having to deal with a Power Mad Prime Minister from 2006 - 2015 very well, striking his Attacks on Rights and Democracy, down.

Mar 05, 2020

This is what I might call a “meat-and-potatoes” kind of autobiography; by that, I mean that it’s unadorned and rings with honesty and integrity. McLachlin modestly glides over the fact that her multiple achievements and her meteoric rise through the ranks of Canadian jurists to the very top position were truly remarkable. When she began studying law in the 1960s, there were few women doing so — and little was expected of those who sought to penetrate that male preserve. And yet she arrived at the Supreme Court at an age when many practicing lawyers would be pleased to have just made partner in their own firm.
Her humble beginnings on a foothills ranch obviously influenced her approach to the daunting tasks that faced her in life. And her rigorous training in the exacting business of writing decisions, along with a love of good literature, prompted her to write in clear, unambiguous prose with no pretensions and no wasted words. The book flows along effortlessly. She simply sets out to tell a story and do so in a manner that invites the reader to pay attention and read every word of it to the end. There aren’t many books that can accomplish that — especially among autobiographies, where the temptation to embellish, digress, dissemble or boast is usually far too great. (Which is why I seldom read autobiographies.)
“I had learned my first lesson in judging: listen. If you think you know the answer, you probably don’t. If you think you are the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room. Listening will help you get the right answer.”
Beverley McLachlin was appointed to the top court in the midst of that body’s most exciting period, when the court was faced with a deluge of profoundly important questions arising from the repatriation of our Constitution and the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; a document that fundamentally redefined what kinds of laws our legislatures may enact — and how those laws are to be interpreted and applied. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Charter and the decisions rendered by the Supreme Court during the final two decades of the 20th century profoundly changed what it means to be a Canadian. At such a critical time, finding the right nine individuals to sit in judgment was of critical importance. McLachlin had no need to emphasize the magnitude of the task she and her colleagues faced and she relates those facts in the most matter-of-fact manner possible.
“Drawing the appropriate lines between the right to say what we believe — even though others may find it offensive — and the need to protect individuals and groups from hatred is the kind of work that wakes you up in the middle of the night with a dark fear in the pit of your stomach that you won’t get it right. As a trial judge and a member of the BC Court of Appeal, I had comforted myself that if I got it wrong, there was another court to correct me. But now I was on the final court, and there was no further recourse. The buck stopped with us. And what we decided could affect not only the law but the way women, men and children lived their lives and the kind of country Canada would be.”
Reading this book caused me to be extremely grateful that our judges, once appointed, bear no fealty to the politicians who selected them to serve. Our courts, unlike those of many nations, are beyond the corrosive influence of political ambition, expediency and gerrymandering. Let us hope that as Canadians we continue to have the moral courage, wisdom and determination to keep it that way. Therein lies true democracy.

Feb 29, 2020

Excellent! Beautifully written detail. She's an amazingly accurate writer.....I remember the era for women lawyers very well. The fact that she got through all the hassles and succeeded so beautifully is amazing.

Feb 09, 2020

Well written and most interesting. Her first novel "Disclosure" is also excellent - read it in 2 days!

debwalker Oct 13, 2019

How to go from remote Pincher Creek Alberta to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of started at the tiny Pincher Creek library. The power of reading!

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