Remarks on the Occasion of the Society’s 60th Anniversary Gala

Ian Solloway
Chair, 60th Anniversary Committee


Monsieur le Juge en Chef du Québec, Messieurs les Juges en Chefs, Mesdames et Messieurs les Juges de toutes juridictions, invitées d’honneurs, collègues, chers amis. Bienvenue, Good evening and “Bruchim Habaim”.

As chair of the 60th Anniversary of The Lord Reading Law Society, it is an honour to be standing before all of you tonight on this most special occasion in the history of this great Society and to welcome you to our 60th Anniversary.

À titre de président de 60e Anniversaire de l’Association du Droit Lord Reading, c’est avec beaucoup de fierté que je vous accueille ce soir à notre dîner-gala soulignant le 60e anniversaire de notre Association.

Cet anniversaire est l’occasion d’évoquer des grands moments qui ont marqué plus d’un demi-siècle d’activités et d’implication de l’Association du Droit Lord Reading au sein de la communauté juridique du Québec et de rendre hommage à nos membres d’hier et d’aujourd’hui qui ont joué un rôle vibrant pour créer une Association oû le mot « excellence » décrit tout ce que nous faisons.

Before briefly sharing my thoughts with you on the significance of this most special occasion in the history of the Lord Reading Law Society, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the presence of certain special guests who are with us this evening.

Sont présents parmi nous ce soir, certains invitées distingués que j’ai l’honneur de vous mentionner. Je vous demanderais de retenir vos applaudissements jusqu’à la fin « de l’appel du rôle »:

1) L’Honorable Michel Robert, juge en chef du Québec;
2) L’Honorable François Rolland, juge en chef de la Cour supérieure du Québec ;
3) L’Honorable Guy Gagnon,  juge en chef de la Cour du Québec;
4) L’Honorable Pierre Mondor, juge-président de la Cour municipale de Montréal ;
5) L’Honorable André Wery, juge en chef adjoint de la cour supérieure du Québec ;
6) The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Member of Parlament for Mount-Royal and former Minister of Justice for Canada;
7) The Honourable Senator Yoine Goldstein;
8) Me Stephen G. Schenke, Bâtonnier de Montréal;
9) Me Michel Doyon, Bâtonnier sortant du Barreau de Québec ;
10) Me Philippe-Andre Tessier, President de Jeune Barreau du Quebec ;
11)  Me Marie- Laure Leclercq , qui represente le Barreau Canadien- Division du Quebec ;
12) Me Anne-Marie Boisvert, ancienne doyenne et professeur titulaire de la faculté du droit de l’Université de Montréal;
12) Me Nicholas Kasirer, Dean of Law, McGill University;
13)  Mr. Stephen R. Greenwald, Esq., President, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, who is with us tonight from New York;

I want to also recognize 2 of our honourary life members who are present this evening:
• L’Honorable Pierre A. Michaud, ancien Juge en Chef du Québec; and
• The Honourable Lawrence A. Poitras, former Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court;
and of course, our distinguished keynote speaker and dear friend, The Honourable Justice Morris Fish and his family.

Je note également avec plaisir la présence des autres membres de la magistrature du Québec, l’heure ne me permet pas de mentionner tous les noms, mais je vous souhait d’une bienvenue chaleureuse.

Permit me as well to acknowledge the number of the Past-Presidents of the Society who are with us tonight. Of our 31 living Past-Presidents, 28 are present this evening.

I am not going to name all of you, but permit me one exception – Manny Schacter, Q.C.,-our 13th President from 1967-1968, second Jewish Bâtonnier of Montreal in 1987, recipient of our Past-President’s Medal in 2006 and one of the original founders of The Lord Reading Law Society in 1948.
Manny, we thank you for your contribution to the evolution of the Society over the years, for your mentorship and wise counsel that you have continued to provide to us all, and for remaining active in the affairs of the Society.

I would ask that Manny and all of the Past-Presidents to all stand up at your places. To all of our Past-Presidents, a hearty “Yasher Koach”.

C’est grâce à votre dévouément que notre Association est si florissant aujourd’hui. We salute you and pay homage to you for the legacy that is ours. Thank you!

Ladies and Gentlemen, our Past-Presidents.

I want to take this opportunity to announce publicly, and it gives me great pleasure to do so, that as a means of marking the 60th Anniversary of the Society, the McGill Faculty of Law has created “The Lord Reading Law Society 60th Anniversary Human Rights Bursary.” An endowment will be established this year to support, on an annual basis, a student who wishes to participate in a Human Rights activity or internship but who, for reasons of financial need, cannot do so.

On behalf of The Lord Reading Law Society, I want to publicly thank the McGill Faculty of Law and Dean Kasirer personally for this wonderful gesture. Thank you very much!

Mindful of its beginnings and the legacy of its founders, The Lord Reading Law Society has, for the past 60 years, been the collective voice of the Quebec Jewish Bar vis à vis the greater legal community and Government, dedicating itself to the furtherance of Human Rights and fundamental Freedoms, the promotion of legal education, fellowship of the Bar and recognition of personal achievements in the law that are deserving of special acknowledgment.

For the past 60 years, we, at The Lord Reading Law Society, have had the privilege of having at this podium at the Montefiore Club, which has been our home for over 40 of those years, more than 350 guest speakers, including some of the most brilliant and celebrated jurists of our time.

Without being immodest, I don’t think that any other organization in this country has had the honour of having virtually every justice of the Supreme Court of Canada address its members at one time or the other.

Indeed, although we were once described as “a dead poet’s Society”, we are certainly not that anymore. We are a Society whose reputation has come to be recognized by the entire legal community of Quebec and beyond, as being synonymous with “excellence” in all aspects of our activities.

So tonight, we, The Lord Reading Law Society, celebrate:

1) We celebrate the role we have played over the last 60 years in the intellectual and social life of Quebec’s legal community;

2) Nous célébrons depuis 60 années notre engagement pour les droits et libertés fondamentales;

3) We celebrate being one of the most active forums in Quebec and perhaps even in Canada for continuing legal education and fellowship of the Bar;

4) Nous célébrons notre capacité de fournir à nos jeunes membres l’opportunité unique de partager leurs préoccupations professionnelles, les uns avec les autres et avec des collègues seniors et à la fois avec la magistrature, dans une atmosphère conviviale et chaleureuse;

5) We celebrate those distinguished members of our Society, who have achieved leadership positions in the legal community as Bâtonnier of the Barreau de Montreal and of the Barreau du Quebec, as well as Chairs of and active participants on various Bar committees;

6) Nous célébrons nos membres qui ont accédé à tous les niveaux judiciaire, incluant le Juge en chef de l’ancienne Cour provinciale du Québec, le Juge en chef de la Cour supérieure du Québec, et des juges de la Cour supérieure et de la Cour du Québec ainsi que des juges de la Cour d’appel, et finalement des juges de la Cour Suprême du Canada;

7) But mostly we celebrate our members who have brought honour to our profession, to our Community, to our City, to our Province and to our Country, by their active contribution and involvement in the life of Quebec’s legal community and the community at large;

It is befitting that during this same year that we, The Lord Reading Law Society, celebrate our 60th Anniversary, we acknowledge other noteworthy celebrations. This year also marks the 20th Anniversary of la Cour du Québec ; et nous vous félicitons M le juge en chef Gagnon à l’occasion de 20’ieme anniversaire de votre Cour.

This year also marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which deserves mention, since the tradition of Human Rights , through the biblical injunction “ Tsedek, Tsedek, Tirdoff “ / “ Justice, Justice, shall thou pursue”, is an integral part of the values which The Lord Reading Law Society holds dear.
And of course, 2008 also marks the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel.

Finally, the Lord Reading Law Society has received a number of Letters of Congratulations and of Greetings marking our 60th Anniversary, including letters from:
• the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper;
• the Premier of Québec, Monsieur Jean Charest;
• the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada, Mr. Rob Nicholson ;
• le Ministre de la Justice et procureur général du Québec, M Jacques Dupuis;
• his worship, the Mayor of Montreal, Monsieur Gerald Tremblay;
• the Dean of the McGill Faculty of Law, Dean Nicolas Kasirer; et
• le doyen de la faculté de Droit de l’Université de Montréal, Me Gilles Trudeau.
Time does not permit me to read these letters. However, they will be put up on our website, more of which you will hear about in a little while.

In conclusion, permit me, however, to read a brief part of the letter from Monsieur le Bâtonnier, Stephen Schenke, Bâtonnier de Montréal, who wrote, when he advised the Society in May that we would be receiving the Médaille du Barreau de Montreal, which was presented to us just over 2 weeks ago, on September 4th, 2008, at the Rentrée Judiciaire, and I quote:

“The Lord Reading Law Society’s passion for social justice, its tradition of legal excellence, its contribution to the judiciary and to the Montreal Bar, are just a few of the significant contributions that we wish to recognize. We also believe that by honouring the Lord Reading Law Society, we are recognizing the diversity of the Montreal Bar. By highlighting your 60 years of success, we are sending a message of welcome to all ethnic groups in Montreal and cherishing values of pluralism that are so important for the future of Montreal and Quebec.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would ask you now to rise and lift your glasses in a toast to The Lord Reading Law Society—- for 60 years of being an integral part of the fabric of the Montreal and Quebec legal community-
“Long Life, Longue Vie et Lechayim”

Mesdames et Messieurs, c’est mon grand plaisir maintenant de vous présenter notre président sortant, Me Mark Schrager, qui vous adressera la parole.  Mark….

Mesdames et Messieurs, je n’ai aucune doute que vous serez d’accord avec moi que c’était une soirée inoubliable pour l’Association de Droit Lord Reading.

In closing, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my committee (the 60th Anniversary Committee) for your hard work over the past 12 months, for your patience when I sometimes and probably more often than not, pushed perhaps a little bit too hard. I know that I always had your support in putting this evening together; I sincerely thank all of you.

My thanks as well to our sponsors and to the entire Montreal legal community, for your generosity and support that you have exhibited to The Lord Reading Law Society during this, our 60th year.

A tous nos commandites et à l’entière communauté juridique de Montréal, mes sincères remerciements pour votre générosité et pour l’appui que vous avez démontré envers l’Association de Droit Lord Reading pendant notre 60e année.  Merci à tous et à toutes.

Lastly, but not least, my thanks, and it is most sincere and heartfelt, to you our members.
It may be a cliché, but it is true that :

“The achievements of any organization are the combined effort of each of its members”.
So it is, and so it will be with The Lord Reading Law Society.

Merci Mesdames et Messieurs. Thank you all for coming this evening. I hope to see you at our various functions between now and our 75th Anniversary and, of course, at our 75th.

Goodnight. Bonsoir et Shalom, and Happy New Year to you all-“Shana Tova oû Mituka”