2007-2008 Mark Schrager
Our speakers’ programme this season was varied and well-attended.
The Alan B. Gold Memorial Advocacy Lecture was delivered by Shimon Fogel on “Feeling Good or Doing Good: Successfully Navigating the Pro-Israel Advocacy Challenge”. Mr Fogel succeeded in explaining the strategy of advocating the case for Israel in a clear and entertaining manner.
The Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture was delivered by Mr. Larry Smith, the CEO of the Montreal Alouettes Football Club on “Leadership, Balance and Values”. This motivational speech was particularly appreciated by younger members of the Society.
The Human Rights Lecture was given in the form of a panel discussion on “Reasonable Accommodation”, moderated by Madam Justice Carol Cohen, J.C.S. The panel consisted of Me Julius H. Grey, Prof. Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens (Université de Montréal) and Mr. Jack Jedwab (Executive Director of the Association for Canadian Studies). The topic was timely and in parallel with public hearings organized by the Quebec Government.
The programme for the annual students’ dinner was a presentation on “Expert Testimony in Chief and Cross-Examination – The Use of Visualization and Data Analysis” delivered by Me Gérald R. Tremblay and Paul Levine as the expert witness. We also hosted the recipients of our annual prizes awarded to meritorious law students at the law faculties of each of Université de Montréal and McGill University.
At the dinner meeting held on March 31st, 2008, members of the Society were informed, enlightened and charmed by the Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada. Madam Justice Abella addressed the Society at the 50th Anniversary celebration and we were particularly honoured that she returned during our 60th year to inspire us with some of her views on the concept of justice.
The final programme of the season had our guest speaker Edward L. Greenspan address the Society on, “A Stranger in a Surprisingly Strange Land, the Conrad Black Trial”. Because he is one of the most prominent criminal defence lawyers in the country, we were most privileged to have Mr. Greenspan’s views on the American criminal justice system.
During my term as President, we commenced preparation for the official celebration of the Society’s 60th year celebration which was held on September 18th, 2008. Most noteworthy was the approval by the Board of Directors of the construction of a website upon which you are reading this message. Also during the year, the participation of our younger members continued to increase in all facets of the Society’s activities. We also were vigilant in pursuing our human rights mandate. In this respect, the Society wrote to Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a past recipient of the Lord Reading Law Society Human Rights Award. Our letter called upon Madam Arbour to speak out against the almost exclusive censures issued against Israel by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The letter and Madam Arbour’s reply are annexed to the newsletter of the Society of September 2007. We were also granted observer status at the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada and Canadian Jewish Congress.
With the interest in the 60th Anniversary and our fundraising campaign leading up to the gala celebration, the Society ended the year in great spirits and financial health.