2008-2009 Ronald H. Levy
This truly has been a wonderful year. It started with the Society receiving the Bar of Montreal medal for its “remarkable contribution to the cause of justice”. Then Bâtonnier Stephen Schenke, during his presentation at the Rentrée judiciaire, referred to our long-standing tradition of promoting both human rights as well as proportionate representation in the judiciary of members of the Jewish faith.
We commenced our evening meetings by celebrating our 60th Anniversary with a Gala organized by Past President Ian Solloway, and whereat Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish delivered the lecture.
Over the year, we were privileged to hear presentations from Judge Jean-Louis Beaudoin of the Court of Appeal who regaled us with stories from the perspective of the bench, as well as some personal anecdotes. On the cusp of Durban II, we heard from Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, an NGO in Geneva, Switzerland who fights on behalf of human rights and exposes the hypocrisy and Kafkaesque nature of the workings of the UN Human Rights Council. I had the chance to attend the Durban II conference and the Summit on Human Rights, Social Tolerance and Democracy and was able to witness first hand the important work being accomplished by UN Watch.
We end this year as we began, with an important guest lecturer. Newly appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General Me Kathleen Weil will address us at our last meeting on the topic of access to justice. A topic which, of course, is of great importance and directly relates to the protection and promotion of human rights.
This year also saw the implementation of the continuing legal education (“CLE”) requirements of the Bar of Québec. Once again, the Society was first off the mark and only one day after the commencement of the period when credits could be allocated and earned, our very first lecture was so credited and CLE credits earned by our attending members.
This was also a year of innovation. We introduced the videotaping of one of our lectures and posted it on our website. Speaking of our website, our statistics show that it is being accessed more and more often and the visibility of the Society is becoming more ubiquitous.
Almost all of our meetings this year have been sold out and this augurs well for next year’s programme. I want to recognize the efforts of our programme chairman, Me David Stolow who, along with his committee, were responsible for an amazing series of lectures.
I also want to thank my Board for their unfailing support, energy and commitment to the Society.
A Society like Lord Reading could not have survived for 60 years without an unending source of committed individuals who are prepared to step forward and assume the reigns. This year is no different. I am pleased to recognize our next President, Me Irwin Rudick. Irwin has been a long-standing supporter of the Society and has been involved at the Director level for numerous years. He brings wisdom and experience to the role and I wish him every success.
It has been a great privilege to represent the Lord Reading Law Society this year and to have assumed the role of President. I will end my mandate, therefore, as I began it by wishing the Society, all its members and its friends continued success to “one hundred and twenty”.