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Publication: Moncton Times and Transcript add link
Issue: 2007/09/27
Title: Justice Rand's legacy lives on
Web Link: link

By Brian Murphy
Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP
Published Thursday September 27th, 2007
Appeared on page D8

It's my great privilege to be able to say a few words today about a man who stood as a giant of law, education and diplomacy in Canada, and beyond.

This beautiful commemorative window not only captures the triumph of Ivan Cleveland Rand's achievements, but also of his personality -- his towering intellect, and deep compassion for his fellow citizens.

His biography is well known to most if not all of you, but it's worth reviewing on this occasion.

He was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 1884. He worked five years for the Intercolonial Railway before attending Mount Allison University in nearby Sackville. After graduating in 1909, he attended Harvard where he earned a law degree. He was called to the bar of New Brunswick in 1912. But he decided to move to Medicine Hat, Alberta, where he practised law for seven years.

In 1920, he moved back to his hometown of Moncton where he became general counsel for Canadian National Railways. Within five years he was Attorney General of New Brunswick, and a member of the legislative assembly.

In 1943, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Two years later, he developed one of the most important labour dispute mechanisms in western jurisprudence -- the Rand Formula, which still exists as the gold standard of arbitration.

In 1947, he was Canada's representative on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. In 1959, he retired from the Supreme Court, but only to take up duties, at the spry age of 75, as the first Dean of the University of Western Ontario's law school, where he remained until 1964. Justice Rand died in 1969 at the age of 84.

And there you have it: An extraordinary man's life in a nutshell.

Still, you can't measure a person's impact on others simply by examining the bare bones of his public accomplishments. You have to look at the work, and how the work has influenced others. Justice Rand influenced generations of lawyers, judges, elected officials, and policy makers in Canada.

In fact, his wisdom and perspicuity soaks the books and lectures I studied to become a practising member of the legal profession. When I became Mayor of Moncton, my hometown, I remembered his words. When I became a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada, representing the riding of Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, I remembered his words.

And those words were: peace, justice, morality, and tolerance.

To be honest, Moncton is a historic hotbed of ideas -- ideas that have fired the imaginations of people around the world.

Northrop Frye was raised there. He went on to become one of the greatest thinkers and writers of the 20th Century. Each year, Moncton hosts a festival in his name to remind the world that the East Coast of Canada can, and does, generate genius.

Justice Rand's legacy represents this and something else. Something the East Coast continues to produce: A matchless work ethic.

The idea that in one of the poorest regions of the nation, people can still have a good life -- one enriched by family, friends, hope, hard work, and entrepreneurial endeavour -- was a fundamental tenet of his personal philosophy. And to this end, he worked harder than anyone.

He was a practising lawyer, representing working men and women, not just corporations and governments. He was a man for the people who believed that people can and do rise above their circumstances to do great things, if given a chance.

I think he would be proud, if he were alive today, to see that we are trying to give Atlantic Canada that very same chance all over again.

This room is fine, and so are the sentiments. They perfectly reflect the personality of the man we honour today. If, as they say, we live in the shadow of genius, we should be lucky to live in the one cast by Ivan Cleveland Rand -- a Moncton hometown boy who did well by doing good.

Brian Murphy is the Liberal Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, former mayor of Moncton and a lawyer by profession.