Duo join the Supremes
Abella, Ottawa's Charron sworn in

Tue, October 5, 2004

An Ottawa native who began her career as a civil litigator and never thought she would work in the courtroom was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday. Louise Charron, 53, struck a note of patriotic gratitude upon joining the country's top court.

"It is a privilege of living in a peaceful and free country," she said. "Unfortunately, we don't have to do more than read newspapers on just about any day to realize how fortunate we are."


Raised in the capital, the 53-year-old judge graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1975 and returned to teach there for three years in the 1980s. A former assistant Crown attorney, she was appointed to the District Court of Ontario in 1988 and the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1995.

Earlier this year, Charron admitted she wasn't even considering a career in the courtroom when she was called to the bar in 1977.

"If someone had asked me what I thought I'd be doing for the rest of my life, I would have said that I wanted to be a private practitioner, most likely in some field such as corporate or commercial law," she said.

The appointments of Charron and Rosie Abella bring the Supreme Court to its full strength of nine members.


Abella, whose brother died in a concentration camp, came near tears yesterday as she was sworn in.

"In one generation, a journey that started in a displaced persons camp in Germany ended in the Supreme Court of Canada. I am so proud to be a Canadian," she said.

Outside the courthouse, about 25 demonstrators carried signs accusing the new justices of a history of biased judgments. Aidan Reid, a spokesman for Campaign Life, said the government was "fixing" the court to push its agenda on gay rights and other issues.