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Chief Justice Gets Served - With an Award at Local High School

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Guelph welcomed a special guest on Wednesday in the form of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverly McLachlin. McLachlin was this year’s recipient of Lourdes’ annual National Leadership Award and joins other previously recognized luminaries like Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and current Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

The National Leadership Award ceremony at Lourdes is held on John A. McDonald’s birthday in recognition of the country’s first prime minister. Part of the observance is having a Lourdes student play McDonald complete with period costume provided by the Guelph Civic Museum. Before McLachlin accepted the award, Lourdes’ principal Mr. Candiotto, Ward 5 councilor Lise Bucher and MPP Liz Sandals welcomed her, with introductions done by two students from Mr. Tersigni’s history class.

“Anyone can be a leader and certainly my example proves that,” McLachlin told the students gathered in the Lourdes Art Centre. The thesis of McLachlin’s speech was that there are no obstacles to becoming a leader in your community, just challenges to be overcome. “It really is about working with people, helping people, so that they can contribute to a larger, collegial effort,” said McLachlin, “It’s not so much about telling people what to do but about bringing out people’s gifts.”

Throughout the 80s, McLachlin served in various capacities in the British Columbia court system from the Court of Appeal to the provincial Supreme Court. She was about to the federal bench in 1989 by Brian Mulroney and became Chief Justice in 2000. Presumably, her new National Leadership Award will sit somewhere amongst her 21 honourary Doctor of Law degrees.

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