Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law

November 1, 2020
Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of CanadaBeverley McLachlin offers an intimate and revealing look at herlife, from her childhood in the Alberta foothills to her career onthe Supreme Court, where she helped to shape the social and moralfabric of the country.As a young girl, Beverley McLachlin's world was often full ofwonder—at the expansive prairie vistas around her, at the storiesshe discovered in the books at her local library, and at thediverse people who passed through her parents' door. While herfamily was poor, their lives were rich in the ways that matteredmost. Even at a young age, she had an innate sense of justice,which was reinforced by the lessons her parents taught her:Everyone deserves dignity. All people are equal. Those who workhard reap the rewards. Willful, spirited, and unusuallyintelligent, she discovered in Pincher Creek an extraordinarytapestry of people and perspectives that informed her worldviewgoing forward.Still, life in the rural Prairies was lonely, and gaining accessto education—especially for girls—wasn't always easy. As a youngwoman, McLachlin moved to Edmonton to pursue a degree inphilosophy. There, she discovered her passion lay not in academia,but in the real world, solving problems directly related to thelives of the people around her. And in the law, she found the toolsto do exactly that.She soon realized, though, that the world was not always willingto accept her. In her early years as an articling student andlawyer, she encountered sexism, exclusion, and old boys' clubs atevery turn. And outside the courtroom, personal loss and tragediesstruck close to home. Nonetheless, McLachlin was determined toprove her worth, and her love of the law and the pursuit of justicepulled her through the darkest moments.McLachlin's meteoric rise through the courts soon found herserving on the highest court in the country, becoming the firstwoman to be named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Sherapidly distinguished herself as a judge of renown, one who wasnever afraid to take on morally complex or charged debates. Overthe next eighteen years, McLachlin presided over the most prominentcases in the country—involving Charter challenges, same-sexmarriage, and euthanasia. One judgment at a time, she laid down alegal legacy that proved that fairness and justice were notluxuries of the powerful but rather obligations owed to each andevery one of us.With warmth, honesty, and deep wisdom, McLachlin invites us intoher legal and personal life—into the hopes and doubts, the triumphsand losses on and off the bench. Through it all, her constant faithin justice remained her true north. In an age of division anduncertainty, McLachlin's memoir is a reminder that justice and therule of law remain our best hope for a progressive and brightfuture.