|Honorary Degree Recipient, Honorable Mr. Justice Robert George Brian Dickson (Photograph Collection, A-8901)|
Convocation date: May 18, 1978
Discipline / contribution: jurisprudence ; social philosophy
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you Mr. Justice Robert George Brian Dickson.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Known for the breadth of his legal erudition, his sensitivity to competing policy interests and the superb craftsmanship of his legal opinions, Mr. Justice Brian Dickson unites on Canada's highest bench the-insight of the analytical jurist and the concern of the enlightened social philosopher.
As a boy, he walked the streets and by-ways of his native Yorkton, Saskatchewan. As a young man, he graduated in law from the University of Manitoba. When war broke out in 1939, he served with distinction in the Royal Canadian Artillery. On returning to Winnipeg, he found time off from his busy practice to devote to the Canadian Red Cross Society and other worthy causes, later serving on the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Appeal before being elevated, in 1973, to the Supreme Court of Canada as successor to Mr. Justice Emmett Hall.
In his work as a judge, he has been cognizant of the desirability of reconciling historical precedent with necessary social change. As a traditionalist, he has decreed that Manitoba eggs and broilers should be sold without discrimination in Quebec supermarkets, thus maintaining the original "common market" concept of Confederation; as a social philosopher he has endorsed the libertarian aims of the Canadian Bill of Rights for Canada's native peoples and other minorities, and has vindicated the right of married women to an equal share in matrimonial property; in his opinions on public law in this perilous time for our nation, he has demonstrated ably that federalism and centralism are distinguishable concepts, and that the former does not necessarily entail the latter. His opinions will serve future generations as models of graceful literary style as well as of masterly legal reasoning.
Eminent Chancellor, I present you Mr. Justice Dickson and ask that you will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Howard McConnell
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