The Top 25 Most Influential - Government/Non-Profits/Associations
- Subtitle: Cover Story
Justice France Charbonneau
Chairwoman, Charbonneau Commission, Quebec
A decade ago, Justice France Charbonneau, then a Crown prosecutor with 23 years of trials under her belt, successfully took down the once elusive Hell’s Angels boss Maurice “Mom” Boucher, who is now serving a life sentence for the murder of two prison guards. Now her work as the head of the Charbonneau Commission, the public inquiry into allegations of widespread corruption in Quebec’s multibillion-dollar construction industry, could ultimately have an important impact on how business is conducted in the province, help prevent corruption in the awarding of public contracts, and limit undue influence of elected officials. The Charbonneau Commission has shaken up Quebec politics. Corruption allegations that surfaced at the commission led to Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay’s resignation, and to the arrest of 37 politicians, bureaucrats, and construction bosses, including former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt and Montreal interim mayor Michael Applebaum. By taking on some of Quebec’s toughest cases, Charbonneau has developed a reputation for being an even tougher presence on the bench.
What voters had to say: “No lawyer or judge is having as significant an impact on Canadian legal culture this year.”
Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Gatineau, Que.
Jean-Pierre Blais, a career public servant who has worked at the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Department of Canadian Heritage, took over the CRTC at a time of significant change in the industry. In an ambitious set of proposals, Blais has laid out his view of a regulatory regime based on a convergence of public and private sector interests. In 2012, he released a three-year plan promising to “create, connect, and protect.” Recently Blais introduced the CRTC’s new wireless code, which includes some long-awaited regulations of cellular service providers. The code will require providers to stick to the terms of their contracts, limit the amortization period for cell phone contracts, and put caps on overcharges.
What voters had to say: “Making waves with a consumer focus as head of the CRTC.”
Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver
As chairman of the British Columbia Justice Reform Initiative, Geoffrey Cowper was tasked with crafting a proposal to modernize the criminal justice system and help carry it into the 21st century. After incorporating input from over a hundred members of the justice system and the public, Cowper produced his report, “A Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century.” The B.C. Civil Liberties Association praised the report for laying a path for system-wide improvements to timeliness and accessibility. The resulting Justice Reform and Transparency Act, which received Royal assent in March, promises to fulfill key recommendations from Cowper’s report.
What the panel had to say: “Geoff Cowper has literally written the book on much-needed justice reform in B.C.”
Professor, Yogis & Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law,
Schulich School of Law, Halifax
Since several tragic cases in the news led the public to demand action to prevent cyberbullying, Wayne MacKay is increasingly looked to as an authoritative voice. As chairman of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Cyberbullying, MacKay produced a report in 2012, subtitled “There’s No App for That,” which has been cited by the Supreme Court and underpins recent anti-bullying legislative efforts. Since then MacKay has continued to campaign for a more robust response to the problem, calling on Nova Scotia’s newly appointed anti-bullying co-ordinator to spend less time collecting data and more time creating anti-bullying programs. He also suggested the province add a course on “digital citizenship” to school curriculums, and has advocated for making bullying a separate offence under the law.
What voters had to say: “Professor MacKay’s work on bullying could literally save young people’s lives. I can’t think of any more noble contribution from a legal scholar.”
Ombudsman, Province of Ontario, Toronto
As the person responsible for investigating complaints about Ontario government services, you would expect André Marin to have his hands full, and he does. Last year, Marin started looking into the issue of closed-door meetings in Ontario municipalities. He also launched an investigation into the lack of services for adults suffering from autism, and criticized the Ontario Provincial Police for failing to take action on post-traumatic stress disorder. Recently he’s been pushing to have his office granted oversight powers over the embattled air ambulance service ORNGE, and he has begun to address allegations of excessive use of force by correctional officers. In his annual report, he called the province to the mat for not following up on promised changes in a variety of sectors. Many Ontarians have come to see Marin as an honest and tenacious advocate who has been effective in pushing the boundaries to ensure they are treated fairly and their tax dollars are not wasted.
What voters had to say: “Holding those in power responsible and accountable, Marin is the voice of reason, logic, justice and of our society’s most marginalized citizens. Courageous, tenacious, principled, innovative.”
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Top 5 in Corporate-Commercial Law
Page 3: Top 5 Changemakers
Page 4: Top 5 in Criminal Law/Human Rights
Page 6: Top 5 In-House Counsel
One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, Gail J. Cohen is the former editor in chief of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, who was responsible for the editorial direction of all the publications in the group, which also includes Candian Lawyer InHouse, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, and the daily Legal Feeds blog. Gail has covered the legal profession in Canada as a reporter and editor since 1997, which had put her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms. Canadian Lawyer and its editorial team have been the recipients of many journalism awards and their publications are highly respected throughout the legal profession in Canada and abroad.