The Advocates’ Society’s annual End of Term dinner, held last night in Toronto, marked the first time that journalists had been invited — and fittingly, perhaps, as the guest of honour was new Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner, who has prioritized connecting with the public and making the law more accessible to Canadians.
The Advocates’ Society incoming president Brian Gover, of Stockwoods LLP in Toronto, welcomed Chief Justice Wagner, who was interviewed in an informal Q&A by Justice Michal Fairburn of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Fairburn’s questions to him ran the gamut from his Montreal childhood to his favourite sports to the recognition of Canada’s judicial system around the world.
Canadians take for granted democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression, Wagner said. However, he added, “We should not take it for granted” but must work to maintain it. An estimated 45 per cent of Canadians take their news from social media, he said, but “we need traditional media” as well for information. And, he noted that the Supreme Court “must find ways to communicate directly with the public.”