On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada posted a photo to its Twitter page showing the high court judges surrounding Justice Clément Gascon leaving the Supreme Court’s courtroom for the last time, prior to his retirement from the bench effective September 15. It also published a webcast of Justice Gascon’s farewell to the court that day.
One month earlier Chief Justice Richard Wagner had announced that Justice Gascon, aged 59, would be taking early retirement “for personal and family reasons.” On the afternoon of May 8, the judge disappeared briefly, prompting a police search. On Tuesday Justice Gascon issued a statement through the court revealing his 20-year struggle with depression and anxiety disorders, and citing recent concurring and extraordinary events for his disappearance; he confirmed that he was “in good health, and … fully capable of performing my duties as a judge.”
The current situation — and the court’s unified front with Justice Gascon — brings to mind another Supreme Court justice, Gerald Le Dain, who took early retirement after chief justice Brian Dickson refused a request from Le Dain’s wife for a leave of absence for her husband, citing Le Dain’s mental strain and depression.