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A Passion for Justice

A Passion for Justice

This richly detailed biography illustrates how a determined Canadian seeking justice created an enduring legacy. Through vigorous battles, Jim McRuer's passion for justice was translated into laws that daily touch and protect the lives of millions today.

James Chalmers McRuer was not easy to get along with or even much liked by many lawyers who dubbed him 'Vinegar Jim.' Yet countless others saw him as heroic, inspirational, a man above and apart from his times.

His resolute focus on justice changed the lives of married women with no property rights, children without legal protection, aboriginals caught in the whipsaw of traditional hunting practices and imposed game laws, and prisoners locked away and forgotten. Environmental degradation and those causing it, murderers, stock fraud artists and Cold War spies all came within the ambit of J. C. McRuer's sharp legal mind and passion for justice. Upon turning 75, McRuer embarked on his most important work of all, becoming Canada's greatest law reformer and remaining active into his 90s.

"A major, highly readable contribution to Canadian legal history."
- Michael Bliss
"This book ruined my sleep. I stayed up virtually all night and spent countless hours on planes doing nothing but reading A Passion for Justice."
- Laird Hunter, Q.C.


Author J. Patrick Boyer's experience as journalist, lawyer, university professor, parliamentarian and chair of public policy organizations enables help him to capture McRuer's engagement in similar fields with realistic balance.

Boyer, who has written many books on law and public policy, was designated a Queen's Council "in recognition of his public contributions through the authorship of legal texts on Canada's electoral laws," a body of work comprising some nine law books and several dozen articles.