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A Passion for Justice Acclaim
"A major, highly readable contribution to Canadian legal history."
Michael Bliss, Toronto, historian and author
""A fascinating account of one of the greatest and oddest judges in Canadian legal history, Patrick Boyer's vast research has resulted in an important book."
June Callwood, author and social reformer
"A powerful, straightforward, superb biography on one of the more influential individuals in the history of Canadian law. Boyer vividly presents, in a highly readable fashion, a fascinating record of an extremely complex Canadian personality. Thanks to Patrick Boyer, we can all appreciate and understand the human dimension, the flaws of character, and the greatness of a very important, common sense jurist. I recommend this book to everyone interested in Canadian history, law, or letters."
Edward L. Greenspan, Q.C., Toronto
"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."
W. Laird Hunter, Q.C., Edmonton
"In this engaging study of an outstanding jurist, Patrick Boyer demonstrates that McRuer's legacy derived as much from his famous inquiry into civil rights and his pioneering work as a law reformer as from his accomplishments on the bench."
Hon. R. Roy McMurtry, Q.C., former Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Attorney General of Ontario, and Chief Justice of Ontario
"Boyer finally explains what turns someone whom the Financial Post once described as 'a decent competent, quiet Toronto lawyer who made an excellent Sunday school teacher,' into a jurist of uncommon distinction with a lasting influence on the legal system of his country. "Patrick Boyer's masterly biography of James McRuer is far more than a recital of the numerous positions held by McRuer or a listing of his considerable accomplishments. The author investigates the sources of McRuer's views of the law, society and life: family origins, class, relation to the land, ardent political opinions and, in particular, McRuer's deep religious convictions. He also examines how these origins combined with the evolving influences in McRuer's life in forming the lawyer, the judge, and eventually the law reformer. The most significant motivation in McRuer's career is described as his outrage at injustice. This sentiment led him to conceive of the law not only as a set of rules for civil society, but as an expression of personal and collective ethics. "Patrick Boyer's work is thoroughly researched and informative. While the author is an obvious admirer of McRuer, his treatment of McRuer is entirely balanced." "
Gregory Tardi, legislative counsel, Ottawa
"Boyer has done a top-flight job! He's dedicated thousands of hours to this 'labour of love' and and it shows. Patrick even read through McRuer's personal books of account to obtain insights from what he spent his money on. The work from original documents is outstanding, and the interviews Patrick conducted give amazing depth to this story. His gift of many hours of pleasurable reading is a significant contribution to Canadian legal history. "I only knew Chief Justice McRuer through a small group seminar in my third year of law school but I found him a fascinating individual. A Passion for Justice documents his intriguing life, complete with many contradictions. Indeed, Patrick has explained the rationale for many of those contradictions." "
Hon. Justice Randall Scott Echlin, Superior Court of -Justice (Ontario)
"Patrick Boyer spent 17 years researching and writing a biography that displays deep admiration for its subject . an exhaustively researched account of McRuer's long and immensely productive life. His was the life of an idealistic realist-dedicated to fighting injustice, to protecting individual rights and to defending the best of our political and legal traditions, while still welcoming reform. "
Peter Calamai, Ottawa journalist
"Boyer's opus is hardly a dry, historical tome. Far from that, it is a highly readable account of an industrious man who believed that law should be used to improve the lot of ordinary human beings. Of particular interest is Boyer's description of Canada's seven penitentiaries, the scene of 16 full-scale riots between 1932 and 1937. Boyer has done a remarkable job in making McRuer more understandable, if not necessarily more likeable. "
Harold Levy, Toronto Star courts and law writer
"This great piece of Canadiana traces the life and delineates the complex character of a man who was born and raised on a farm near Ayr, Ontario in the latter part of the 19th century and who died in Toronto in 1985-a veteran of the First World War, active in the work of his church and his political party, a prison reformer, busy counsel, president of the Canadian Bar Association, justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, chief justice of High Court for Ontario, sole commissioner of the Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights, first Chair of the Ontario Law Reform Commission-a true public servant whose work throughout, as the title indicates, was informed a passion for justice. "
Hon. John W. Morden, Counsel to the Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights, 1964–71
"McRuer was a splendid lawyer and also a great judge, often a royal commissioner, and a law reformer across the board, from the constitution to monopoly-busting to crime and the police. Patrick Boyer as McRuer's biographer had so much on his plate: more than half a century of accomplishments by a marvel of brainpower, energy and dedication. The image of a shy, austere, puritanical, busy, incisive, polymath does break through the long train of deeds. McRuer was so capable that time and again Tory politicians gave him big jobs though he was a keen, open Liberal. "It's unlikely that any other Canadian lawyer has ever done so much so well and so often for public good. So Boyer had much to chop and compress. One gets almost a synopsis of legal issues from the 1920s to the 1980s . revealing of our courts, our judges, and the law a fascinating and very political panorama. "
Douglas Fisher, Ottawa, Parliamentary Press Gallery
"Whatever the place of that 'passion for justice' in the makeup of this complex, contradictory, and perhaps unknowable man, McRuer undoubtedly reflected and influenced the nature and practice of law in his day. He is well served by this widely researched and fluently argued study. "
Christopher English, St. John’s, Newfoundland, historian
"A Passion for Justice, which is about Canada's greatest law reformer, James Chalmers McRuer, has surprising connections to the United States, from fraud prosecutions and Prohibition era justice to McCarthy era Cold War espionage and the United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco. "With an engaging grasp of both legal issues and political pressures, author Patrick Boyer, himself a lawyer and former Member of Parliament in Canada, helps Americans see that despite differences in the judicial and political systems of our two countries, we share a deeper connection across issues of law reform, women's rights, protection of the environment, the interests of children under the law, stock frauds, Cold War investigations, grisly murders and far-reaching civil rights issues. "I cannot imagine how Boyer amassed so many fascinating details." "
Judge Joan Zeldon, Washington, D.C.
"Donald Creighton with his splendid two-volume study of John A. Macdonald clearly established that biography can enrich history. Patrick Boyer has now revealed that biography can enliven the study of law. Lawyers and law students owe a great debt of gratitude to Boyer for painstakingly producing this outstanding portrait of a great jurist and law reformer. "
Gordon Bale, Emeritus Professor of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston