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SENATORS’ STATEMENTS — The Honourable Mary T. Moreau

Congratulations on Appointment

November 7, 2023

I rise today to pay tribute to the new justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Mary Moreau, former chief justice of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta. She is an outstanding jurist.

I am speaking French in her honour, in recognition of the work she has done all her life to stand up for the rights of Franco‑Albertans.

Ms. Moreau was born into a bilingual family. Her father, Joseph Paul Moreau, was a strong advocate of French-language education. A French school in Edmonton bears his name today. Justice Moreau’s mother was anglophone, but she embraced her husband’s idea that their eight children should be educated in French.

As a young lawyer, Mary Moreau won a landmark case arguing that Albertans had the right to be tried in French. She argued that the rights of francophones in what was then the Northwest Territories were not abolished when Alberta joined Confederation.

In another prominent case, she won the right for Franco‑Albertans to be educated in French-language schools, and not just in immersion programs.

In addition to constitutional law, she also practised criminal law, family law and business law, in both French and English, while also raising her four children. Her husband told this revealing story about his wife, during her early days as a judge, when she was only 38 years old:

Mary was conducting her first criminal jury trial, at which time she was approximately nine and a half months pregnant with our daughter. The jury was all male, took nine minutes to acquit her client, and then quickly returned to the courtroom, urging Mary to go directly to the hospital.

Later, she argued a case before the Supreme Court while very pregnant. The judges begged her to sit down while making her arguments, but she declined.

Now, at last, she will take her place alongside her colleagues at the Supreme Court.

Congratulations, Madam Justice. We here in Edmonton are very proud of you. Thank you.

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