Catherine Clark spoke to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin about life at the Supreme Court of Canada.
She is the longest serving chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court and possibly its most ardent defender. The eldest of five children born to Ernest Geitz and Eleanora Kruschell, Beverley McLachlin grew up on the family ranch just outside of Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta and attended the University of Alberta, where she earned a B.A. in philosophy before turning her attention to studies in law.
She was called to the bar in 1969 in Alberta and practiced law in Edmonton, Fort St John and Vancouver. She taught at UBC’s Faculty of Law before being appointed to the Vancouver County Court in 1981. She became the first woman appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal and, later, in 1988, she became the first woman appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court. In 1989, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appointed her to the Supreme Court.
Following the resignation of Antonio Lamer in 1999, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien elevated her to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Since her appointment, she has led efforts to help Canadians better understand the workings of the Court and dispel some of the myths surrounding the institution all while encouraging discussion among Canadians about the role of the law.
Born into political life in Ottawa, Catherine Clark is no stranger to being in the public eye. As founding host of CPAC’s popular weekly television show Beyond Politics, Catherine interviews Members of Parliament, Premiers and people of influence to reveal the personal, human side of public life. Catherine is also a sought-after public speaker and emcee, and writes the “Giving Back” column for Ottawa at Home Magazine, profiling people who are improving the lives of their fellow citizens.