Bertha Wilson's appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1982 capped off a career of firsts. Wilson had been the first woman lawyer and partner at a prominent Toronto law firm and the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Her career and passing in 2007 provoked reflection on her contributions to Canadian society and raised the question, what difference do women judges make? Justice Bertha Wilson examines Wilson's career through three distinct frames – foundations, controversy, and reflections – and a wide range of feminist perspectives. Taken together, these provocative essays paint an intriguing portrait of a complex, controversial woman who made a deep impression on the Canadian legal landscape.
Kim Brooks is an associate professor and the H. Heward Stikeman Chair in the Law of Taxation in the Faculty of Law at McGill University.
Contributors: Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey, Beverley Baines, Marie-Claire Belleau, Janine Benedet, Susan B. Boyd, Melina Buckley, Rosemary Cairns Way, Gillian Calder, T. Brettel Dawson, Angela Fernandez, Isabel Grant, Rebecca Johnson, Larissa Katz, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, Moira L. McConnell, Mary Jane Mossman, Shannon O’Byrne, Debra Parkes, Janis Sarra, Beatrice Tice, Lorna Turnbull, and Christina Vinters
The book is an excellent legacy of Madame Justice Bertha Wilson’s life as a lawyer, jurist, role model, and task force chair. Hers was a life that made a difference.
Justice Bertha Wilson is an original contribution ... this collection of essays reminds us that all women constitute themselves within conditions of overt and more ambient gender discrimination. Through the lens of one “extraordinary” woman’s life, this collection contributes to feminist attempts to develop theories that account for women’s capacity for agency, their negotiations, concessions, and transgressions of normative femininity – in short, the relative and shifting constraints and opportunities generated through our interactions with gendered social structures.