In memoriam: The Honourable Charles D. Gonthier, C.C., Q.C.

In memoriam

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of the Hon. Charles Doherty Gonthier, C.C., Q.C., on July 17, 2009, following a valiant fight with cancer. He had served as Communications Security Establishment Commissioner since his appointment on August 1, 2006.

Born in Montréal, Québec on August 1, 1928, Mr. Gonthier studied at Collège Stanislas in Montréal (baccalauréat Paris) and held a B.C.L. from McGill University. He was called to the Québec Bar in 1952, and practiced law in Montreal with Hackett, Mulvena & Laverty, 1952-57; and with Hugessen, Macklair, Chisholm, Smith and Davis, later known as Laing, Weldon, Courtois, Clarkson, Parsons, Gonthier & Tétrault, 1957-74, until his appointment to the Québec Superior Court. In 1988, Mr. Gonthier was appointed to the Québec Court of Appeal and in 1989 to the Supreme Court of Canada, where he served until his retirement in 2003.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Gonthier was active in the Bar, notably as president of the Junior Bar Association of Montréal and president of the Junior Bar Section of the Canadian Bar Association. He also played an active role in many judiciary bodies, such as President of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, President of the Canadian Judges' Conference and founding representative for the Supreme Court of Canada to l'Association des cours constitutionnelles ayant en partage l'usage du français and l'Association des hautes juridictions de cassation des pays ayant en partage l'usage du français.

In recent years, Mr. Gonthier had a special interest in Environmental and Sustainable Development Law and participated in a number of international conferences. He was also the recipient of several honorary degrees and titles.

Mr. Gonthier was counsel at McCarthy Tétrault in Montréal. He was also Chair of the Board of Governors of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at the Law Faculty of McGill University, where he was the Wainwright Senior Research Fellow. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada on May 3, 2007, and was awarded La Médaille du Barreau du Québec on May 30, 2009.

The Commissioner's last Annual Report was tabled on July 22, 2009 by the Minister of National Defence.

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