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Monday October 4, 2004

James Chalmers McRuer, 1985

Ontario lawyer and judge born on a farm near Ayr, Ont., in 1890. He attended the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School before launching his legal career in 1913, interrupting it to serve as a lieutenant in the First World War. A staunch Liberal, he was named to the bench during Mackenzie King's tenure as prime minister and in 1945 became chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario. In 1964, he headed "the most important royal commission . . . in my time." The one-man civil-rights commission was set up to sweep away the dark clouds of a so-called police-state bill, introduced and withdrawn by the Robarts government. He was chairman of the Ontario Law Reform Commission from 1964 to 1966 and vice-chairman from 1967 to 1977.

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