Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Catherine Dauvergne]

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Immigration, Chief Justice, Canada


Chief Justice McLachlin’s work in the area of immigration law is emblematic of her leadership style. When something needed doing, she stepped up. She led the Court by sheer hard work and clearheaded reasoning. During her term as Chief Justice she took on a disproportionate workload in the immigration law area, despite a much smaller role in this area prior to becoming Chief. Why would she have made this choice? It is impossible for me to know for certain. But it is undeniably the case that during her time at the helm of the Court, immigration matters were increasingly hotly contested, legally and politically, across all Western liberal states. She led in a time when xenophobia was ascendant and intermingled deeply with terrorism fears that go to the heart of our society and our democracy. This meant that the immigration matters that came before her Court, despite the enormous restrictions that made them few in number, all go in some way to the heart of our identity as a nation and our core understandings of liberty, equality, and justice. In this setting, leadership matters immensely. Chief Justice McLachlin responded accordingly.



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