Antonio Lamer, 1933 — 2007

He was appointed to the bench 20 years ago and helped the Canadian charter come to be

By Melissa Kluger

On Monday November 26th, 2007

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Antonio LamerFormer Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Lamer died on Saturday of cardiac illness. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1980, Lamer spent 20 years on the bench. Much of that time was spent breathing life into the newly minted Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Lamer was known for his willingness to strike down legislation and reform controversial areas of law. In the early 1990s this made him a lightning rod for the conservative backlash against the Charter.

Last night, Stephen Harper issued a statement describing Lamer as a judge who had “tackled the great challenges of law reform without fear or hesitation.”

“His rulings expanded the right to counsel, the law of search and seizure and the scope of judicial review,” said Harper. “His most important decisions… even shifted the fundamental balance of judicial and legislative power in Canada.”