Passions and pastimes: A Conversation with the Chief Justice of Canada

English closed captions available.

MES: Good morning, Chief Justice.

RW: Good morning, Dean Sylvestre.

MES: It’s a pleasure to welcome you, always a pleasure to see you here at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

RW: It’s always a pleasure when I come back here.

MES: This is a bit like home.

RW: Absolutely, absolutely.

MES: What do you enjoy most about being a judge? What do you like most about it?

RW: I will tell you that I come back to the same starting point: curiosity. There is no case that is ordinary. I’m interested in every case. You discover things every day and that feeds me a lot. It feeds me, it makes me happy. The feeling, also, that we can make a contribution. A contribution not necessarily for just the current year. You know, I am a grandfather and very often, when I have to speak out on important issues that affect the life, health and safety of citizens, not only in the short term but also in the long term, I often think of my grandchildren. I feel like I am making a small special contribution to my fellow citizens because it is a privileged position. I feel privileged and we should never forget that.

MES: Now, beyond your work, beyond your very important duties as a judge, what do you feel passionate about?

RW: I have several passions, I’ll tell you, several passions. In sports, obviously – I may not have as much time as I’d like to play my favorite sports, unfortunately. But what people may not know is that I’m a foodie. Again, I may not have enough time to practice my passion, but my wife and I like to cook when we have the time. Because of my time here in Ottawa as a student, often alone in my apartment, I’m a dishwasher as well.

MES: And what are your favorite sports?

RW: Tennis and golf. Those are really passions.

MES: Well, thank you very much! That was really generous; you were very transparent as well, and I really appreciate it. Thank you, on behalf of the Faculty and on behalf of Jurivision, for doing this today.

RW: It was my pleasure. Thank you very much!

What motivates jurists? And how do they spend their spare time?

In this final installment of the Right Honorable Richard Wagner’s interview with Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa, the Chief Justice draws a more intimate portrait of his motivations and passions as the top judge of the Supreme Court of Canada. He notes that it is a real privilege to be able to play a role in building a more just society for future generations.

Despite his busy schedule, the Chief Justice also makes sure to recharge his batteries in his spare time, whether in the kitchen or on the green.

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