2015 Bertha Wilson Honour Society

The Bertha Wilson Honour Society was established in 2012 in tribute to The Honourable Madam Justice Bertha Wilson, who graduated from the law school in 1957. She was the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the first female Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The society recognizes our extraordinary alumni and showcases their geographic reach and contributions to law and society.

 

2015 Inductees

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Mary Hetherington (’63)
Calgary

Career highlights:

  • One of only two women to graduate from Dalhousie Law School in 1963.
  • First female lawyer to open a practice in a downtown Calgary office.
  • In 1985, the first woman to be appointed to the Court of Appeal of Alberta and to the Courts of Appeal of the Northwest Territories and, later, Nunavut.
  • Adjudicator for the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat.
  • Active in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group and Alberta’s Criminal Injuries Review Board.
  • Deputy Judge in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Special interests:

  • Volunteered with the Elizabeth Fry Society, Discovery House, Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society, the Calgary Foundation’s Seniors Forever Fund and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

Noted for:

  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary and a Member of the Order of Canada.

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Justice Janet McMurtry (’85)
Regina

Career highlights:

  • Began practicing law in 1985 and was in private practice until 1994, when she was appointed to the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan, where she served for 11 years.
  • During that time, appointed Administrative Judge for Regina and Southern Saskatchewan and Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court.
  • In 2005, appointed Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan, where she has served for the last 10 years.

Special interests:

  • Director and fundraising chair of Big Sisters in Saskatoon and founded the Regina branch of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).
  • Presided over the Saskatchewan Provincial Court Judges Association as well as co-chaired its Education Committee.
  • Mentors law clerks and seconded articling students at the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench and a frequent lecturer at Canadian Bar Association meetings.

Noted for:

  • A respected leader among her peers, her expertise is nationally recognized.

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Jim Prentice, Q.C. (’80)
Calgary

Career highlights:

  • In 1980, began working as an entrepreneur and lawyer in Alberta in the area of environmental actions and developments.
  • Was law commissioner with the Indian Claims Commission of Canada with land and property rights.
  • Served as co-chair of the Indian Claims Commission of Canada.
  • Was minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, minister of Industry and minister of the Environment.
  • Served as vice-chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Special interests:

  • Was governor and vice-chair of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and governor of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Noted for:

  • Elected Alberta’s 16th premier.
  • Member of the board of directors of Bell Canada and a Canadian member of the Trilateral Commission.

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Stewart McInnes, Q.C. (’61)
Halifax

Career highlights:

  • Practiced at McInnes Cooper in Halifax for over 38 years.
  • Was president of the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Bar Association, a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Bar Council and a director of the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia.

Special interests:

  • Fundraised for the Brunswick Street Mission and the ALTA Gymnastics Club.
  • Was chair of the Halifax United Way, the Dalplex Campaign and the Canadian Mental Health Campaign Nova Scotia.
  • Was president of the School for the Blind, the Hearing and Speech Clinic, the Halifax Club and the North British Society.
  • Served on Dalhousie University’s board of governors and board of directors, the Grace Maternity Hospital, the Halifax Foundation, the Canada Summer Games, the CNIB and the World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Noted for:

  • Member of Parliament for Halifax and member of the federal cabinet from 1984 to 1988.

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Mary Lynn Kane, Q.C. (’87)
Charlottetown

Career highlights:

  • Managing partner of Cox & Palmer in Charlottetown and a former chair of the firm’s regional board of directors.
  • Appeared at all levels of courts in P.E.I., and before and on behalf of administrative boards and tribunals.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading legal practitioner in medical negligence.
  • Course instructor in Supreme Court Practice for the Law Society of PEI’s bar admission course.

Special interests:

  • Member of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and past deputy chair of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Capital Campaign.
  • Member of 100 Women Who Care, which supports local charities with the help of local women.
  • Former Deputy Chair of the Elizabeth Hospital Campaign.

Noted for:

  • Panel member and Liberal spokesperson on CBC Radio Island Morning talk show.

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Ronald J. MacDonald, Q.C. (’82)
Halifax

Career highlights:

  • Began his career with Burchell MacAdam, Hayman & Merrick in 1991.
  • Joined the Public Prosecution Service of Nova Scotia.
  • Appointed to the Department of Justice Criminal Law Policy Advisory.
  • Was president of Federation of Law Societies of Canada and sat on the Continuing Legal Education Committee and Planning Committee.
  • Worked for the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and its committees for nearly 20 years; was president in 2004–05.
  • Currently director of the Serious Incident Response Team.

Special interests:

  • Volunteered for many community groups, including the Antigonish Sexual Assault Response Team, the Antigonish Interagency Committee on Family and Sexual Violence and the Canadian Red Cross.
  • Coaches varsity volleyball and basketball, as well as club softball and basketball.

Noted for:

  • Advocating for the interests of vulnerable groups such as the LGBTQ community in Nova Scotia.

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Judge Corrine Sparks (’79, LLM ’01)
Halifax

Career highlights:

  • In 1987, became the first female African Canadian to be appointed to the judiciary and the first African Nova Scotian to serve on the bench.
  • Supports judicial education and developed programs to address gender and racial discrimination in the courts.

Special interests:

  • Member of various boards of directors, including the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.
  • Served on the CBA Gender Equality Task Force and the university Review Committee of the Indigenous Blacks and M’ikmaq Initiative at the Law School.

Noted for:

  • Has received many awards, including from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Elizabeth Fry Society and the African Canadian Achievement Awards.
  • In 2007, the Dalhousie Black Law Students’ Association established the Judge Corinne Sparks Award to honour her contributions to the legal community.

To make a nomination for 2017

visit: www.dal.ca/faculty/law/alumni/alumni-awards

call: Karen Kavanaugh at 902-494-3744

or email: lawalum@dal.ca

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