Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stephen J. Toope*

I was greatly saddened by the news, earlier this year, of the passing of Ronald St. John Macdonald. For those of us who study or practise international law, Ron was a huge influence, one of the principal exponents of the field in this country, and who embodied the values of internationalism in everything he said and did. He was a scholar and a jurist par excellence, bringing his learning to the application of law, and leavening his scholarship with the wisdom and experience gained from his role over many years as a legal expert consulted by governments around the world.

As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our fair-mindedness, our spirit of tolerance, and our desire to see justice done: values which have contributed significantly to our reputation as peace makers and peace keepers around the world. That reputation was aided enormously by the work of Ron Macdonald, who not only helped to develop the laws around universal protection of human rights — he acted upon them, in his capacity as a judge on the European Court of Human Rights, as Canadian representative to the United Nations, and as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

His achievements as a legal scholar were equally strongly grounded in his commitment to human rights, and through his many academic appointments in Canada and around the world he helped to develop a consciousness of the responsibility we all share to promote the values of a civil and humane society. At home Ron helped to found the Canadian Council on International Law, the body which has perhaps done more than any other to foster Canadian support for global collaboration in the cause of universal equity.

At the University of British Columbia we have made it our explicit goal to produce graduates who are “global citizens”. Judge Ronald St. John Macdonald was truly a global citizen, a man whose career was founded upon the principle propounded two thousand years ago by Seneca the Elder, that “It is a denial of justice not to stretch out a helping hand to the fallen; that is the common right of humanity”.

*President and Vice-Chancellor
The University of British Columbia

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Honourable Gerald La Forest and Dr. Mairi Macdonald, November 30, 2006

Colleen Swords*

With Ronald St. John Macdonald's passing, the international law community in Canada lost a very special member. He was an inspiration to all, not least those of us who work in government and benefited from his gentle prodding, his skilful challenges to our thinking and his ability to both inspire and energize. A call from him was always welcome. I will miss those calls.

*Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security and Political Director
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Valerie Hughes*

Tribute on behalf of the Canadian Council on International Law read by Professor Hugh Kindred at the celebration of Professor Macdonald's life held at Dalhousie University on November 30, 2006

The Canadian Council on International Law has lost more than just a great friend and supporter. We have lost our creator and founding President. Thirty-five years ago, in June 1972, Professor Macdonald, together with a small group of Canadian international law academics, approved a formal motion to establish the Canadian Council on International Law, now usually referred to as the CCIL. Professor Macdonald was elected the Council's first President. The specific objectives of the Council, as described in its Charter, include to bring together scholars of international law and organization engaged in teaching or research at Canadian universities, to encourage and conduct studies in international law with a view to its progressive development and codification, to contribute to the continuing development of a world community through the creative use of modern international law, and to foster the study of the legal aspects of Canada's international problems and to advocate their solution in accordance with existing or developing principles of international law. The striking similarity between the objectives of the Canadian Council on International Law and the special interests held dear by Professor Macdonald will not be lost on any of you. The Council is now several hundred members strong and is preparing to celebrate its 35th anniversary at a conference in Ottawa next October. At the most recent annual Conference of the CCIL, held last month in Ottawa shortly after Professor Macdonald passed away, we had an opportunity to honour our Founding President at a special session dedicated to him. Participants spoke about Professor Macdonald's impressive accomplishments and his endless energy and enthusiasm for international law. What was especially telling, however, were the stories of how Professor Macdonald had mentored and assisted so many, both in their studies and in their careers in international law. It seems the CCIL was only one of Professor Macdonald's many creations. For he seems to have fostered an entire generation of international lawyers in Canada and abroad.

We extend our sympathies to Professor Macdonald's family.

*President, Canadian Council on International Law