Roger writing the LAWmag

A Supreme Court of Canada With a View

Even if you hate lawyers (only 2% of the population), the sight of the Supreme Court of Canada building under siege by construction equipment is just plain wrong.

It has been a while (two years) since the lovely, large front lawn has been ripped up and fenced in with atrocious construction sheds and large construction equipment. I know - I endured the eyesore last May and here I am, circa March 26, 2013, and nothing has changed.

Former Canadian prime minister Louis St. Laurent, perched on his chair in the front lawn, is propped up right at the edge of the fenced-off area and he does not look too happy (picture below).  I never met Mr. St. Laurent (he died in 1957) but his reputation was that of a soft, caring, gentle man. But enduring the long winters in Ottawa, especially outside, stuck looking at yellow hats and diggers, dressed only in a stone legal robe, would hardly put a smile on any judicial face.

Louis St. Laurent statute on Supreme Court lawnI'm just a lawyer and I do know a few ring-wearing engineers but I can't help but think: "How many [redacted] does it take to screw in a light bulb?".

The view of the Supreme Court of Canada lawn from the top of front stairs.And yet there it is in big black letters on a white and red PWC board: project started in "2011" and projected to end in "2014".

In the meantime, if this matters to anyone because it matters to me, one of my favourite national heritage sites looks like my 14-year old's bedroom.

But then Public Works Canada is busy here what with the Justice Canada building right next door empty, gutted and wrapped up in huge, very attractive construction tarps. The not-that-distant West Block sports an even worse eyesore: the facade facing West is covered with huge scaffolding, and huge tarps.

So the Supreme Court building may be the subject of resource allocation at the weekly PWGSC meetings. From the looks of things, the Supreme Court building is not high on the pecking order.

But, apparently, Canadians, lawyers and legal historians included, from Pictou to Victoria can take solace in the promises that by 2014, our grand ol' law building will be back to  past glory. In the meantime, for lawyers that care about their heritage, we're suggesting a detour via Queen Street.

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