Pitblado Lectures: Dedicated to furthering legal education in Manitoba
Since 1960, the Manitoba legal profession has had the benefit of the annual Isaac Pitblado Lectures, established in honour of the late distinguished Manitoba lawyer, Isaac Pitblado. This remarkable man actively practiced law for 74 years. This year’s lectures proved to be a testament to the strong relationship between the Manitoba Bar Association (MBA), the Law Society, and Manitoba’s Law School.
This year’s organizing committee co-chairs were Dr. Jonathan Black-Branch, Dean of Law, and The Honourable Madame Justice Lore Mirwaldt of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, with whom the committee worked to present an engaging and important program highlighting issues relevant to Manitoba’s practicing legal community.
“The relationship we have with the Law Society and the Manitoba Bar Association is very important, since the students we train become major contributors to the profession and to the community at large,” said Black-Branch. “Collaborating to present professional and educational programs such as this lecture series is integral to providing Manitobans with strong, forward-thinking legal practitioners.”
This year’s Keynote speaker was Linden MacIntyre, award winning author and investigative journalist formerly of the CBC’s The Fifth Estate. Other distinguished speakers included Dr. Trevor C.W. Farrow, Professor and Associate Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and Jayne Mallin, Vice President of the South-West Region of Legal Aid Ontario. The Big Ideas panel discussion was led by special guests Victoria Espey, Chair of The Hub Table in Portage La Prairie, Michael Redhead Champagne, Founder of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, and James Favel, Executive Director of the Bear Clan Patrol.
Local presenters bringing different perspectives on what is currently happening in Manitoba’s legal market included Felix Walker, a member of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and CEO of Family and Community Wellness Centre; The Honourable Mr. Justice Glenn Joyal, Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, and Professor D. Trevor Anderson, Q.C., Senior Scholar at Robson Hall.
“I think the day was immensely enriching”, said Dr. Bruce Curran, who was on the organizing Committee and is the Associate Dean (Academic) at Robson Hall. “This was a unique opportunity to disengage from the hustle and bustle of one’s daily duties and reflect upon and learn about the current state of our justice system at a macroscopic level. Throughout the day, the roles that various stakeholders currently play in the delivery of justice were examined, and transformations to those roles were explored by those seeking to improve the system. Presenters included lawyers, community organizers and leaders, scholars, judges, and journalists. Everyone walked away with ample food for thought.”
An important part of the Pitblado Lectures was the presentation of the Richard J. Scott Award to Ms. Karen Dyck, Executive Director of the Manitoba Law Foundation, former founding Executive Director of the Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg, Inc., and a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Law. The award, created in 2013 to honour retired Chief Justice Scott, is awarded annually to a person who promotes the rule of law through advocacy, writing or education. Dyck was recognized for her unwavering commitment to serving the public interest through her work and volunteer activities to advance fairness and equality in the law, access to justice and to supporting a responsible legal profession.