Journal

Truth Be Told: The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin’s Revelatory New Memoir

 

An invitation into Beverley McLachlin’s legal and personal life

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 2000 to 2017. She is both the first woman in Canada to hold this position and the longest serving Chief Justice of Canada. In 2019, she became a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest honour within the Order. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, was an instant national bestseller.

Now, McLachlin presents her memoir: Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law. Published on September 24, 2019 by Simon & Schuster, the book is already a #1 Amazon bestseller. 

McLachlin speaks candidly about the book and her career in a new interview with Global TV’s The Morning Show. When asked why she chose to write a memoir, she says:

“People whom I respected kept telling me that I had a unique story. It was a story of hope, and it was a story that might help other young people—particularly young women who might otherwise give up on pursuing their dreams. It might encourage them, and it might do some good.”

The interview also touches on the decisions McLachlin was most proud to see enacted as Chief Justice, her views on the future of the justice system, and her role model since childhood, the Queen: “I made my parents buy the [newspaper] and I cut out all the pictures and became a scholar of Queen Elizabeth II. It was this idea of a young woman who is actually doing something very serious. [Meeting her years later] was pretty surreal [...] we had a terrific conversation.”   

When speaking about the justice system overall, McLachlin says: “It’s not perfect [...] but we do have one of the best justice systems in the world. I think we need to keep working, especially with all the changes going on in our fast-moving digital world. We need to make sure the justice system stays relevant.” 

Watch the full interview below:

 
 
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From the publisher:

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin offers an intimate and revealing look at her life, from her childhood in the Alberta foothills to her career on the Supreme Court, where she helped to shape the social and moral fabric of the country.

As a young girl, Beverley McLachlin’s world was often full of wonder—at the expansive prairie vistas around her, at the stories she discovered in the books at her local library, and at the diverse people who passed through her parents’ door. While her family was poor, their lives were rich in the ways that mattered most. Even at a young age, she had an innate sense of justice, which was reinforced by the lessons her parents taught her: Everyone deserves dignity. All people are equal. Those who work hard reap the rewards. Willful, spirited, and unusually intelligent, she discovered in Pincher Creek an extraordinary tapestry of people and perspectives that informed her worldview going forward.

Still, life in the rural Prairies was lonely, and gaining access to education—especially for girls—wasn’t always easy. As a young woman, McLachlin moved to Edmonton to pursue a degree in philosophy. There, she discovered her passion lay not in academia, but in the real world, solving problems directly related to the lives of the people around her. And in the law, she found the tools to do exactly that.

She soon realized, though, that the world was not always willing to accept her. In her early years as an articling student and lawyer, she encountered sexism, exclusion, and old boys’ clubs at every turn. And outside the courtroom, personal loss and tragedies struck close to home. Nonetheless, McLachlin was determined to prove her worth, and her love of the law and the pursuit of justice pulled her through the darkest moments.

McLachlin’s meteoric rise through the courts soon found her serving on the highest court in the country, becoming the first woman to be named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She rapidly distinguished herself as a judge of renown, one who was never afraid to take on morally complex or charged debates. Over the next eighteen years, McLachlin presided over the most prominent cases in the country—involving Charter challenges, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia. One judgment at a time, she laid down a legal legacy that proved that fairness and justice were not luxuries of the powerful but rather obligations owed to each and every one of us.

With warmth, honesty, and deep wisdom, McLachlin invites us into her legal and personal life—into the hopes and doubts, the triumphs and losses on and off the bench. Through it all, her constant faith in justice remained her true north. In an age of division and uncertainty, McLachlin’s memoir is a reminder that justice and the rule of law remain our best hope for a progressive and bright future.

 
 

Further reading:

  • Read an excerpt from Truth Be Told in the Toronto Star 

  • Read more about the book in the Globe and Mail

  • See McLachlin at Calgary’s WordFest on October 2

  • Purchase a copy of the book from Amazon or your local independent bookstore

  • Find out more about the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin and her speaking topics here


Every time a woman is appointed or promoted to an important position, a powerful message is sent: women can do this. I will never forget the mothers and fathers bringing their little girls and sometimes their little boys forward to me… how proudly they would say, looking directly into the eyes of their little daughter, ‘This is our Chief Justice’.
— the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin

Trish Osuch