Column

Gratitude in Retirement

Next month I will be 88. Which has caused me to reflect on my good fortune. That includes my mother and father and their families, my wife, and my children and grandchildren. Adam Smith (1723-1790) said “What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in good health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience”. Perhaps family.

My age causes me to reflect on the medical advances made during my lifetime. I understand that life expectancy has doubled since 1867. When my father was born in 1900, life expectancy was circa 50.

I am in retirement due to the closing last November of the print operations of Maritime Law Book which started in 1968. The digital version of all the cases that MLB published (over 350,000 cases over 50 years) was sold and is now available from an Ottawa firm, namely, Compass by Maritime Law Book.

My good fortune started when I was born in Canada and had access to then existing schools and universities. My tuition at McGill in 1952 and the University of Toronto law school in 1955 was less that $300 per year. While at university I drove a bus in the summer months to easily pay my tuition.

My good fortune includes our Canadian constitution and the adoption of the rule of law. Our federal system has contributed to the stability of our provincial and local governments. I support the restrictions our governments have placed on donations to political parties. Some provinces and the federal government have prohibited corporations and unions from making donations to political parties.

In 1982 some fundamental values were protected for the first time in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Also we value universal suffrage. Women voted for the first time in a federal election in 1918. Ontario granted women the right to vote in 1917. In 1940 in Quebec women voted in a provincial election for the first time.Women now occupy half of the federal cabinet positions. Our federal senate is in the midst of some hopeful reforms.

Given the choice of a place to be born again, I would choose Canada.

Comments

  1. Colin Lachance

    Eric,
    As the guy running that Ottawa firm that has the honour of keeping the Maritime Law Book collection alive and available as part of a larger and growing collection of law, I share your view that life in Canada is pretty darn good and worthy of gratitude.

    I aspire to the long and successful career you had and to eventual retirement to the company of a close family. In the meantime, I can work at building on what you and others created at Maritime Law Book and I hope you’ll be pleased to learn that I’m being joined in this effort by international legal information pioneers vLex and Justia.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/compass-vlex-justia-bring-world-legal-information-canada-lachance

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