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Constance Glube

Jun 1, 2017 | CIJA Publications, Media

Constance Glube, daughter of Pearl and Sam Lepofsky, was born in Ottawa on Nov. 23, 1931. After graduating from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1952, she decided to become a lawyer like her father and went on to law school at Dalhousie University. Glube was one of only two women in the graduating class of 1955, and she received several academic awards upon her graduation.

Having studied at Montreal’s McGill University — a school notorious for imposing strict quotas on Jewish students during that era, Constance was no stranger to social injustice, which served as important context for the steadfast commitment to justice and equality she would later exhibit.

Photo credit: Hantsheroes – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44120797

Constance went on to become the twenty-first Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and the first female Chief Justice of the province. A game changer for women and minorities, Glube revitalized the role of women not only in Nova Scotia’s legal system, but in the Canadian judiciary. As the first woman to be appointed chief justice of a Canadian court, Glube had a long record of leading the way for others. She served as a respected jurist who left a permanent mark on the broader Canadian justice system and as a woman who inspired younger generations of women to aim high and aspire for positions of power.

Justice Glube is especially remembered for her fairness – what the Courts of Nova Scotia website describes as her “steadfast dedication to overcoming the gender, ethnic, and religious barriers of her era.” Many of her fellow justices recall her agonizing over the tough case decisions, especially in custody cases and sentencing. Her story demonstrates a lifelong commitment to the principle of equal opportunity and justice in her local community of Halifax, and in the broader Canadian legal sphere.

Glube’s accomplishments and her spirit of fairness and commitment to justice garnered many awards and recognitions. In 1997, Glube received the prestigious Frances Fish Women Lawyers Achievement Award, named in honour of the first female graduate of Dalhousie and the first woman to practice law in Nova Scotia, back in 1918. in 2006, Glube was made a member of the Order of Canada, for her “integrity, fairness and sound judgment,” in addition to making the courts “more efficient and accessible.”

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