Charles Gonthier

Charles Doherty Gonthier
Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
In office
February 1, 1989  August 1, 2003
Nominated by Brian Mulroney
Preceded by Jean Beetz
Succeeded by Morris Fish
Personal details
Born (1928-08-01)August 1, 1928
Montreal, Quebec
Died July 17, 2009(2009-07-17) (aged 80)

Charles Doherty Gonthier, CC (August 1, 1928 July 16, 2009) was a Puisne judge on the Supreme Court of Canada from February 1, 1989 to August 1, 2003. He was replaced by Morris Fish.

Early life

Gonthier was born in Montreal, Quebec to Georges Gonthier, an accountant who was also Auditor General of Canada from 1924 to 1939, and Kathleen Doherty. Charles was the only child the two had together, although Georges Gonthier, who had been widowed, had other children from his first marriage. Kathleen's father, Charles Doherty, was a lawyer and politician who became federal Minister of Justice. Although Charles Doherty died when Gonthier was only 3, the stories his mother recounted about his grandfather were influential upon his later interest in a law career.[1]


He was educated at École Garneau, Ottawa then at Collège Stanislas in Montreal, a Roman Catholic private school and the most elite institution of its kind in Quebec where he obtained a French Baccalaureate. He eventually earned his B.C.L. at McGill University in 1951 (first class honours). Hon. LL.D., McGill University, 1990. D.H.C., Université de Montréal, 2002. Married in 1961 to Mariette Morin, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.(C), F.A.C.O.G.

Called to the Bar of Quebec, 1952. He practised law in Montréal with Hackett, Mulvena & Laverty, 1952–57 and then with Hugessen, Macklaier, Chisholm, Smith & Davis, later known as Laing, Weldon, Courtois, Clarkson, Parsons, Gonthier & Tétrault, 1957-74.

He was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court on October 17, 1974. Later he was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal on May 24, 1988 and finally to the Supreme Court of Canada on February 1, 1989. Gonthier retired on August 1, 2003.

Activities after the Court

In recent years, Gonthier had a special interest in Environmental and Sustainable Development Law and participated in a number of international conferences. He was also the recipient of several honorary degrees and titles.

Gonthier was counsel at McCarthy Tétrault in Montréal. He was also Chair of the Board of Governors of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL). He was a Wainwright Senior Fellow at the Law Faculty of McGill University. He was also the longest serving member of the Board of Advisors for the McGill Law Journal, from 1992 until his death in 2009,[2] and a board member of The McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy as well.[3]

Effective August 1, 2006, Gonthier was appointed Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada's national cryptologic agency.

Awards and accomplishments

See also


  1. Abbate, Gay (July 20, 2009). "Ex-jurist left a complex legacy: Known for his probing questions, he was a strong supporter of the Charter, who provided a voice of restraint", The Globe and Mail, p. S8. Convenience link.
  2. James Cummins (2013). The Journal: 60 years of people, prose, and publication. 8th House Publishing. p. 324.
  3. Cummins, 148.

Other sources

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