Cronkite Lectures 1982

Patriation and Constitutional Legitimacy

B.L. Strayer

Lecture I

I feel doubly honoured to have been invited to present the Cronkite Memorial Lectures for 1982.

First and foremost, I am pleased to be able to participate in the commemoration of a man whose life and career was so important to this institution, this community, this province, this country and the hundreds of former students and colleagues who, like myself, were profoundly influenced by him.  I have many and diverse recollections of him, most of them coloured by that mixture of profound insight and sense of fun which we associated with Dean Cronkite.  To me, he was a Professor and Dean when I was a student in this College of Law; later my employer and colleague when I was a junior instructor here; still later a colleague when we were both members of the Saskatchewan delegation to the constitutional conferences of the early 1960’s:  neighbours when I returned to academic life in Saskatoon; and always a friend.  In general, Dean Cronkite nurtured critical thought and a sense of social purpose in those who were receptive to such influences.  In particular, I am satisfied that his influence made Saskatchewan a major producer and substantial exporter of public lawyers for Canada.  I often have been struck by a certain kind of comment which I have heard many places in this country where there are gatherings of constitutional lawyers — the comment that “there seem to be a lot of people here from Saskatchewan”.  I will not dwell on the empirical evidence, but I think I could trace responsibility for that phenomenon, directly or vicariously, to the long dominance of legal education in this province by Dean Fred Cronkite.

Apart from his scholarship, his teaching, and his influence in public affairs, he was humane.  Perhaps that was the greatest legacy he left to those whose lives and careers he touched.

I am, of course, also honoured by following the two illustrious preceding Cronkite lecturers, the Honourable E.M. Hall who gave the first series in 1978 and Mr. Arthur Maloney, Q.C., who gave the second series in 1980.  I am delighted to be associated, howsoever remotely, with these two gentlemen.  This is not the first time I have followed the leadership of Mr. Justice Hall as I was once his student, later a colleague on Saskatchewan’s first Law Reform Committee of which he was Chairman and I was Secretary, and once or twice I was junior counsel in his court.  While I

»  3-2