It was a homecoming of sorts for David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada, as he returned to Western’s Faculty of Law, which he led as Dean from 1974-79.
Johnston was on campus as part of the 10th Annual Coxford Lecture series, which brings outstanding scholars and jurists to Western to lecture on public law issues. Johnston spoke on lawyer’s commitment to professionalism and the rule of law.
During his lecture, Johnston spoke of how the rule of law, which he sees as married to the constant pursuit of justice, is what makes us free. While he has developed a profound admiration for how precious the rule of law is in our country, Johnston admitted how thin and vulnerable it can be.
He emphasized the constant need to take Canada’s strong foundation in the law and continue to make it better.
Prior to his installation as Governor General in 2010, Johnston was a professor of law for 45 years and, along with his time at Western, served as president of the University of Waterloo for two terms and principal of McGill University for three terms.
During his mandate at Governor General, Johnston established the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), a registered charity that supports and amplifies the Office of the Governor General in its work to connect, honour and inspire Canadians. Today, he is actively involved as chair of the RHF Board of Directors. He also serves as an executive advisor at Deloitte and a global advisor to Fairfax. In 2018, he was appointed Colonel to the Royal Canadian Regiment.