Monday, August 15, 2011

Justice Randall Echlin, 1950-2011

Sadly, I heard today that the Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Echlin passed away this past Friday. I never knew him personally, but from all accounts he was a wonderful and amicable person. I knew him only through his legal writing - judgments and employment law publications - and various presentations he made at legal conferences...he was easily among the leading authorities on Canadian employment law, and deservedly so. His decisions were well-written and well-reasoned, and when he penned an employment law decision, the bar listened. (Brito et al. v. Canac Kitchens, which is, as far as I can tell, his last reported decision, was the subject of an entry I wrote back in April.)

He often began his judgments with pithy quotations relating to the subject matter of the case, and I thought it might be fitting for me to summarize a few of them:

Pede v. Plaza Pontiac Buick GMC Inc., January 24 2011:
"Work is an extension of personality. It is one of the ways in which a person defines himself, measures his worth and humanity." - Peter F. Drucker, 1909-2005

Cunningham v. Moran, August 27 2010:
"Divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you" - Margaret Atwood, 1939-

Gore Mutual v. The Guarantee Company, July 8 2010:
"Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life." - Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss philosopher, poet, and critic, 1821-1881
"People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization." - Agnes Repplier, American essayist, 1855-1950

Iliescu v. Voicegenie Technologies Inc., January 6 2009:
"Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong" - John Harold Hewitt, Irish poet, 1907-1987

Link v. Venture Steel Inc., November 14 2008:
"How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?"- Jacques Plante, Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender, 1929-1986

Ontario (Transportation) v. Canadian Surety Company, November 5 2008:
"all meanings we know depend on the key of interpretation." - Mary Ann ("George") Elliot, British novelist, 1819-1880

Fraser v. Holman Exhibits Limited, August 1 2008:
"patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold." - Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

Mian v. Girdhar, April 22 2008:
"There is nothing more likely to start a disagreement than an agreement." - E.B. White, American author, 1899-1985
"The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and to show your distrust." - Henry Lewis Stinson, U.S. Secretary of State during both World Wars, 1867-1950

Wesst Hill Communications v. Chua, April 7 2008:
"Money is the opposite of the weather. Nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it." - Rebecca Johnson, New Yorker columnist

Laszczewski v. Aluminart Products Limited, December 14 2007:
"Getting fired is nature's way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place." - Hal Lancaster, former Wall Street Journal editor
"the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain, and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment." - Samuel Johnson, British essayist, 1709-1784

946648 Ontario Limited v. Discount Car & Truck Rentals Ltd., September 21 2007:
"Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth." - Margaret Thatcher, 1925-
"In nature, nothing can be given, all things are sold." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Rodrigues v. Powell, July 24 2007:
"it is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic modern nation that it have free and independent labour unions." FDR, 1882-1945

Fancy v. Standard Securities Capital Corporation, May 24 2007:
Investors should "try to buy good businesses at fair prices rather than fair businesses at good prices." - Warren Buffett

Donor Gateway Inc. v. Passero, February 13 2007:
"Life is short, judgment difficult, and opportunity transient." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832

Rabi v. Rosu, October 31 2006:
"Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it." - Samuel Johnson

Carscallen v. FRI Corporation, June 10 2005:
"Discipline isn't just punishing, forcing compliance, or stamping out bad behaviour." - Lawrence Baiter, U.S. Psychologist

Takhar Investments Inc. v. Household Finance Corp., March 4 2005:
"money often costs too much." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Panapers Inc. v. 1260539 Ontario Ltd., December 30 2004:
"a successful restaurant makes everything in it, including the patrons, seem a little better than they are." - Mason Cooley, American aphorist

Marshak v. Branch, October 26 2004:
"If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is." - New York Times, 1861

Daley v. Depco International Inc., June 18 2004:
"To err is human, to forgive divine." - Alexander Pope, 1688-1744

Moving Store Franchise Systems Inc. v. Norseman Plastics Ltd., May 7 2004:
"I just want to say one word to you: Plastics. There is a great future in plastics." - The Graduate (film), 1967


Justice Echlin had a number of his own quotable observations about the workplace, ranging from pre-dismissal tensions comparable to the banquet of Damocles (Carscallen) to recruitment. I would like to close with a single recruitment quotation, but I invite readers to post any memorable Echlin quotations in the comments.

McCulloch v. Iplatform Inc., December 16, 2004:
"Recruitment is akin to 'the dating game'. Employers and employees both preen themselves, put on their best faces, sometimes overstate themselves, and try to look attractive to the other....If employees were not interested in moving, they would not even give the recruiter or new employer the time of day." - The Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Echlin, November 29 1950 - August 12 2011.

Rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. A great collection of quotes, Dennis. He prided himself on his judgements and loved to make them as interesting and insightful as possible.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to compile all of these.