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Faculty of Law

Senator David Smith, Law '70, Wins 2007 H.R.S. Ryan Alumni Award

Photo by Ronald Aube, Reno Video & Photography

Senator David Smith, Law ’70, (middle) recipient of the
2007 H.R.S. Ryan Law Alumni Award, with Justice Gordon Sedgwick, Arts ’56 and Law ’61, David Stratas, Law ’84, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Supreme Court of Canada and Dean Bill Flanagan.

Senator David Smith, Law '70, received the 2007 H.R.S. Ryan Alumni Award at the Parliamentary Reception and Dinner held on May 22nd. Established to honour the late Professor H.R.S. Ryan (Emeritus), the award recognizes a Queen's Law alumnus or alumna who has made a significant contribution to the Faculty, University or legal profession as selected by the Faculty's Dean's Council members.

Steven J. Trumper, Law ‘80 and a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Dean's Council Chair, was pleased to present the award to Senator Smith. Among the audience were former H.R.S. Ryan Alumni Award winners Justice Gordon Sedgewick of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Arts '56 and Law ‘61, and David Stratas, Law '84 and a partner at Heenan Blaikie LLP.

Following Senator Smith's call to the Bar in 1972, he practised municipal, administrative and regulatory law, developing a reputation as one of Canada's leading practitioners. In 1972, Senator Smith turned to politics and was elected to the Toronto City Council, where he served with distinction until 1978. Elected as MP for the Toronto riding of Don Valley East in 1980, he served in the government and cabinet of Pierre Trudeau. In 1984 he returned to private practice and assumed a number of senior leadership roles at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, where he is now Counsel and Chairman Emeritus. In 2002 he was appointed to the Senate of Canada.

"He is a deserving recipient of this distinguished award," said Janet Fuhrer, Law '85, one of Smith's former law partners in the mid 1990s.

In his speech, Senator Smith mentioned the publication in the early 1980s of a landmark Parliamentary report called ‘Obstacles,' outlining the challenges facing people with disabilities in Canada, and one of his proudest moments as a politician. Smith has also been a long-time supporter of Queen's, and most recently he has been instrumental in providing advice to Dean Flanagan in planning this year's 50th anniversary celebrations.

"It is this spirit of dedication to the community and to the betterment of Canadians that... makes Senator Smith such a worthy recipient of the Ryan Award," said Trumper. "Over 400,000 copies of [the Obstacles] report were distributed across Canada, and to this day people still approach David and mention the report."