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Roy McMurtry, former Ontario attorney general and legal giant, dies

TORONTO — Roy McMurtry, a legal and political giant in Ontario, has died at 91.

McMurtry, a longtime lawyer, became the province’s attorney general in 1975 under Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis.

He spent a decade in that role and later returned to the judiciary, where he eventually became Chief Justice of Ontario.

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey says McMurtry oversaw a number of reforms of the justice system including bilingualism in the courts and family law reform.

The Court of Appeal of Ontario says McMurtry played a pivotal role in negotiating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and patriating Canada’s constitution.

McMurtry was one of the judges of the Appeal Court who upheld a lower court ruling that found the common law definition of marriage was against the Charter, which paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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