Chief justice of Nova Scotia was first female chief justice in Canada
Constance Glube was a trailblazer who rose to the highest ranks of the Canadian legal profession traditionally dominated by men. She was a champion of the rights of minorities and women, and a mentor for women in the law. Glube spent her career committed “to overcoming the gender, ethnic, and religious barriers of her era.”
The daughter of Pearl and Sam Lepofsky, active members of Ottawa’s Jewish community, Glube graduated from McGill University in 1952 and from Dalhousie University Law School in 1955. At a time when women didn’t often attend law school, no less practise in the profession, she began a journey of many firsts for women and the law. One of only two women in her graduating class, Glube remained in Nova Scotia where she married and established her career.
She began her career at Kitz Matheson and was later a partner at Fitzgerald and Glube. In 1969, she joined the City of Halifax legal department and became city manager, the first woman to hold that position in any Canadian city.
Glube was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in 1977, the first woman to serve as a justice on that court. She became chief justice of Nova Scotia in 1982, the first woman to hold the position of chief justice in Canada. This was a huge feat in an era where men dominated the bench. In 1998, she became the chief justice of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal – the province’s highest court – and held the position until her retirement in 2004.
Glube, who was awarded both the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada, is recognized as a pioneer of her time – a leader and role model for women across professional boundaries. Volunteerism and mentorship were at the core of her ethos. She embraced core tenants of the Jewish faith, including her commitment to human dignity and basic rights.
Glube demonstrated profound commitment to the administration of justice as a lawyer and judge; to gender equality as a feminist and leader; to Judaism through involvement in her synagogue and local community, and in her support for the State of Israel; and to her family as a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.
Justice Constance Glube passed away on February 15, 2016 at age 84. She was married to the late Richard Glube and was survived by their three sons and a daughter, and by five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Reflecting on Glube’s legacy, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada said she “was a woman of vision, and she had the energy to realize that vision.
“She left the Canadian justice system richer and more effective than she found it. We are all indebted to her.”
Throughout 2017, in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin is publishing a series of profiles spotlighting the contributions of historically important Jewish Canadians to our country. Previously in the series: