The FR Scott Lecture

"A native of Québec City, F.R. Scott (...) led a varied life as a poet, constitutional lawyer, and politician. He completed his schooling in Québec in 1919, taught for one year, and then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1920. Scott returned to Montréal in 1923 and entered the Law School at McGill University in 1924. During this time he was involved in The McGill Daily Literary Supplement and The McGill Fornightly Review which he helped to establish. In 1928 he joined the Law Faculty at McGill as Assistant Professor of constitutional and federal law. In 1931-1932, Scott and historian Frank Underhill founded the League for Social Reconstruction, a socialist study group. During the 1930s and 1940s, he was involved in editing and contributing to a number of literary magazines, was active with the C.C.F., and published his first collection of poetry, Overture, in 1945. He published Events and Signals in 1954 and Eye of the Needle in 1957. He was appointed Macdonald Professor of Law in 1955 and was Dean of Law from 1961 to 1963. During the 1960s, Scott helped found the New Party, the successor to the C.C.F. and the predecessor to the N.D.P. Following his retirement from active party politics, he served on the Royal Commission on Biculturalism and Bilingualism. In 1977 his Essays on the Constitution won the Governor-General's Award." He died in 1985 at the age of 85.

( McGill Archives)


Upcoming lecture

  • POSTPONED | Irwin Cotler, international human rights lawyer (Hybrid event) 
    More information

Past lectures

  • Daniel Mendelsohn, critic, essayist, translator, and internationally bestselling author
    From the Classics to Pop Culture: An Evening with Daniel Mendelsohn
    November 4, 2021

  • The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada in conversation with Professor Shauna Van Praagh
    September 9, 2019

  • Bernard Shapiro, Principal Emeritus, McGill University
    Freedom of Speech in the Ivory Tower
    September 13, 2018

  • Anna Maria Tremonti, Host, The Current, CBC Radio One
    It's Time to Take Our Journalism Back
    February 15, 2017

  • The Honourable Rosalie Abella, Supreme Court of Canada
    October 19, 2016

  • Jonathan Kay, Editor-in-Chief, The Walrus Magazine
    Journalism's New (Unlikely) Golden Age
    December 8, 2015

  • Jeffrey Simpson, National Affairs columnist, The Globe and Mail
    October 20, 2014
  • Hon. John H. Gomery and Bernard St-Laurent
    Corruption. A View from an Insider
    February 12, 2013
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Director MoMA
    A Fine Balance: When Art and the Law Meet
    September 24, 2012
  • Honourable Mr. Justice Morris Fish
    The Effect of Alcohol on the Canadian Constitution...Seriously (print version in McGill Law Journal)
    February 2, 2011
  • Graham Fraser
    J’y suis, j’y reste: F. R. Scott and the Evolution of Language Rights
    November 18, 2009
  • The Honourable Justice W. Ian Binnie
    Counter-Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Legacy of F.R. Scott
    March 3, 2009
  • L. Ian MacDonald
    The BNA and the Charter: Two Mints in One
    November 6, 2007
  • Professor Roderick Macdonald
    Appoint, elect, draw straws or sell to the highest bidder? Choosing our judges
    October 10, 2006
  • Michael Gnarowski
    Frank Scott: Man and Poet… retrouvé
    April 6, 2005
  • Professor Antonia Maioni
    The Welfare State and F.R. Scott’s Social Vision for Canada
    April 2, 2003
  • William Weintraub
    Struggling to get published: the young Mordecai Richler
    April 9, 2002
  • The Honourable Fred Kaufman, C.M., Q.C.
    Lessons from the Morin Inquiry: The Presumption of Innocence
    March 27, 2001
  • Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor
    Canadian Duality: The Unresolved Conflict
    March 14, 2000
  • Professor Desmond Paul Morton
    Poet as Party Manager: Frank Scott and the CCF
    April 7, 1999
  • Professor Peter C.W. Hoffmann
    The German Resistance to Hitler and the Persecution of the Jews
    April 21, 1998
  • Dr. Eric Ormsby
    Poetry as Isotope: The Hidden Life of Words
    May 6, 1997
  • Professor Stephen Toope
    Cultural Diversity and Human Rights
    May 8, 1996
  • Professor Margaret Gillett
    Women in the University: The Fourth Phase
    April 5, 1995
  • The Honorable Judge Alan B. Gold
    The Arts are Everybody's Business
    April 22, 1994
  • Peter Dale Scott
    F.R. Scott: Poetry and Politics
    March 22, 1993
  • Professor Irwin Cotler
    The International Revolution in Human Rights
    April 22, 1992
  • Professor Louis Dudek
    What Do You Have Against Myth?
    May 21, 1991
  • Stephen Lewis
    Make This Your Canada, Part II
    June 11, 1990
  • Professor Leon Edel
    Frank Scott and the Canadian Literary Renaissance
    May 11, 1989


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