Montreal

Canada's new justice minister is a Montrealer: Meet David Lametti

Colleagues of Canada's new justice minister David Lametti say that before his career in politics, he was known for his generosity and mentorship as a law professor at McGill University.

'He has a deep faith, but not the kind that goes out there and proselytizes. It motivates him': colleague

New Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Colleagues of Canada's new Justice Minister David Lametti say that, before his career in politics, he was known for his generosity and mentorship as a law professor at McGill University.

Lametti, the Montreal MP for LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, replaced Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Indigenous justice minister, at Monday morning's cabinet shuffle.

At McGill, Lametti focused his academic work on intellectual property, even pioneering it as a field of research in law at the university, according to Richard Gold, the associate dean of the McGill Faculty of Law graduate studies program.

Gold says he and Lametti co-founded McGill's Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP). 

"He's a very thoughtful man," Gold said. "I assume that he will listen very well to the people in his department, the people who are affected by criminal justice and by other areas of federal jurisdiction, including intellectual property, and will make wise decisions."

Wilson-Raybould's reassignment to Minister of Veterans Affairs is being seen as a significant demotion. 

Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (left to right), Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O'Regan, Justic Minister David Lametti and Minister of Rural Economic Development Bernadette Jordan attend a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

When asked whether he believed Lametti would be sensitive to Indigenous issues in criminal justice, Gold cited a panel Lametti had recently hosted about promoting women and Indigenous people in innovation fields. 

"He's very sensitive to the issue. I think this is one of the marquee issues of the government and he's certainly one of those who believes deeply in diversity," Gold said. 

Stints at Yale and Oxford

Lametti, 56, began his law career as a McGill student after completing a bachelor in economics and political science at the University of Toronto. After that, he also studied law at Yale and Oxford, before taking up a teaching position at McGill. 

Lametti, who is from Port Colborne, ON, met his wife, Geneviève Saumier, as a McGill student, according to Gold. Saumier is also a law professor at McGill and specializes in private international law. 

Justice Minister David Lametti explains what he can get done in the eight months before this year's election. 0:51

The couple have three adult children, one of whom is a medical student at McGill, Gold said. 

He described Lametti as "a very kind and generous man."

"He has a deep faith, but not the kind that goes out there and proselytizes, but it motivates him," Gold said, explaining that Lametti is Catholic.

He says Lametti's religious beliefs make him "want to do good in the world."

Canada's new justice minister, David Lametti, and his family. His wife, Geneviève Saumier, second from left, is a law professor at McGill University. (Liberal Party)

Audrey Boctor, a litigation attorney at IMK in Montreal, says she experienced Lametti's generosity first-hand as a student. 

Boctor co-wrote an article on the Quebec's Civil Codes and rights of ownership in 2006 with Lametti when she was still in law school at McGill. 

"There was no question too simple or too complicated or too long or too short. He always made himself available and was just extremely supportive," Boctor said. 

"I know he acted as a mentor to a lot of law students over the course of his career."

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