Constance Glube - "Connie" to her colleagues and friends in the Judiciary - was also the first woman to be appointed as a Chief Justice of a Canadian Court. It was in 1982. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court's first woman Judge became its Chief Justice. And not long after that, in 1998, she was appointed Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and of the Court of Appeal.
Born in Ottawa in 1931, she earned her BA at McGill University and followed that with a law degree from Dalhousie University in 1955. She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar the following year. She practiced in Halifax at the law firm of Kitz Matheson, and later as a partner in the law firm of Fitzgerald and Glube, before joining the legal department at Halifax City Hall in 1969. Six years later, she became Halifax's city manager, the first woman to hold that position in any Canadian city.
But Chief Justice Glube's steadfast dedication to overcoming the gender, ethnic, and religious barriers of her era did not start there. As a Jewish woman living in the Canada of the mid-19-hundreds, her story is one of a life-long commitment to the principle of equal opportunity in her community and in her chosen profession. And the community and the profession noticed.
In 1997 she was one of the first recipients of the Frances Fish Women Lawyers Achievement Award. The Award was established in honour of Frances Fish, the first woman to graduate from Dalhousie Law School and Nova Scotia’s first woman lawyer. That was in 1918, when women were still not considered “persons” under the law.
The Frances Fish Women Lawyers Achievement Award is presented to women who have achieved professional excellence and demonstrate “... a commitment to the advancement of women's equality in or through the legal profession”.
In 2005, Constance Glube was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia. In 2006, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her “ … enduring contributions to the administration of justice for more than four decades. … She continues to be a role model for women of all ages and professions.”
In 2009, the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Bar Association established the CBA Spirit Award in her name. The Constance R. Glube CBA Spirit Award recognizes " ... achievement in law by Nova Scotian women lawyers".
When she retired in 2004, a number of her colleagues in the Nova Scotia Judiciary were asked to offer their thoughts. What they wrote is a fitting tribute to Constance Glube, the Chief Justice and Connie, the person. Here are a few excerpts:
“She is universally recognized for her fairness, diligence and sound judgment.”
“Always respectful of others, open to new ideas, thoroughly prepared, articulate and so genuinely interested in the lives of people around her.”
“We will be the beneficiary of her legacy for the rest of our careers.”
“Her leadership, vision, dedication, and hard work has carved a lasting legacy. For years to come, Nova Scotians, in fact Canadians, will be the beneficiaries.”
“I will always cherish the times I have worked with her …”
“Her strength, dedication and determination was most obvious during times of adversity.”
“… she has led, setting the highest example of integrity, throughout her full, successful, creative and pioneering career.”
“Being a person of compassion and understanding, she has succeeded in making the judicial system better understood and appreciated.”
“Chief Justice Glube has always … demonstrated a genuine interest and concern … expressed and demonstrated in a manner that ultimately is intended to meet the objective of better serving the public interest.”
A service for The Honourable Constance R. Glube will be held on
Wednesday, February 17th at 2:00 PM
at Shaar Shalom Synagogue, 1981 Oxford Street in Halifax
Interment to follow - Connaught Avenue Cemetery