Emmett Matthew Hall may not be the first name that pops into your head when it comes to a Cool Canadian, but once you hear of his achievements, it will be impossible for you to forget him.
Emmett Hall was born in St.-Columban, Québec, in 1898 and moved to Saskatoon when he was 12. From there he went on to study Law at the University of Saskatchewan, and became friendly with future Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Once he graduated in 1919 he practiced law in the province until 1957 when Diefenbaker appointed him to preside over Saskatchewan’s Court of the Queen’s Bench. He was later promoted to Chief Justice of Saskatchewan in 1961, and then just a year later he was appointed to Canada’s Supreme Court. Though he served on the Supreme Court for 11 years it is not his rulings there that have left him in the minds of Canadians.
Hall’s achievements that are listed below are as unique as the man himself:
- Hall chaired the Royal Commission on health services in 1961, which took 4 years to complete. This report proposed a universal Medicare system for all in Canada.
- Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s government approved the report in 1967, during Canada’s centennial celebrations.
- He reviewed and designed Ontario’s primary and secondary school systems in 1968. His report focused on the need to accommodate teaching to the stages of child development and on alternative education.
- Hall reported on the provincial court structure within Saskatchewan in 1974.
Hall was recognized for his hard work, which went towards bettering Canada. The University of Ottawa distinguished him by appointing him with the one and only Canadian Honorary medical degree. The University of Saskatchewan also added to Hall’s resume by making him the Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan from 1980-86. Emmett Matthew Hall died at the age of 96, yet his positive influence on modern Canada is still felt today.
See Emmett Matthew Hall's biography at Industry Canada Collections: