KINSELLA: Clayton Ruby, good and type, will likely be missed by many

Opinion: He died a number of days in the past, and the world is a lesser place together with his passing, on the age of 80.

Too usually, we don’t hear in regards to the good guys.

Scanning the headlines, lately appear darkish and harmful. There’s warfare and pestilence and turmoil. And, too usually, our leaders don’t present management. They’re now not the brightest and the perfect.

You are reading: KINSELLA: Clayton Ruby, good and type, will likely be missed by many

Clayton Ruby — Clay, he’d let you know to name him — was one of many good guys. He died a number of days in the past, and the world is a lesser place together with his passing, on the age of 80.

We encountered one another years in the past, after I was younger litigation lawyer in Ottawa, and a first-time writer. The writer stuff collided with the lawyer stuff, and I might’ve gotten into a variety of bother. However Clay — regardless that he was representing a shopper who was very indignant with me — let it go. Younger lawyer mistake, he mentioned, as a result of it was.

We turned pals, regardless that I used to be a Liberal and liberal, and he was a proud social democrat, most frequently related to the New Democrats.

Clay was a proud radical, too, going again to when he was youthful and finding out at Harvard through the civil rights upheaval within the States. Sooner or later, a bullying Boston cop threw him in jail for doing exactly nothing incorrect. Clay’s response, recalling sitting in a jail cell? “(This) is exactly the place I wished to be,” he later mentioned.

The place he was presupposed to be, nevertheless, was in a courtroom, arguing for the powerless in opposition to the highly effective. Comforting the , and afflicting the comfy.

Quickly after Clay was known as to the Ontario bar, he began advising the hippies and the draft dodgers then hanging out in Yorkville.

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As his regulation accomplice and pal Brian Shiller recalled at Clay’s packed funeral this week, “(he) was interviewed by Maclean’s journal about his rapidly growing fame as a lawyer for the unconventional youth of the day. (Clay) had this to say about his shoppers: “I’m defending these so-called ‘radicals’ as a result of, in some ways, I believe what they’re doing is extra essential than what I’m doing. If change goes to return, I’m satisfied it must be from the streets, not from the courts.

“For the radicals, freedom will not be a textbook matter. They’re testing the bounds of these freedoms within the streets. The place else ought to a lawyer be?”

Whether or not you assist those that demonstrated after the homicide of George Floyd two Summers in the past — or whether or not you assist those that opposed COVID-19 mandates previously yr — you would possibly end up agreeing with what Clay mentioned. And, when you received in bother, he’d be the lawyer you’d need defending you.

Mentioned Shiller in his transferring eulogy: “He grew up in an prosperous Toronto neighbourhood and by most accounts, he was a smart-ass child who drove his lecturers loopy. He was kicked out of his synagogue for being ‘a disrespectful miscreant.’ He was additionally good, however younger, and looking for his approach.”

And he did. York College for a level in Philosophy.

Then regulation at U of T. After that, a grasp’s from Berkeley. Then Clay arrange his regulation workplace on the fringe of Yorkville, and mentored many younger attorneys through the years. A dozen of them would go on to develop into judges.

He knew get judges onside, however he knew how to try this with the media, too. One time, he was representing the Dion Quintuplets of their quest for compensation from the provincial authorities.

Shiller provided to draft a lawsuit for the Dions. Clay mentioned: “No lawsuits. I’m going to ask the Dions to take a seat on the nook of Yonge and Dundas begging for cash with tin cups. The media will take it from there.” (And we did: the quintuplets received $4 million.)


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Clay represented his shoppers, 24/7, daily of the yr. He at all times made certain to be house for dinner together with his spouse and two daughters — however he at all times wrote his house quantity on his enterprise card, telling shoppers to name anytime, if they’d any query, or if they simply wished to speak.

And we did. And he at all times picked up.

Clay by no means actually ran for political workplace — though he was elected a regulation society bencher for many years. Him, the unconventional lawyer. It amused him.

He was, full disclosure, my lawyer too. One time, I received phrase the Paul Martin authorities wished me hauled in entrance of the Gomery Fee over the sponsorship mess, regardless that I had left authorities two years earlier than this system was created. They despised me, and I despised them.

I advised Clay I wished to fake to be reluctant to look, and drive a subpoena. I had paperwork in regards to the Martinites’ contracting practices I wished to get on the general public file, I advised him. Clay smiled.

So we collectively performed rope-a-dope and the subpoena arrived. When fee attorneys noticed who my lawyer was — and found out what I wished to do — I used to be on the stand for just some minutes. Clay and I had a superb chuckle about that — however we received these paperwork onto the general public file.

He was an excellent and type and respectable man, and I can’t consider that his large coronary heart would ever cease beating. However it did, lastly, on Aug. 2.

We could not see the likes of Clay Ruby once more.

However I certain I want we might.

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