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'Work hard and never give up,' Michelle O'Bonsawin says during Supreme Court welcome

OTTAWA — The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada says her journey has not been an easy one, but it has been meaningful and rewarding.
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Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin is welcomed during a ceremony at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. O'Bonsawin is the first Indigenous judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada says her journey has not been an easy one, but it has been meaningful and rewarding.

Members of the legal community, including fellow justices, welcomed Michelle O'Bonsawin to the top court in a ceremony Monday.

O'Bonsawin, who replaced the retiring Michael Moldaver on Sept. 1, is a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

"I hope that my journey to this court will inspire young women to pursue their dreams," she told attendees at the Supreme Court building in Ottawa. 

"I am a big believer that if you have a goal, work hard and never give up, you can make things happen and achieve those dreams."

O'Bonsawin said she has made mistakes and fallen down at times.

"However, mistakes have been my teachers. And I have learned from those mistakes. I have always gotten up and continued, at times with trepidation, but always moving forward," the outgoing Ontario Superior Court judge said.

"Our actions are reflections of ourselves. We must be proud of who we are and of our uniqueness."

O'Bonsawin thanked the many people who supported, encouraged and mentored her along the way.

Richard Wagner, the Supreme Court's chief justice, praised O'Bonsawin's generosity and volunteer activities, noting she shares his passion for open courts, access to justice and education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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