“This is a small-scale, and yet powerful manifestation of the long tradition of engagement in public life that has characterized the community of professors, students and alumni of the Faculty of Law. I applaud this initiative, praise the students for putting it together, and encourage all participants to dress warmly!”
– Dean Daniel Jutras, 2010
“La bicyclette est une métaphore aussi utile que mobile. Elle est le symbole de notre condition : animal social muni d’un corps et d’un esprit. On attribue à Albert Einstein cette formule amusante : “La vie, c’est comme une bicyclette, il faut avancer pour ne pas perdre l’équilibre”. Pédaler c’est une retraite, un moment privilégié d’intimité et de réflexion, de discussion si vous gardez le souffle ou d’écoute si vous le perdez.
Parmi les nombreuses causes auxquelles un effort physique est demandé aux participants, celle de l’accès à la justice que veut promouvoir le Christie Bike Ride est celle qui me préoccupe le plus. La dimension sociale et humaine de cette campagne commémore l’activisme exemplaire d’un avocat hors norme, celle d’un professionnel dont l’exploit a été porté par l’intérêt supérieur d’une justice pour tous. Elle nous rappelle également que la route est meurtrière. Au moment où j’écris ces lignes un petit cycliste de 8 ans vient de perdre la vie sous les roues d’un camion.
Et puis si je me joins chaque année au mouvement c’est aussi pour saluer l’initiative de nos étudiants, collègues, participants et volontaires, qui prêchent par l’exemple. Cette jeunesse d’esprit et générosité inépuisable est la plus belle énergie renouvelable que nous ayons à McGill.
Bonne chance à l’édition 2012, donnez, venez nombreux et roulez prudemment.”
– Professeur Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse
“My name is Tanya De Mello and the Christie Bike Ride was one of the most important events in which I participated at Mc Gill Law. I still remember hearing Dugald Christie’s story for the first time in my constitutional law class with Colleen Sheppard. She told us of a man that had literally biked across Canada – from BC to the Supreme court – to make a statement; he believed that it was a constitutional right for people to have access to legal remedies and it shook him that the bar for legal aid was so slow. Basically, you have to homeless and jobless to access legal aid. And so he dedicated his life to raising awareness about this, to opening legal aid clinics, to challenging a system that we prize but which has some glaring gaps. And when I learned that he was hit by a car and died on his ride – I wanted to do something.
Something to remember him.
Something to remind us, right when we start the year – of why most of us came to law school. Most of us came here to help people access justice, to protect people that have no voice in our political system and to ensure that our legal system is transparent, open and most of all, fair.
I think we need to start our school year remembering why we came. But I also think it is important to do something small as a community. For the broader Montreal community.
To meet people with shared visions and goals as well as people that are completely
different in every way. I think the bike ride opens this space and creates this link.
And please please please do not think you need to be a bike ninja to do this. I had never ridden more than a few blocks when we did the first ride. but it is not about the ride.
It is about being part of a community that goes beyond McGill and our little worlds and changes the lens through which you will read your cases and understand your classes.”
– Tanya (Toni) De Mello, McGill Law Alumni and founder of the Christie Community Bike Ride
“I took part in the CBR for its first two years and had a great time. For me, this event helped in two main ways: first, it gave me a space to think about, and discuss with others, the role of lawyers and law students in building a more just society. Second, it gave me the opportunity to meet other students and start building a personal community within the law faculty. The CBR is also a great way to see some of Montreal and get some exercise! I highly recommend it.”
– Luke Brown, McGill Law Alumni
I would like to tell you about an event that took place on Sunday September 8th,. It was not significant because of the number of people involved, nor the amount of money it raised; it was significant because it celebrated a life of commitment to social change. I am referring to the annual Christie Memorial Bike Ride. The Ride was started some five years ago by McGill Law Students who decided to think outside the box and look towards a future that was not dependent upon corporate sponsorship or a Bay Street agenda. They chose, after hearing about a Supreme Court Challenge that they were studying in their Constitutional law class, to celebrate the life and commitment of one Dugald Christie. Christie had decided to take up the cudgels in defence of those with limited means to facilitate their access to justice after the British Columbia provincial government decided to include legal services amongst those services that were considered taxable. These students wish to continue Christie’s fight to remove bollards like taxes on legal services, to ensure that access to justice was not dependent upon one’s ability to pay. Dugald Christie was ‘old school’ he became politically active in his fifties when he decided to embark on a mission to serve those in need of access to justice. I suggest you take a look at his entry in Wikipedia, he was what I call a true child of the 60’s. I have met some like him, sadly too few, but they are the kind that leave the world a little bit better than they found it. I applaud the law students who started the Christie Bike Ride and those who continue this fine tradition. I support their efforts and am pleased to have been able to join them for the last four years when they extended an invitation to faculty and staff. Each year roughly between 50 and 60 cyclists have ridden their bicycles for around 50 kilometres in Montréal and its surroundings. The Montreal City Mission, Just Solutions and Mile End Legal clinic have benefited, as well as this year’s beneficiary Head and Hands. Each year I have set myself a goal to surpass the previous year’s total, I mention this as I intend to come-a-calling on you next year for a donation and I also will be encouraging you to join in the fun.