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"ZW" 2008 Obituary


ZWACK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-02-29 published
SWENARCHUK, " Karen" Michelle
(October 30, 1948-February 27, 2008)
Michelle left us at dawn on February 27. Her beloved daughter Larissa was with her until the end. Michelle is also deeply mourned by her brother Lauren, sister Bonnie ZWACK, and parents Michael and Janet of Calgary. Treasured aunt of Michael (Alyson, Annalise, Nicholas), Andrea (Michael, Lindsey and Julia) and Kathryn (Brian, Robbie, Jack). Michelle's many dear Friends and colleagues already miss her warmth, loyalty, intelligence and integrity. We want to thank Doctor David HEDLEY, the Palliative Care team, and the staff of 17B at Princess Margaret Hospital for the compassionate care Michelle received. An ardent feminist, Michelle was active in the women's movement for many years, including the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Michelle worked as Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association and led a successful intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Harvard Oncomouse case. Michelle's work as a senior practitioner in environmental protection, international trade, Aboriginal rights, labour and administrative law was recognized by her peers in 2004, when she was awarded the Law Society Medal for 'outstanding contributions to public policy law'. Michelle's family, close Friends and colleagues are invited to attend her funeral on Monday, March 2. A more public celebration of her life will be held in a month. Condolences to guestbook, where details of the celebration will be posted soon. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to: Sistering A Woman's Place (, Amnesty International (, or the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (

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ZWACK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-05-21 published
She championed the environment and defeated the 'Harvard Mouse'
Lawyer took on forestry giants to secure sustainable growth and successfully argued against a powerful initiative by the pharmaceutical industry to patent a genetically altered rodent
By Noreen SHANAHAN, Special to The Globe and Mail, Page S10
Toronto -- Michelle SWENARCHUK was a public intellectual. As executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association she fought for sustainable development in Northern Ontario's forests. Her work and vision contributed to Canada's most positive environmental footprints, and there is some suggestion that it was she who coined the phrase "environmental crisis."
She also led a successful intervention in the famed Harvard Mouse Case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on whether medical researchers could patent higher life forms. She participated in negotiations and consultations regarding international laws at the World Trade Organization, the Organization of Economic Development, the International Labour Organization and the North American Commission for Environmental Co-operation.
Michelle SWENARCHUK was the youngest of three children born into a Ukrainian family in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. As a child, she liked to pedal her bicycle kilometres out of town just for sheer joy and the view of an expanding sky. Her hometown, which straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, had five or six stores, a dragged-down hotel and a handful of grain elevators. Half the population was German Mennonite, the other half English. Including the SWENARCHUKs, there were three Ukrainian families.
Everything changed when, as a teenager, she moved with the rest of her family to nearby Saskatoon. Her world expanded to included antiwar protests, draft dodgers and an emerging social consciousness. Her mother's work as a social worker likely also influenced her, for she was briefly tempted to enter the same profession.
After getting her B.A. in English literature at the University of Saskatchewan, she worked as a de facto social worker in rural Saskatchewan but soon realized that becoming a lawyer would be a more effective career path. She moved to Toronto in the early 1970s to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. There, she found that just 10 per cent of the student body was female, with an even smaller number specializing in labour law, as she did. She was called to the bar in 1976 and opened a practice with Judith McCORMACK, a fellow graduate.
In the early days, she worked primarily with a group of small Canadian unions fighting for the rights of immigrant women, many of whom toiled in the most appalling sweatshop conditions or as building cleaners. The unions were affiliated with the Confederation of Canadian Unions, founded in 1969 by Quebec labour activists Madeleine Parent and Kent Rowley, and were often labelled as communist.
Choosing to work for them wasn't generally thought to be a brilliant career move. "Of course this wasn't exactly high-paying work - or, in some cases, paying work at all," recalled Ms. McCORMACK.
The firm was audited by Revenue Canada twice in the early days. When she asked the auditor why, he told them that they had made so little money they figured the firm must have been a front for a money-laundering operation. "This was a bit like adding insult to penury," said Ms. McCORMACK.
In 1979, Ms. SWENARCHUK moved into a more lucrative position as counsel to the Canadian Union of Professional and Technical Employees. One of her responsibilities was representing civil aviation inspectors at a Royal Commission on aviation safety. Next, she took a position with the Federation of Women's Teachers Associations of Ontario, working on collective bargaining, education and equity policies. In the late 1970s, she joined the National Action Committee on the Status of Women as a member of the employment committee. She became an executive member in 1982 and served under the presidency of Doris Anderson.
But the bonds of sisterhood were sometimes a challenge to negotiate. When Ms. Anderson was National Action Committee president, she confided to fellow executive board members that she didn't want to go to any meetings "where women held hands or hummed." Ms. SWENARCHUK understood this timidity, agreed, and on all accounts the two women shared a great deal of non-hand-holding success. Ms. SWENARCHUK's three strongest mentors were Ms. Parent, Ms. Anderson and research physicist Ursula Franklin. In 2006, she wrote the forward to The Ursula Franklin Reader: Pacifism as a Map.
The late 1980s and early 1990s presented Ms. SWENARCHUK with two hugely significant challenges. They were both personal and professional. First, her daughter Larissa was born in Toronto in 1988; second, after having served a few years as chief counsel to Canadian Environmental Law Association, she became the executive director in 1991. Suddenly, at the same time she was knee deep in diapers, she was also on the nightly news warning people about the state of the environment.
"I remember the first time I laid eyes on Michelle SWENARCHUK," said Karen Clark, senior policy co-ordinator for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. "She was on television saying things that I had never heard anybody say before. I remember the phrase, 'We're in the middle of an environmental crisis.' She was using that kind of very strong language when very few people were talking like that."
Canadian Environmental Law Association is funded by the Ontario legal aid plan with a mandate to represent environmental groups and low-income individuals affected by environmental problems. In the 1980s, Canadian Environmental Law Association represented a coalition of Northern Ontario environmental groups called Forests for Tomorrow at a landmark hearing into Ontario's timber management program. It was probably the biggest such hearing in Canadian history, with 440 separate hearings covering a four-year period.
"It was mind-boggling - and mind numbing - said Canadian Environmental Law Association's Rick LINDGREN. "And yet, with Michelle as our fearless lead counsel, somehow we survived the ordeal and… achieved some real progress."
Attending the hearings was a gruelling ordeal. Every Monday, Mr. LINDGREN and Ms. SWENARCHUK would fly out of Toronto early in the morning, drop baby Larissa off at Thunder Bay daycare, spend the day at the hearing, pick up Larissa and eat dinner at the house they had rented for the duration. After the dishes were done, Ms. SWENARCHUK would play with her daughter, tell her stories and put her to bed. Then she'd work until the wee hours reading evidence and preparing cross-examination for the next day.
In a Toronto Star column in 1989, Ms. Anderson described one plane ride where 16-month-old Larissa accidentally kicked over the breakfast tray, spraying scrambled egg across the lap of her mother's blue suit. "Two hours later, after a quick clean-up, [Ms. SWENARCHUK] was cross-examining a top government official."
In the end, they got what Forests for Tomorrow wanted: sustainable forestry.
While Ms. SWENARCHUK also served as an advocate for women, trade unionists, aboriginals and immigrant workers, her greatest success - and greatest notoriety - occurred when she argued the Harvard Mouse case at the Supreme Court of Canada. According to Mr. LINDGREN, the matter had arrived at Canadian Environmental Law Association's doorstep just at a time when the struggle for environmental protection was becoming more complex. In addition to being engaged in site-specific battles over such things as dumps, quarries and incinerators, they were becoming increasingly involved in international "mega-cases."
The Harvard rodent was just such a case. Around that time, scientists at Harvard University had modified mice by inserting a gene that caused them to develop cancer. They acquired a patent for the mouse that extended to all non-human life forms. In the process, they applied for a patent in Canada and the resulting litigation eventually ended up before the Supreme Court. At the proceedings, Canadian Environmental Law Association represented itself and six other public-interest groups, including the Canadian Council of Churches, Greenpeace of Canada and the Sierra Club of Canada. In 2002, the court ruled that higher life forms could not be patented in Canada.
It was a staggering success, said Ms. Clark. "For Michelle to have beaten the pharmaceutical industry, that was a signal victory and the organizing point around her life and her work."
It also lay at the root of her beliefs about justice, she said. "It works for you whether you're rich or you're poor, that's what the rule of law is. Michelle believed that very strongly&hellip that was the fight that she was always fighting."
In 2004, Ms. SWENARCHUK was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal for outstanding contributions.
Michelle SWENARCHUK was born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, on October 30, 1948. She died of cancer at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto on February 27, 2008. She was 59. She leaves daughter Larissa SWENARCHUK, brother Lauren SWENARCHUK, sister Bonnie ZWACK and parents Michael and Janet SWENARCHUK.

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ZWICKER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-04-10 published
ZWICKER, Linda Jane (September 16, 1944-April 10, 1993)
'…Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.' R.

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ZWOLMAN o@ca.on.grey_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2008-05-07 published
LINKLATER, Harold Fraser
Harold Fraser LINKLATER was born on October 1, 1917 in Teeswater, Ontario to Harvey and Gladys (née Mason FRASER) LINKLATER. He was the oldest of three brothers. Until his death all four of them were still living - I'm sure that is a record for four brothers who had survived World War 2. Harold died at 90 and all his brothers are in their 80s. His great-grandparents arrived in Canada from the Orkneys in Scotland in 1852 and some of his great-uncles had come to Canada with the Hudson's Bay Company. The family moved to Kincardine in August 1929 when his father Harvey bought the furniture store and funeral home from W.H.A. MORRISON. He worked helping his father from age 12, but really started that career in 1935 when he finished Grade 12. In 1937-38 he took courses at the Banting Institute and General Hospital in Toronto. At 19 he got his license as an undertaker but couldn't use it until he was 21. He married Nora Elizabeth DIMOND on November 20, 1940. In May 1940 he had joined the Canadian army. He went into Officer training in Brockville and between 1940 to 1943 he was stationed in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. In World War 2 he went overseas in June 1944 before the invasion of France and stayed there until the fall of 1946. He was in the 19th Self-Propelled Regiment. He was a Captain by the time the war ended. His daughter Elizabeth Ann was born in 1949 and son John Douglas in 1951. He was a Rover Scout and became a cub and scout leader. He was on the Kincardine Public School Board for 10 years, belonged to the Rotary Club, the Kinsmen, the Masonic Lodge and was president of the Chamber of Commerce for two years and received an award. In 1970 he was chairman of the Old Boy's and Girls Reunion Committee and won the award of Citizen of the Year. He cherished the silver tray that he was given to him with that inscription. The award was reported in the London Free Press. Ballots were received from as far away as Michigan and from across the province. It was the largest number of ballots at that time and 70 percent voted for him. His pride and joy was the cottage he built on Crab Cove near Red Bay. He bought the lakefront property in 1952 for $350 and in 1953 he and his neighbour Ed HAGEDORN put up the frame. He worked both at the Linklater Funeral Home and the Linklater Furniture Store. From 1966 to 1974 he owned and operated the funeral business by himself. In 1974 at age 57 he sold the Funeral business although he helped the new owner in the summers for 4-5 years afterwards. In 1974 he and Nora bought a place in Lakeland, Florida and started going there in the winters in 1975. Nora died on his birthday, October 1, 1988 after a 48-year marriage. He married Helen Emma HAYES (née COULSON) of Saint Thomas and Lakeland, Florida on July 22 1989. He and Helen lived at the cottage until September 2000 and in Owen Sound since then. They wintered in Lakeland until 1995 when Harold got cancer of the jaw. He survived that as he did a heart attack, strokes, blindness, and several operations. He was tenacious and had a tremendous will to live through all of these ailments until April 2008 when he accepted he was failing. Perhaps being a funeral director had given him this will to live because he had to live with death around him for so many years. Harold is survived by his beloved wife Helen, his daughter Elizabeth (Liza) and her husband James TROTTIER of Manila, Philippines, his son Douglas (Doug) of Red Bay, his grandchildren Jesse and Dane of Barrie, his brothers Ken (and Reita) of Kincardine, Bryce (and Alma) of Jarvis and Gordon (and Joan) of Toronto, and his former daughter-in-law, Dianne LINKLATER of Kincardine; his step-family Helen (and Bert) WRAY of Durham and their children Marla (and Lee) ZWOLMAN of Milton, Kevin and David WRAY; and to Marg NICHOL (and Gerald) of Brampton, Donald FINDLAY (and Teresa) of Campbell River, British Columbia and William FINDLAY (and Gazelle) of Winnipeg; as well as everyone's children and many grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren. Heartfelt thanks and affection are extended to dearest Helen, Helen and Bert WRAY of Durham, Fern and Ken FYNN, Linda CRANDALL and Ab LIPSETT and Mary VAN TRIGT, all of Owen Sound for their loving care and assistance over the last years. A memorial service took place on Monday May 5 at the Kincardine cemetery and was followed by a reception at Knox Presbyterian Church. Arrangements were made by Harold's friend Tom WHITCROFT of the Thomas C. Whitcroft Funeral Home and Chapel in Sauble Beach. Donations can be made to the charity of your choice.

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