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Alain Bégin sworn in as provincial court judge

Nova Scotia’s newest bilingual provincial and family court judge and former Truro lawyer Al Bégin, left, shares laughter with the audience as he gets lightly roasted by longtime friend and Truro solicitor Ron Chisholm, during a swearing-in ceremony on Friday.
Nova Scotia’s newest bilingual provincial and family court judge and former Truro lawyer Al Bégin, left, shares laughter with the audience as he gets lightly roasted by longtime friend and Truro solicitor Ron Chisholm, during a swearing-in ceremony on Friday.

TRURO, N.S. – Nova Scotia’s newest provincial judge brings a wealth of experience to the bench. And his friends will tell you some of it is even relevant.

With family, friends and legal peers looking on, a swearing in ceremony was held for Judge Alain (Al) Bégin Friday at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court building in Truro.

 “I think some might have thought that being a beekeeper, a chicken farmer, a vineyard operator, commercial property developer, newspaper columnist … these would not be typical routes that you would chart as a path to the bench,” lawyer and longtime friend Ron Chisholm said, during the ceremony.”

Chisholm added he’s confident Bégin is well placed among the provincial court judges.

“I think they’re all going to be turning to him when there’s some really difficult decisions to make. Like what wine goes best at the office? Or, maybe, what wine’s got the best nose for a complex brief?” he said.

“I’m sure Al is going to be a valued resource and a welcome addition to the after-hours bench.”

All kidding aside, however, Bégin was lauded by several speakers for his many qualities and selfless community contributions, through to his duty counsel work for unrepresented individuals in the court and his pro bono work for inmates at the Nova Institution for Women.

“We know you will be a credit to the judiciary,” Chisholm concluded.

With family, friends and legal peers looking on, a swearing in ceremony was held for Judge Alain (Al) Bégin Friday at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court building in Truro.

 “I think some might have thought that being a beekeeper, a chicken farmer, a vineyard operator, commercial property developer, newspaper columnist … these would not be typical routes that you would chart as a path to the bench,” lawyer and longtime friend Ron Chisholm said, during the ceremony.”

Chisholm added he’s confident Bégin is well placed among the provincial court judges.

“I think they’re all going to be turning to him when there’s some really difficult decisions to make. Like what wine goes best at the office? Or, maybe, what wine’s got the best nose for a complex brief?” he said.

“I’m sure Al is going to be a valued resource and a welcome addition to the after-hours bench.”

All kidding aside, however, Bégin was lauded by several speakers for his many qualities and selfless community contributions, through to his duty counsel work for unrepresented individuals in the court and his pro bono work for inmates at the Nova Institution for Women.

“We know you will be a credit to the judiciary,” Chisholm concluded.

That sentiment was echoed by Chief Justice Michael MacDonald who said Bégin’s “wealth of experience,” military leadership and overall broad range of interests will well serve those who come before him in the courts.

“So, we are indeed lucky to have someone with your experience, your energy, your dedication as a member of the judiciary.”

Addressing the courtroom audience, Bégin thanked those assembled, paying recognition to his “mom” Cecile, wife Jill Linquist and sons Patrick and Cameron.

New provincial court Judge Al Bégin appears reflective while listening to comments from his peers during his official robing ceremony.

Emotion was evident in Bégin’s voice as he made special mention of his father, Jack – the person to whom his appointment “would have meant the most” but who could not attend for medical reasons.

“So he is completely unaware of what his youngest son was able to accomplish,” Bégin said.

But as one known for his own deft sense of humour, Bégin hinted his appointment to the bench was essentially a foregone conclusion.

“I must say, I’ve known this day was coming since 1995,” he said.

During the process of finishing up his articling, Bégin said, his naiveté of the day shone through while he was placing his first order for court attire.

“I told them I was ordering my judicial clothes,” he said. He was shocked when the package arrived “addressed to Judge Bégin.”

Turning to Minister of Justice and Attorney General Diana Whalen, Bégin generated more laughter by concluding with how much he appreciates his new role as provincial/family court judge.

“I am truly enjoying being a judge and I must say, Minister Whalen, we should have done this years ago.”

ABOUT JUDGE ALAIN BÉGIN

Born in Cold Lake, Alta.

Attended high school in Toronto.

Graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., 1986. Served two years in the reserves and eight in regular naval service prior to entering law school.

Graduated from the University of Ottawa Law School, 1994.

Called to the bar in 1995 in Truro.

Partner in the McLellan, Richards & Bégin law firm since 2000.

Served as a lawyer in Truro for 22 years

Named to the judicial bench, September 2016.

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