Apology of Mr. Justice Ian Binnie
Supreme Court of Canada / Cour suprême du Canada
March 11, 1998
Dean Marilyn Pilkington
Osgoode Hall Law School
4700 Keele St.
North York, Ont.
Dear Dean Pilkington:
In my remarks to the Phi Delta Phi initiation banquet I made an off-the-cuff remark for which I want to apologise. As I was reading aloud to the assembled members from the official Phi Delta Phi booklet on Ritual I stumbled across what struck me as an amusing statement in the text:
"The use of the Fraternity flag, wigs, candles and dramatic lighting will vary depending on the setting, character and tradition of the Inn."
The reference to wigs, candles, etc. put me in mind of rather similar language I had read years ago in the Globe & Mail in a theatre review of the Stratford Festival by Dennis Braithwaite, the Globe’s highly regarded theatre critic of the day, who characterized a particular production of MacBeth as a "faggoty dress-up party". The expression popped out last Saturday without any reflection on my part about its precise signification. I don’t consider the word "faggoty" to be appropriate, nor is the pejorative attitude that lies behind it acceptable, nor do I subscribe to it. Sometimes, as here, expressions that stick in your mind lose their original edge and significance with the passage of time. Individuals are deserving of equal consideration and respect and I certainly regret the fact that what was intended to poke fun at Phi Delta Phi was taken literally by some of the students.
Mr. Justice Ian Binnie
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