Law student earns $180,000 Trudeau prize

  • May. 18, 2011 5:00 p.m.

A University of Victoria PhD candidate was among 14 students to receive a $180,000-scholarship.

Earlier this week, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation awarded the prize to Johnny Mack, currently investigating how to reform the traditional socio-political and legal framework of the Nuu-chah-nulth people on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Mack, who hails from Nuu-chah-nulth territory, is in UVic’s graduate program in law and society.

He was relieved and encouraged after hearing the news, one month after his interview with the foundation in Montreal.

In addition to the financial prize, Trudeau scholars – experts in environmental law, international affairs, responsible citizenship, or human rights and dignity issues – are matched with leaders in both academic and non-academic settings as mentors.

“What sets them apart from other scholarships is the fact they pour all of this effort into pairing scholars up with people who are working in policy circles and working in the grass roots, trying to make a difference in the country,” Mack said. “For us, as scholars, it’s hard to make those connections because (we’re) so involved in (our) research.”

The scholarship will allow Mack, also the father of a newborn, to continue his field work by covering living and travel expenses, including the cost of attending several Trudeau scholar events.

John Borrows, professor in the UVic faculty of law, lauded Mack’s understanding of Nuu-chah-nulth law and his ability to draw together ideas that, Borrows says, will change how law is practised in Canada.

“Johnny is a very humble and unassuming person,” he said. “But underlying his quiet demeanour lies a great passion for justice and fairness in the world, particularly as it relates to Indigenous peoples.”

Three other UVic students have previously been awarded Trudeau Scholarships (Dawnis Kennedy of UVic Law in 2006, Andrée Boisselle of UVic Law in 2008 and Nathan Bennett of UVic Geography in 2010). Three UVic Law professors have been named Trudeau Fellows (inaugural fellow James Tully in 2003, Borrows in 2006 and Jeremy Webber in 2009).

The foundation was established in 2001 as a living memorial to former Prime Minister Trudeau by his family, friends, and colleagues.

In 2002, the Government of Canada endowed the foundation with a donation of $125 million following a unanimous vote in the House of Commons.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Peninsula Eagles will host Midget T2 provincial championships

Provincial championships will take place at Panorama Recreation March 15 to 19

UPDATED: Hit and run results in damaged fire hydrant, flooding on Richmond Road

Registered owner issued $360 ticket, responsible for repair costs

Saanich’s senior race car driver not slowing down

Bill Okell kicks off 2020 season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California on Feb. 21

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay Victoria man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Most Read