John A. MacDonald: Your Friendly Criminal Lawyer

“I am writing this letter to the editorial in the Frontier News to express love for a very special of a member in our community, John A. Macdonald…”

“…a prominent figure of this town through his work and contributions to law and policy…”

“…he defends the worst criminals, why does he do it?”

“To be fair, I respect that he does the things no one else will do.”

“How DARE he! That man deserved the death penalty, and that silver tongued lawyer got him off almost scot free…”

I never saw myself ending up as a lawyer. I never saw myself spending my days scrambling to protect who most consider the scum of society. I never saw myself ending up here.

“John, you are my son. My only son. You will grow up to be a strong man, a great man… and Law is where you will learn the skills you need to become the man I know you can be.”


I never wanted to spend my days pushing paper and tearing up angry letters from grieving families. Unfortunately for me, my father is not a man to be refused. I swore to myself that I will one day be as much of a force of nature as he was in conversation.

“How do you propose, Mr. Macdonald, that this man, who murdered an entire family, escape the most final of judgements?”

“Your honour…”

I never realized how good I was in court. I never realized how much I hated losing. Most of all, I never realized exactly how flawed the system was, here in Canada. When I lose, and I often do, usually the accused is guilty. They’ve confided in me. But sometimes, I have to watch an innocent man go to jail, or worse, to death.

“Thank you John. You don’t know how much gratitude is in this mother’s heart for you, for sparing my son from a fate he did not deserve.”

Recently however, things have been changing. I haven’t lost a case in months, and I haven’t had an angry letter in weeks – to the contrary, in fact! I’ve had multiple letters expressing their admiration and support of my work.

There is a fire in me now.

I’ve seen first hand my own capacity for turning the tables on a court case.

I’ve seen first hand the many and terrible forms that injustice takes in my country.

I’ve seen first hand the ignorant and prejudiced laws that Britain enforces in our government, that I do not have the power to change.

That I do not have the power to change… yet.


“As a criminal lawyer who took on dramatic cases, Macdonald got himself noticed well beyond the narrow confines of the Kingston business community. He was operating now in the arena where he would spend by far the greatest part of his life – the court of public opinion. And, while there, he was learning the arts of argument and of persuasion that would serve him all his political life.” – from Biographer Richard Gwyn.


I love Canada with all my heart and soul. This land and it’s inhabitants are graced by God.

But we are in the shadow of Britain, and that I can no longer tolerate.

Here and now, I pledge that one day, I will see Canada free of it’s colonial chains to a far off island. Until that day, I will stand on guard for thee – for all of the patriots that share my vision for independence.


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