Dr. Adelle Blackett named a Trudeau Fellow

Dr. Adelle Blackett named a Trudeau Fellow

When late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was campaigning in Montreal in 1968, Dr. Adelle Blackett was one of the random babies he greeted on a street corner in Cote des Neiges.

Last week, the law professor and McGill University William Dawson Scholar was named a Trudeau Fellow.

“This is an incredible honour for me,” said Blackett told. “My parents came to Canada as immigrants in the 1960s and the message that Trudeau sent, certainly about an open and inclusive society actively engaged in the world, is one that really resonated with me.”

Blackett’s parents, John who died in 1994 at age 75 and Muriel, migrated from Barbados.

As a legal scholar, her work has focused on human rights and labour law domestically and abroad.

“On the labour law connection, I recall that Trudeau actively supported workers during the 1949 Asbestos strike in Quebec and wrote a book about it,” said Blackett who led a multi-stakeholder labour law reform process in Haiti for three years up until 2014.

Her Trudeau Fellowship will focus on Canada’s contributions to social justice in the work world and transnational futures of international labour law.

“I am quite interested in looking at the working conditions of factory workers who produce many of the garments that we wear here in Canada,” said the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers 2015 Pathfinders Award recipient whose forthcoming book on the regulation of domestic work is under contract with Cornell University Press.

“My project objectives are to celebrate the role that the International Labour Organization (ILO), which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019, has played in its first century fostering social justice in the world of work while enjoying the challenges of the changing paradigm of work, move beyond the anecdotal to document and assess the changing and expansive use of international labour law, and convene leading stakeholders in Canada and abroad – from the ILO and beyond – to formulate recommendations on the basis of the legal mapping of transnational futures of international law.”

During the Second World War, the ILO – the United Nations oldest specialized agency – temporary relocated to McGill campus.

A liberal arts gold medal winner graduate of La Salle High School in Montreal, Blackett has taught labour and employment law, trade law, international development law, foundations of Canadian law and other courses at the faculty for the last 16 years. In 2009, the national assembly appointed her to the Quebec Commission on Human Rights and, a year later, she was the recipient of the prestigious Bora Laskin national fellowship in human rights research to pursue research in contemporary labour law.

Established in 2003, the Pierre Trudeau Fellowships encourage original initiatives and innovative projects that wouldn’t necessarily receive support through traditional funding mechanisms. Nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel, the fellows come from all disciplines of the humanities and human sciences and their research deals with one or more of the Trudeau Foundation’s four key themes -- human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada in the World and people and their natural environment -- that reflect central questions in Trudeau’s life and work.

In addition to receiving $225,000 over the next three years, the fellows will enjoy unique access to the rich intellectual network of researchers and practitioners who have joined the Trudeau Foundation in the last 14 years.

They include 2005 fellow Dr. George Elliott Clarke who is Canada’s parliamentary poet laureate.

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