THE ADVOCATE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 15
MIRIAM KRESIVO, Q.C.
By Monika Gehlen
The template for Advocate profiles is well known: (1) hardscrabble
childhood, (2) early signs of extraordinary intelligence
and character, (3) impressive legal career, (4) significant
contributions to the profession, (5) equally significant contributions
to the community, (6) athletic prowess (or maybe not), and (7)
despite all that, humility and a well-rounded personality.
With an uncharacteristic lack of originality, Miriam Kresivo, Q.C.,—the
new president of the Law Society of British Columbia—follows that template
to a T.
Born in Montreal, Miriam grew up on Saint Urbain Street. The squalidness
of the street, which ran through the heart of the Jewish immigrant area in
the 1940s and 50s, was famously captured in Mordecai Richler’s novels. The
reality was not romantic.
Both of Miriam’s parents were Jewish holocaust survivors. Both had been
interned in concentration camps and had lost most of their families during
the war. They met at a displaced persons’ camp in Austria after the war and
in 1948 came to Canada as refugees. The central horror of her parents’ lives
threw deep shadows over Miriam’s childhood.
Miriam’s parents spoke no English when they arrived in Canada. They
had no skills. Miriam’s mother was illiterate, something she hid from others
all her life. Both parents worked in the schmatta (clothing) trade in factories
on Montreal’s east side. One thing they knew for sure: they wanted a good
education for their two daughters.