THE ADVOCATE 911
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
Geoffrey appears to have thought that waiting to speak until he could articulate
full thoughts would give him an edge in debating matters of importance
with his parents/stepparents (his dad and stepmother are former
judges), his equally intelligent siblings (one sister, Sally, is now Gomery J.
of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice) and his friends.
Shedding light on Geoffrey’s reaction to the observation of Lord Sumption,
Sally advises that trying to out-argue Geoffrey was both impossible and
dangerous. When they were younger, she said she would drive Geoffrey
crazy by stubbornly refusing to acknowledge some fundamental and obvious
point.2 Sally also recalls the epic discussions Geoffrey had with his
father, now a retired justice of the Quebec Superior Court. Sally says these
“fights”, which began when Geoffrey was a teenager, were never about typical
adolescent bad behaviour, but about larger and fundamental societal
issues like whether vigilante justice could ever be justified within a society
that accepted the rule of law. Sally recalls one particularly heated debate
about whether shampoo was really necessary, though she notes, with a nod
to a recent family photo, that this debate has become academic for both
father and son.
Geoffrey has also always had a breathtaking ability to focus and to
quickly digest large quantities of written material. For example, while he
recognizes that flossing is an important part of oral hygiene, he nevertheless
multitasks, also recognizing that flossing time is still good reading time.
Sally also reports that as a child you could not get Geoffrey’s attention when
he was reading a book. Family lore has it that on a couple of occasions Geoffrey
started to get dressed in the morning while reading, only to lose track
of what he was doing and change back into his pajamas and get back into
bed. At NST, his ability to focus is similarly the stuff of urban legend.
Not surprisingly, Geoffrey is also a quick study. His mother advises that
when Geoffrey was three, his grandmother placed him in the car after he
had had a typical child’s meltdown in the grocery store. She told him to calm
down, which he promptly did. He was then brought back into the store.
Upon seeing another child having a similar meltdown, he calmly suggested
to his grandmother that if that child was put in a car he would likely stop
making a fuss. This aptitude for learning saw him through his mathematics
degree at college, law school at U of T, practice3 and a B.C.L. at Oxford.
There were other tell-tale signs of Geoffrey’s future in his early years. His
mother reports that Geoffrey’s birth was on time, something she and his dad
view in retrospect as unsurprising. This punctuality and an affinity for
order are best illustrated by Geoffrey’s regimented daily schedule, which
involves the same breakfast, a bike commute to the pool (12 minutes), a