886 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
During the ’80s Carolyn worked for Legal Aid as a legal aid lawyer in Vancouver
advising financially disadvantaged clients (especially refugees and
immigrants) on human rights, civil liberties and telecom and utilities matters.
From time to time she was the acting manager of the Vancouver office.
Mark Benton, Q.C., recalls her contribution to legal aid in the province: she
consistently directed her time and efforts “to make justice work” and did not
just process clients. She was always engaged and looked for better ways to
reach a favourable outcome for her clients, she was dedicated to improving
the capacity of communities, and she was a leader.
From 1990 to 1992 and then from 2006 to 2013 Carolyn was a full-time
member of the Immigration and Refugee Board and was selected in the latter
period to be the assistant deputy chair of the Refugee Division. Her colleagues
described her as highly motivated, personable and dedicated.
Most exceptionally, in 1999, Carolyn was asked by the federal government
to go to Kosovo for three years for the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe mission there as one of the nine directors, first as
the director for the Mitrovica region in the north of Kosovo and later as the
director of democratization in Pristina, a Kosovo-wide position. Her work
included attempts to integrate institutions on a multi-ethnic basis, support
for the development and operation of governments and institutions, and
involvement in the electoral process as deputy chair of the Central Election
Commission in 2001 and 2002. Her daughter came to Kosovo and assisted
her for five months; she helped document Carolyn’s work to bring about a
fair and acceptable first election for a democratic government in a country
where the Albanians and Serbs had been at war. Carolyn’s friend, Colleen
Leung, a filmmaker, had the acumen to realize the importance of Carolyn’s
work and became a producer of the 2002 National Film Board film entitled
Kosovo: Fragile Peace, directed and mostly filmed by Moira Simpson. (It can
be accessed online: <www.nfb.ca/film/kosovo_fragile_peace>.) It was
described as a rare glimpse into the frontlines of democracy building
through the eyes of a Canadian mother and daughter: “the Canadian lawyer
Carolyn McCool working to build bridges between the Kosovo Albanians
and Serbs while her 20-year-old daughter Kate travels with a musical road
show to generate grassroots support for the election among the youth”. Kate
spoke of this time as creating great bonds between her and her mother.
From 2003 to 2005 Carolyn worked as acting program director and consultant
in international affairs, primarily in Afghanistan, which included
being the head of the UN Development Fund for Women, now called UN
Women, to implement and guide its “Building Women’s Leadership in