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Former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry dead at 91

As attorney general under former Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis, Roland (Roy) McMurtry chaired the Ontario cabinet committee on race relations. McMurty, who died on Monday, was seen as a 'giant in his own right,' Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press - image credit)
As attorney general under former Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis, Roland (Roy) McMurtry chaired the Ontario cabinet committee on race relations. McMurty, who died on Monday, was seen as a 'giant in his own right,' Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Roland (Roy) McMurtry, former provincial attorney general and chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court, has died. He was 91.

McMurtry died Monday, said his son Jim McMurtry in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"My father fought for rights and freedoms," Jim wrote Tuesday morning. "I was the proudest son."

The Francophone Assembly of Ontario (AFO) said on X that it is "saddened" by McMurty's passing.

"He played a leadership role in the implementation of bilingualism in our courts of justice," the AFO said. "Rest in peace."

McMurtry was a lawyer for 17 years and was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1975, serving in that role until 1985. As attorney general under former Progressive Conservative premier Bill Davis, McMurtry chaired the Ontario cabinet committee on race relations. He was seen as a major advocate for human rights and a voice for issues face by the Black community.

McMurty was awarded the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour, in 2008.

Politicians took to X to share their condolences.

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey remembered McMurtry as someone who had an "unwavering commitment to justice, enduring impact in government, strong leadership, and for inspiring those in pursuit of a more just and equitable society."

McMurtry was a "wise leader at his very core," Downey said. "He left an impact on his community, his province, and his country. He was a giant in his own right."

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie shared her condolences.

"He was a true gentleman and played an important role in the great constitutional debates of the 1980s," she said.