Death of George SPRINGATE, Honourary Member RCMPVA


Notice of Passing

This message is being sent to all members of the Association

Dear Association Members,

A truly intriguing individual has departed this life.  Judge Springate had an incredible life moving from being a Montreal Police Officer to being, in 2008 appointed as Canada’s Senior Citizenship Judge for a 5 year term.  He was a football player, a politician, a CBC sportscaster, a teacher in civil and criminal law and in 1989 was made a member of the Order of Canada.

He was also a huge supporter of the Force.  Following these notes is included his obituary notice (thankyou to Ralph Mahar for putting this together).  In the notice you will see a link to a speech that Judge Springate gave regarding the RCMP.  It is a short film that you will not soon forget.

Prior to the obituary I would also like to include remarks from the President of Okanagan Division, Allan Speevak on his relationship with Judge Springate.

James Forrest
Director of Communications
RCMP Veterans’ Association

President Speevak’s Remarks:

Not sure how many other veterans may have known George Springate or been influenced by him, but it may be of interest to share some of those memories, as I was not aware that many of his students went on to join the RCMP and succeeded to management positions in the Force. For info, in this regard, I was with George during our years at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia).  George was absolutely tireless and was getting his BA while working full time with the Montreal Police Department.  One amusing note, George and I were in a 4th year, Public Administration class together, that was held on a Friday night (of all times to hold a university class).  At the break one Friday evening, we went down to a public coffee shop and got our professor a coffee, but had it spiked with a bit of liqueur; we had a great class after that! During this time he managed to get into more regular working hours with Montreal PD by taking a move to Crime Prevention, and was able to complete his Bachelor’s degree and move on to Law Studies at McGill University.    When he graduated in Law, he and the Montreal PD parted company, and thereafter he took on a political challenge.  George had grown up in Ville St Henri area of Montreal, one of the poorest communities, and he ran for Provincial election for that area, defeating a very long standing MNA, which was one of his early career feats! I had gone on to start my law enforcement career by joining what became in 1969, the Royal Hong Kong Police.  In 1967, George had an item put into the Montreal Gazette, how a local boy made good, and was an Inspector now with the Hong Kong Police. I had only very infrequent contact with George after that period, and by then he had started the Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice program at Sir John Abbott College on the Lakeshore of Montreal.  But George certainly made a great impact anyone who worked with him,    

Alan Speevak

George Philip Gregory SPRINGATE

1938 – 2019

George Philip Gregory Springate

C.M., B.A., BCL, LL.B., LL.D.
1938 – 2019

Honorary Member
RCMP Veterans’ Association
Ottawa Division

Obituary and Condolences

Much-loved George Springatepassed away on November 20, 2019 at age 81, with his cherished wife of 35 years, Judy, at his side.

Beloved brother of Ruth Ditchburn and Joy, Arnold and Gordon Springate, fondly remembered uncle, and devoted friend to countless others.

The son of immigrants, Walter Springate and Eleanor Woodhouse, George was a fluently bilingual and very proud Canadian. He enjoyed a multi-faceted career spanning 63 years. This included 11 years as a Montreal police officer, while simultaneously earning a BA (Sir George Williams) and two law degrees (McGill). He was later awarded two honourary Doctor of Laws (University College of Cape Breton, Concordia University).

An MNA for 3 terms (1970-1981), he was also a kicker for the Montreal Alouettes, playing on the 1970 Grey Cup team. He co-founded the Police Technology Department at John Abbott College (1973), teaching criminal law and evidence for 33 years.

He served as a Canadian citizenship judge (1999-2013), the last five years as Canada’s Senior Judge. A gifted communicator, he appeared regularly on radio, TV and in Canadian newspapers, and was best-known for his dynamic speeches outlining minority rights during the Quebec language debates on Bill 22 and Bill 101 and his passionate defense of Canada in the 1980 and 1995 Quebec referendums.

George was a superb fundraiser, raising millions for many charitable organizations. He received numerous honours, including Member of the Order of Canada, The Lester B. Pearson Award for exceptional contributions to Canadian unity, the Molson’s Pioneer’s Circle for extraordinary contributions to the handicapped, the Quebec Society for Disabled Children as an outstanding benefactor and governor, the RCMP for his outstanding contributions to Canadian police education, and the City of Montreal, which named a 23-acre park in Pierrefonds after him, The George Springate Sports Centre.

George was truly a unique Canadian, who touched so many in a very positive way. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him!

No funeral or memorial service is planned.

Donations to the Cancer or the Palliative Care divisions of the Ottawa Hospital in his memory would be most appreciated.

George Springate was acclaimed “Honorary Veteran” by Ottawa Division of the RCMP Veterans’ Association due to his tireless support of the RCMP and his collaboration on many or our initiatives including: Guest Speaker at Regimental Dinners, and annual RCMP Veterans’ / Denniston Bone Marrow Golf Classics.  

During his period of teaching Police Technology at John Abbott College, he encouraged and recruited many of his graduating students to join the RCMP.  Indeed several of his students succeeded to senior management positions within the RCMP, including some who have retired very recently. 

George Springate was a long time Friend and Mentor to many serving Members and RCMP Veterans.

Tribute to a “Great Canadian”

Retired Citizenship Judge and Honorary RCMP Veteran speaking at the dedication of the Memorial Flame at the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery at Beechwood, Ottawa, Ontario – Oct 23, 2017

Click here to watch the video:

Distributed to Division Presidents and Secretaries.  
Further distribution at the discretion of Divisions.

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