THE ADVOCATE 123
VOL. 80 PART 1 JANUARY 2022
By R.C. Tino Bella
The Honourable Judge Martin Nadon
Judge Martin Nadon likes to say he took the long
route to law.
The Nadon family lore is that young Martin was
determined to become a lawyer from an early age. If
true, Martin began his slow sojourn toward a legal
career on a different path, with an initial attraction to
the trades. At age 12, he was apprenticed in his
uncle’s sheet metal and gas fitting business. After
many years of working for his uncle, reputedly a rather exacting mentor,
and just a few months shy of getting his ticket, Martin decided that particular
trade was not for him. Though difficult to identify precisely, those who
know him best think it may well have been those early working years that
galvanized what became the hallmarks of his character: resilience, a sense
of humour and a firmly entrenched disregard for overreaching authority.
Martin’s next hope for cementing his fortunes was with Local 168, the
Tunnel and Rock Workers Union. Though his experience with Local 168 gave
him the opportunity to perfect some unique skills for life in the North—cooking
steaks on your engine block en route to the next job and using the open
flame of a camp stove under your oil pan to get the diesel flowing on cold
mornings—the work was not quite what was he was looking for. After a few
years, Martin was contemplating a different direction for his life.
In his early 20s, he headed to what was then Mount Royal College in Calgary.
His first foray into post-secondary education was short-lived: it was soon
apparent that his studies interfered with some seemingly more important
leisure pursuits, primarily downhill skiing. Relatedly, it was shortly after giving
up his post-secondary education at Mount Royal that Martin had his first
opportunity to see the criminal justice system at work. Martin and a high
school friend were reasonably accomplished downhill skiers, good enough to