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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 335 ON THE FRONT COVER JOSEPH J. ARVAY, Q.C. By Catherine Bois Parker and Murray Rankin Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C., has never let a binding precedent get in the way of a good argument. He has great respect for the law—but in his mind, the weight of authority is only as powerful as its ability to promote justice. And if the authority cannot be improved, Joe will simply work harder to find the right evidence that has never found its way to a court before. As a result, Joe’s advocacy can take courts, opposing counsel and those who work with him to places they have not really been before. It is always interesting. And often it is ground-breaking. When Joe led a talented team of lawyers to persuade a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada that the right to die with dignity deserved constitutional protection, he achieved something truly remarkable. But in many ways, that is just what we have come to expect from him. For someone who has made such a contribution to British Columbia, it must be acknowledged from the outset that Joe is a transplanted Ontarian, with Hungarian and Italian roots. He grew up in Welland, Ontario and does not come from a privileged background. He often talks about his cousin Vincie and the immigrant experience. As a child Joe’s lively and mischievous nature got him into trouble more than once. Even then, however, he was quite adept at making his case. His Uncle Aldo would tell Joe that he was “slicing the bologna pretty thin” when he tried to explain away his exploits. (Many judges may feel the same way now about some of the fine distinctions Joe draws in his arguments.) Nevertheless, there was a broad recognition among his friends that Joe was very, very good at arguing. That, and his admiration for Perry Mason, made law school the natural choice.


May Advocate 2017
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