124 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 1 JANUARY 2018
The overleaf of the cover of The Mighty Hughes reads:
The Mighty Hughes tells the story of this remarkable man—a Canadian
hero in every sense of the word—and how he became the lion Canadians
needed him to be when the credibility of our political system was on the
line. Veteran journalist Craig McInnes paints a detailed portrait of
Hughes’ life and career, drawing on extensive interviews with Hughes
himself, his wife, Helen—a formidable force of social justice in her own
right—and numerous colleagues past and present. In our politically
divided world, Ted Hughes’ brand of fair and humanitarian leadership is
exactly what we need in public life today.
McInnes is a veteran reporter, editor and writer. His long newspaper
career includes 18 years with The Globe and Mail and 14 years with The
Vancouver Sun, where he wrote extensively about public policy issues. He
lives in Victoria, B.C., as does Ted Hughes.
McInnes’s initial success in the writing of this biography was in his assistance
to Paul Fraser, Q.C., the present Conflict of Interest Commissioner for
B.C., in persuading a reluctant Hughes to cooperate in the writing of the
book. Once the task of writing began, McInnes was given access to Hughes’s
voluminous written records and “notes to file”, which offered Hughes’s contemporaneous
understanding of events and his views on those events and
of the people involved with them. The records are candid and thorough.
It is evident that in the course of his interviews with Hughes, McInnes
gained the trust of his subject. Hughes is quoted extensively, both from his
records and writings, and from his conversations with the author. This intimacy
allows the reader to gain a tangible sense of Hughes’s candour, his
humour and his distaste for those whom he has fairly concluded have
breached the public’s trust.
McInnes also captures Hughes’s appreciation of the great responsibility
assumed by individuals who pursue a public life and who are charged with
the responsibility of making very difficult decisions. This understanding is
reflected in the “praise” section that precedes the title page of The Mighty
Hughes. Included in the tributes to the book and its subject is the following
entry written by administrative lawyer and Conflict of Interest Commissioner
for Yukon and the Northwest Territories, David Phillip Jones, Q.C.:
Craig McInnes’ biography of Ted Hughes provides engaging insight into
Ted’s life, career and unshakeable reputation for integrity, wisdom,
sound advice, the ability to untangle other people’s messes, and his belief
in the value of politicians, good government and the dignity of all individuals.
The Mighty (and Fearless) Hughes is the model and high benchmark
for all independent adjudicators in the country.
The body of The Mighty Hughes follows a linear path tracing the life of Ted
Hughes. However, it begins with an introduction that describes a celebra-