126 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 1 JANUARY 2018
ney General’s office in Victoria. One of his first briefs involved his “spending
part of the winter of 1981 in Fort St John in northern BC, representing
the government at the BC Utilities Commission hearings into BC Hydro’s
proposal to build a dam on the Peace River in a place called Site C”.
The balance of part II follows Hughes’s progression from Deputy Attorney
General under Attorneys General Brian Smith and Bud Smith, to his
appointment as B.C.’s first Conflict of Interest Commissioner. Ironically, the
appointment was fatefully approved by then premier Bill Vander Zalm.
Each chapter offers examples of Hughes’s tenacious approach to investigation
and fearless decision making. McInnes delves into scandals related
to Peter Toigo and the Expo lands; the missteps of Minister of Tourism and
provincial secretary Bill Reid (“The Blue Box Scandal”); and Hughes’s two
rounds with Vander Zalm, the first over Fantasy Gardens and the second
involving Hughes’s defamation suit to rectify Vander Zalm’s defamatory
comments about Hughes in Vander Zalm’s self-published autobiography.
Part II concludes with Hughes’s version of events surrounding the Glen
Clark –led government’s attempt to abruptly replace Hughes as Conflict of
Interest Commissioner in 1996.
Part III of The Mighty Hughes offers the story of what is perhaps Hughes’s
most important work, under the title “Canada and First Nations”. Because
the events described are most fresh in the minds of today’s readers, there is
much to be gained from Hughes’s experience and his many recommendations
for meaningful change in the relationship between Canada and First
Nations, including the acute need for restoring health and prospects in the
lives of Indigenous children and their families.
The Mighty Hughes has been launched with much fanfare in
Saskatchewan and B.C. In order to attend a large and enthusiastic gathering
at the University of Saskatchewan in October 2017, Ted and Helen Hughes
got in their car and drove to and from Saskatoon. These are people of principle
and endurance. To learn of the value of their lives in the pages of this
book is a necessary education for all Canadians.
A return to the “praise” preface to The Mighty Hughes offers this commendation
from Vaughn Palmer of The Vancouver Sun:
We used to say that if Ted Hughes did not exist, we would have to invent
him. But as Craig McInnes makes clear in this remarkable biography, Ted
was his own invention—a public servant who established his credibility
and integrity case by case, year by year, making some of the toughest
judgment calls ever faced in this country.
Financial support for the writing and publication of The Mighty Hughes
was provided by the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan and the Law Foundation
of British Columbia.