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VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
lowing graduation he practised criminal and civil litigation in and around
Chilliwack until his appointment as a Provincial Court judge in 1999.
Tom is married to Brenda Crabtree, a much-respected artist of Nlaka’pamux
and Sto:lo ancestry who is a cultural anthropologist and director of
Aboriginal programs at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He and
Brenda are the proud parents of two adult children, Andrew and Katelyn,
both of whom are successful lawyers practising in Vancouver.
Tom loves to read and travel. He is an unapologetic foodie and a man
with a sophisticated appreciation of good wine. He is an outstanding raconteur
and is blessed with a marvellous sense of humour. Tom’s descriptions
of some of the arguments he has had with the impatient, disembodied
voices that emanate from onboard GPS units while driving rented vehicles
in Italy on vacation leave most listeners in stitches, gasping for air.
Tom’s legacy at the Provincial Court is a most remarkable one. Some of the
main points have already been mentioned but a little more detail is in order.
Tom was, both before his appointment as chief judge and after it, a powerful
proponent of continuing judicial education for Provincial Court
judges. Only a few highlights of his achievements in this realm can be
recorded here in the space available.
He was a member of the Education Committee of the Provincial Court
Judges’ Association of B.C. from an early time in his judicial career, and he
chaired that committee from 2004 through 2008. He has also sat as a governor
of the National Judicial Institute (“NJI”) and was actively involved as an
instructor and facilitator at orientation programs offered by NJI annually to
newly appointed provincial court judges across Canada.
The Honourable Justice Adèle Kent, executive director of the NJI,
describes Tom as “a passionate supporter of judicial education both for the
members of his court and judges across Canada” and “a leader in bringing relevant
education in substantive law, judicial skills and social context to the
judges of the Provincial Court”. Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve of the Ontario
Court of Justice agrees, saying: “The Canadian judiciary benefitted not only
from Justice Crabtree’s inspired and innovative leadership of the NJI and
Canadian Council of Chief Judges, but also from his ability to quietly and
capably teach small groups of new judges about, for example, the ins and outs
of managing a courtroom. So many have benefitted from his contributions.”
Tom’s time on the Provincial Court, particularly as chief judge, will also
be remembered as a time when the court turned a corner in its approach to
Indigenous litigants. As has been briefly noted, throughout he has been
especially committed to ensuring that the court deals with Indigenous litigants
who appear before it in a sensitive and properly informed way. He has