428 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 3 MAY 2019
Rafe articled to Tom Griffiths, a lawyer he described as someone the “‘old
boys’ hated because he used juries to relieve their fat-cat insurance companies
of their ill-gotten gains”.
Rafe worked as a lawyer in Vancouver until he moved to Kamloops,
where he set up practice with his classmate Jarl Whist, who had unsuccessfully
run campaigns against the Tories for the federal seat. In 1970 Rafe set
up his own firm, achieving public notoriety for his ultimately successful
defence of an accused who was dancing bottomless at Friar Tuck’s. Rafe said
that the notoriety from that case resulted in a request that he run for Kamloops
council, which he did successfully in 1973. He secured the nomination
provincially for the Socred Party and in December 1975 was elected an
MLA and was immediately appointed by Premier Bill Bennett to be Minister
of Consumer Affairs. During his time as an MLA, he served as Minister of
Health and Education and also served as Minister of the Environment,
where he was in part responsible for preventing the Skagit Valley from
During his tenure as a Cabinet minister, working with Tex Enemark, Rafe
participated in the significant reform and modernization of the liquor, beer
and wine industries and the regulation of those industries.
He loved politics but decided that 1979 was to be his last election. Rafe
held the Kamloops seat until he retired in 1981.
Rafe got into radio initially in 1974 when he filled in for Ben Meisner on
the Talk Back show in Kamloops, when the regular host overstayed his holiday.
While in politics he had appeared regularly on popular talk shows of
the day hosted by the likes of Gary Bannerman, Jack Webster and Pat
Burns. At Webster’s suggestion Rafe pursued talk radio and was hired by
Jim Pattison at CJOR to take over the morning show from the legendary
Pat Burns. His station was unable to top the ratings of Top Dog CKNW, with
its illustrious cast which included Bryan “Frosty” Forst and sportscaster Al
Davidson. Rafe was eventually fired in 1984 but later that year was hired
to do the midnight show at CKNW. To amuse his late-night listeners he regularly
had a feature called “Sexual Trivia” where people would call in with
amusing anecdotes; however, Rafe never mastered the kill button and
didn’t know whether to wait six seconds and hit the button or hit the button
and wait six seconds. As a result, only the appropriate comments were
When Expo 86 arrived Rafe did the evening show from the Expo site.
From 1986 to 1991 he covered the exciting Vander Zalm years as the lead
celebrity at CKNW. As a broadcaster he was a vocal participant in the Meech
Lake and Charlottetown debates that consumed the country and was recog-