906 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
A rare aspect of Craig’s practice was that he had broad expertise in criminal
law and Charter issues in addition to tax law. This meant litigating
issues relating to search and seizure legality, admissibility of collected evidence,
adequacy of Crown disclosure and similar matters arising in the context
of tax evasion. In R. v. Ling, 2002 SCC 74, the issue requiring resolution
was to what extent the tax authorities could use their civil audit powers to
compel disclosure of information from a taxpayer, then use that information
to assist in the criminal investigation and prosecution of that taxpayer. The
Supreme Court drew a line to the detriment of Craig’s client. In addition to
being disappointed at losing the case, Craig more broadly viewed the judgment
as overly generous to the tax authorities in light of Charter principles
established in other areas of the law. He felt this was an example of the courts
wrongly treating tax law differently. In his view, tax was merely another body
of statutory law that established a contest between the individual and the
state and required the same oversight of Charter-based protections.
These 2002 cases were his last appearances before the Supreme Court of
Canada, as that court increasingly declined to hear many tax cases ex-
cept those considering the broad and imprecisely worded General Anti-
Avoidance Rule (“GAAR”). The legislative jelly that is the GAAR could not
be more at odds with Craig’s view of tax law. He correctly predicted that it
would ultimately decay into a confusing array of irreconcilable decisions
that demonstrate only that the GAAR had become nothing more than a
smell test based on the arbitrary sensibilities of the particular judge.
Outside of the courtroom, Craig enjoyed the respect of his partners and
made valuable contributions to the health of the Thorsteinssons partnership.
These contributions included mentoring young lawyers on his uncompromising
approach to the law and appropriate conduct within the firm, in the
bluntest terms if the situation called for it. Craig also adeptly contributed to
the resolution of difficult internal firm issues. He was a master mediator
because of the respect he commanded from all members of the partnership
and his ability to hear all sides of the issue before gently persuading those
holding opposing viewpoints toward a consensus meeting point.
Craig served in several non-lawyer capacities in various organizations
including as trustee of the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation. That foundation
has contributed generously to many Lower Mainland causes, but the
project that has Craig’s fingerprints all over it is the Innocence Project at
the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.
Establishing this project to assist the wrongfully convicted was a passion of
Craig’s and an extension of his view that our system of law works only if the
state is held accountable.