THE ADVOCATE 777
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
Williamson & Foster, with a cool office in Vancouver’s emerging Gastown
district. Prowse was Jo-Ann and Williamson was Paul.
I used to sit with Ian Wilkie for many of our section 4 lectures. I played
goal for the law school in UBC’s intramural hockey league. Ian, eleven hundred
rungs above me on the hockey ladder, was the goalie for the UBC
Thunderbirds. It may be true he’d played six exhibition games for the Montreal
Canadiens; it certainly is true he’d been drafted by the Canadiens and
that later, in the early- to mid-’70s, he’d played for teams in the World
Hockey Association. I have to admit to having been awestruck. Sadly, at
only 5'9"—a lot shorter than Ken Dryden—Ian never had a real chance at
making the NHL. He defaulted to a career as a solicitor in Toronto.
I was pretty small myself in those days, having spent the summer of 1971
as a logger at Alvin, B.C., north of Pitt Lake, in behind Black Tusk if you’re
en route to Whistler, and having lost over 50 pounds setting chokers on a
series of dangerously steep shows. (So steep and so dangerous were they
that’s my homage to Jan Morris! that I never told my parents what the job
actually entailed.) This was a time when the act of denuding forests for
profit was not as culturally sensitive as it is now. As a member of the I.W.A.,
I earned a top wage of $3.21 an hour. I was the only member of our mountainside
crew who’d never been in jail!
Maria Giardini was another of our section 4 classmates. She was a lovable
buzz saw, the champion of gregariousness. She knew everybody; she was
genuinely interested in everybody’s welfare; she tracked what was going on
everywhere; and she kept us all informed. When the first-year rankings
were released at the end of school—this was pre-privacy—she was on the
spot, reporting the results to my mother by phone before I’d heard them!
Maria’s report included the fact that section 4 had produced two of the four
top-ranked students in first year. (Of course that’s one more than would
have been expected statistically, thus tending to confirm our belief that section
4 had been unique.) Over time, Maria became a highly respected
labour lawyer and in 2006 she was appointed to the Provincial Court bench.
The peculiarity those of us in section 4 identified with couldn’t have
been dictated by the subjects the first-year class was being force-fed
because the curriculum was the same across the sections, or by the students
the section happened to trap because there were several dozen people in
the other three sections who had come to law school with remarkable backgrounds
and who proved from the start they belonged in law school and in
the legal profession. In that group, I include Mary Saunders, Joe Bellows,
Rick Peck, Karen Nordlinger, Tom Roper, Pat Haigh, Derek Brindle, Rick
Mahoney, Fraser Wilson and Linda Loo.