232 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
Q: You were a forestry grad. What prompted your U-turn to a career in law?
A: I was working for the Forest Service in Williams Lake but spouse-to-be
Gail was still in Vancouver, at university. I received an alumni mailing
that mentioned an LSAT exam session, and I thought maybe I could kill a
year studying law as it might help my forestry career. I took the test and
did well. Obviously I changed plans about just taking one year of law.
Q: You practised for 21 years, then became a master. How and why did that
A: The firm I had been with disbanded. I was still enjoying practice, but I
didn’t want to be doing the same thing ten years hence, so I was looking
for other opportunities. I applied for the Prince George position and was
fortunate to get it.
Q: What was the legal scene like in Prince George back then?
A: First of all, I felt welcomed by the local bar, and they did not treat me
like a carpetbagger. There were some very good counsel in Prince
George—they would have been good anywhere—and I was able to get to
know them better than if I had been in the big city. At that time Prince
George was falling into a vicious recession, so I did a lot of foreclosures
and bankruptcies. The recession also affected me personally because
the assessed value of our house fell each year for five years in a row.
Q: You covered the Peace region and other places as well. How did that
A: I travelled to other locations once a week. These included the Peace
region (Fort St. John and Dawson Creek), as well as Smithers, Quesnel
and Williams Lake. For the first four years I drove to the Peace throughout
the year. The driving time to Fort St. John was five hours. My practice
of driving to the Peace from Prince George in wintertime ended
after one trip where I saw three wrecks on the road, two of which had
involved professional drivers. I felt it was only a matter of time before
that happened to me. After that, I flew to the Peace during the winter
months—this was when there was flight service from Prince George to
Q: Were others involved in accidents?
A: Every judge in Prince George, including Provincial Court judges, had at
least one accident. Two of them rolled their vehicles. One Supreme
Court judge only just avoided being hit by a dumped load from a logging
truck. On one trip back from Quesnel in 1998 my car hit black ice and
spun 360 degrees. I retrieved safety flares from my road kit—everyone
up there had one—and put them out to warn others.