THE ADVOCATE 235
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
the first night Joe was back in town, and the other guy was John Smith.”
I suggested to them that if Joe elected a trial by jury there might not be
a conviction and both slowly nodded their heads in agreement.
Q: Give us one entertaining courtroom anecdote. Just one.
A: I was doing chambers in Smithers. In a difficult matrimonial case the
wife applied for the return of two rifles. “Is that really wise? Where are
the rifles?” “The RCMP have them.” “What do the RCMP say?” “They
consent.” “Why does she need them?” “She needs to get her elk.” I
looked at the court clerk. She was nodding in agreement. Even the court
clerk agreed the wife should be allowed the opportunity to get her elk.
The wife got the rifles.
Q: Did I say “one”? I meant “two”.
A: Well, continuing the same theme, I was again doing chambers, this time
in Quesnel. A lawyer burst in and interrupted a chambers application.
Both of those lawyers sat down. The interrupting lawyer said, “I need
an ex parte injunction.” “What for?” “The wife is threatening to unplug
the freezer. If she does that, we lose the moose.”
I’ll throw in a bonus anecdote, one that doesn’t refer to hunting. I was
in chambers in Nelson, hearing a foreclosure application. The self-
represented respondent told me that she couldn’t get her mortgage payments
up to date “because I was dealing with the bank, and then the file
left human hands and went to the lawyers.”
Q: Are there any good lines from any of your judgments? My personal
favourite is the third-time bankrupt whom you described as being a
“SARS-like presence in the local economic community”.2
A: Well, let me say at the outset that I tried to restrain myself from using
self-indulgent humour as much as possible. The Advocate picked up on
one of my judgments and riffed on it a bit.3 It was a case where a plaintiff
had applied to strike a very bare-bones statement of defence. Of that
defence I said: “It is a triumph in minimalism that would gladden the
heart of John Cage.”4 In another case, a foreclosure matter, a large GST
obligation was missed at multiple stages by multiple people. In my reasons
I said, “This surely is the case that launched a thousand slips.”5
Q: What would you say are the most notable differences in legal practice
between 1998 (the year of your appointment) and 2019 (the year of your
A: When I started, my role was primarily deciding things. The advent of
JCCs and TMCs and the like made the job involve much more case management
and mediation rather than decision making. Also, there was a