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frontier of Prince George, where he began his career in law. In 1963 he
served as a public relations consultant for the Vancouver firm of Public
Industrial Relations Ltd. During these years Allan apparently impressed the
person who became the formative influence in his life, Victor Dryer, who
would then draft Allan to assist him in a task that would in turn form and
shape Allan’s interest in labour relations.
After the Norris Commission completed its inquiry into the activities of
the Seafarers International Union, Victor Dryer was named to head the
Board of Maritime Union Trustees in Montreal. He in turn named Allan as
the executive director to run the union. The two years (1964 and 1965) Allan
spent working with Victor Dryer were in many ways the formation of the
lawyer he became.
Upon his return to Prince George, Allan joined in the practice of law with
Les Cashman (who was later appointed to the County Court in Nanaimo)
and Jack Heinrich (who later became an MLA and the Minister of Labour).
The firm of Cashman, Hope and Heinrich was formed in 1966 and subsequently
became Hope, Heinrich and Hansen. Over the next 15 years Allan
honed his courtroom skills and became well known throughout the
province for his talent, sense of fair play, compassion and common-sense
approach to law. In later years, as mentioned earlier, he practised almost
exclusively in the field of labour arbitration and was regarded as among the
finest to come out of British Columbia in those turbulent years.
Allan was in many ways the traditional lawyer and in all respects his
career was a classic example of a man who lived the traditions and values
of the law. In addition to the law he practised and the clients he represented,
he contributed to the profession itself and the public it represents.
Yet while doing this Allan was anything but traditional; indeed, some
thought him eccentric, and he was not shy. In addition to his quick mind he
was armed with an equally quick wit and ready sense of humour.
There are many stories about Allan. Many are true, and many have at
least a kernel of truth within them. Two examples: First, on one occasion a
grateful client who had a very successful result presented Allan with a beautiful
desk set that was engraved: “To the Greatest Lawyer in Canada”. After
examining the inscription, Allan observed, “I resent the territorial restriction.”
Second, while serving as the chairman of an arbitration board that
was involved in considering a problem of mandatory retirement, Allan was
faced with competing decisions by his two panel members, Hugh Ladner
and Steven Kelleher, each in different directions. When asked whether he
agreed with Ladner or Kelleher, Allan replied, “I really don’t understand
your question because surely there is a third point of view.”