592 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
whether it offended community standards, Ted wrote, “I must say, my ideal
of law and justice as constant handmaidens has received a bit of a knock.”1
(He ruled that there is indeed a place for sex in cinema, when portrayed
with dignity, warmth and mutual respect, but The Stewardesses fell short of
The division of property in the Colin Thatcher divorce case was Ted’s last
judicial decision, and the first under Saskatchewan’s new Matrimonial Property
Act. After an acrimonious trial, Ted awarded JoAnn Thatcher half the
matrimonial assets, but before she ever received the benefit of that judgment,
she was hacked and shot to death. Her husband was convicted of her murder.
Craig McInnes’s book candidly recounts how Ted’s political connections
played into his initial judicial appointment and then to the events that
resulted in his leaving the bench—and Saskatchewan—in 1980. It’s a story
that caused Ted some pain to recollect, even decades later.
Like so many retirees from the Prairies, Ted and Helen found their way
to Victoria, though they were nowhere near ready for retirement. Ted found
a job as a legal officer in the administrative and constitutional branch of the
Ministry of Attorney General. Some eyebrows were raised at a former superior
court judge coming into such a role, but Ted was happy to have the job
and enjoyed appearing for the government before boards and tribunals.
After three years as a legal officer, his appointment as Deputy Attorney
General under Brian Smith marked the beginning of a new chapter in Ted’s
career and one of the stormiest periods in B.C. politics.
As Deputy AG, Ted led a major review of legal aid services, after the government’s
restraint program had led to serious funding cuts. Following
Ted’s report, essential funding was restored.
In 1987 Ted was again holding province-wide public hearings, this time
as chair of a justice reform committee. That report led ultimately to the
merger of the County Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
While chairing a public meeting of the justice reform committee, Ted was
summoned urgently back to Victoria where Premier Bill Vander Zalm’s
chief of staff waited to ask him whether police were investigating the premier’s
friend, Vancouver developer Peter Toigo. Attorney General Brian
Smith had refused to answer the question, and so did Ted. The resulting
furor led to the AG’s resignation, but when Bud Smith was appointed to
replace him, Ted remained.
The next firestorm began with an allegation that Tourism Minister Bill
Reid had funnelled lottery funds to some associates. It ended with another
Attorney General stepping down after the NDP’s justice critic released tapes
of phone calls between Bud Smith and a reporter about the Bill Reid matter.