2001 Community Service Awards
Recognizing exceptional community service
In February 1999, the Branch Executive Committee approved a Communications Committee proposal to provide recognition to one member from each county for their “exceptional contribution to the life and well-being of his or her community.” A call for nominations was released in the October issue of BarTalk, to all CBA members, BC media and MLAs. A selection committee was struck, composed of The Hon. H.A.D. Oliver, Conflict of Interest Commissioner; Drew Hasselback, National Post law reporter; Frances Statham, Ministry of Attorney General; Doug F. Robinson, QC, BC Branch Past President; and Mark Slay, BC Branch Communications Committee member. After careful review, six lawyers were chosen to receive the 2001 CBABC Community Service Awards, in recognition that the actions of individual lawyers reflect on the entire legal profession.
William Tierney Lane
Much of Mr. Lane’s lifetime of community service was shaped by his early involvement in the Community Planning Association of Canada (CPAC). After a decade of depression and World War II the federal government created CPAC to address the desire of Canadians to build attractive and functional cities. Mr. Lane became convinced that community planning was essential to achieve liveable and cost-efficient cities and towns. He devoted untold hours of volunteer time to taking this message to BC communities. As a result, Mr. Lane became active in a large number of groups, including private bodies and government agencies, the objectives of which were the orderly planning and development of communities, including liveability, appearance and quality of life.
Mr. Lane is deeply committed to the preservation of our heritage in historic and archaeological sites, and raising awareness of the value of this heritage to the community. He is a “Friends of the Vancouver City Archives” Past President and arranged for the “Friends” to be designated a charitable organization. The subsequently raised funds and donations have enabled the Archives to purchase equipment that expands public access to the Archives.
Mr. Lane has a long history of service to the Militia, which he actively served from 1952 to 1967 and then served in a supporting role, attending policy meetings and serving as Chair. He served as Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel from 1992-1998. Through his volunteering, Mr. Lane has provided a means of making the community, particularly young people, aware of our military history, and increasing opportunities for them to gain from participation in the Reserve Army, and ensuring the citizens of Vancouver have access as needed to the skills of the Unit.
Known as “Santa Levy” to his partners at Currie Hunter for his annual collections and personal delivery of food and other items for Christmas hampers, Paul Levy has earned the highest respect of colleagues in his business, personal and volunteer circles. He is an active fundraiser, board member and volunteer, involved in organizations as diverse as the St. Mary’s Foundation, Fraser River Discovery Centre, Canadian Jamaican Medical Assistance Society, Purpose Society and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Mr. Levy was an active member of the St. Mary’s Hospital Board for many years, and Chair of the Hospital Foundation since its inception five years ago. Friends at St. Mary’s remember a dogged advocate at a time when it looked like services at St. Mary’s were going to be cut back. “Paul is a good and thoughtful leader, with an outstanding sense of humour that has helped us get through some tough times,” says Karl Crosby, of St. Mary’s Hospital. “He’s been a blessing to the hospital – and an okay golfer too.”
His partners at McQuarrie Hunter are equally effusive: Marlene Scott, QC, Bob Crawford, QC and Kim Floeck have nothing but praise for the role he plays in the community: Ms. Scott says that Mr. Levy is “a man who uses soft words and hard arguments. He is blessed with many talents, and he uses those talents to make his community a better place in which to live.”
William E MacDonald
While Mr. MacDonald’s community contributions have ranged from service to the Rotary Club, the Naval Reserves and to the Comox Valley Yacht Club, it is his commitment to children that is so exceptional.
“Perhaps Bill’s most important community service has been his involvement in the Scouting movement for over 35 years and the impact he has had on kids over that time,” says Christopher Kelsey, who nominated Mr. MacDonald. “Bill has devoted hundreds of hours to the cause, and has endured many soggy and cold outings in pursuit of leading scouts both here and on the Lower Mainland.” For the record, Mr. MacDonald is active in Scouts Canada, and is the Chair, and a Troop Scouter, of the Second Courtenay Group. He is also a Past President of the Courtenay Youth Music Camp.
Mr. MacDonald is also the Secretary of the Princess Louisa International Society. The society is dedicated to preserving Princess Louisa Inlet as a park to be enjoyed by generations to come.
Victoria residents will recognize Ronald MacIsaac’s name, as he has long been affiliated with Shaw Community television through his television program.
Mr. MacIsaac’s broad range of volunteer commitments has focused on members of society who are disadvantaged or who have in some way been victimized.
Mr. MacIsaac has been a Past Governor or Director of: the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (Victoria); Mother’s and Others Against Drunk Drivers; the Skies Above Foundation; and Together Against Poverty. His volunteer work includes working at a high level with the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition and working as a member of both the BC Interministerial Committee on Child Sexual Abuse and the Victoria Child Sexual Abuse Association.
Irene G Peters
Linda Locke, who nominated Irene Peters, cited Ms. Peter’s “passion for making a difference in the community, particularly on behalf of women.”
Irene Peters has had a long involvement with the Terrace Women’s Association, providing them with the benefit of her legal expertise in workshops aimed primarily at economically disadvantaged women. She has written proposals and met with government officials for the association. “I believe Irene’s involvement with the Terrance group provided the impetus for the formation of the Prince Rupert Women’s Association, of which we are both founding members,” says Judith Kenacan, who nominated Ms. Peters. Irene Peters assumed a leadership role in the group that has a wide representation of women from the community. The group has had an impact on a board variety of issues affecting women, including politics, health, art and education. During the last civic election in Prince Rupert the group canvassed all candidates on their views affecting women and published the results in the local newspaper. The group also hosted monthly luncheons with speakers on health issues affecting women.
Organizing and providing educational sessions is another area of commitment for Ms. Peters. “Through her volunteer work with public legal education courses; People’s Law School presentations in Terrace and Prince Rupert; High School and Community College work; and multicultural workshops, Ms. Peters has contributed a great deal of her energy to help those in need,” says Ms. Locke. Last spring she and Ms. Kenacan hosted a session on the Community Family and Child Services Act for both service providers and for the general public. This past spring Ms. Peters worked to organize a panel of professional aboriginal women for a Prince Rupert conference.
Roy James Stewart QC
The contributions of Roy Stewart, QC have all centred on his ability to motivate people, through which he has brought about change that will affect the use and enjoyment of the Prince George community for many years to come. Mr. Stewart has been active in the Interior University Society, in the Prince George Bar Association’s initiative for a New Court House, and as the Chair of the University of Northern BC (UNBC) Foundation. The creation of UNBC in particular, represents a basis for significant economic, social and cultural change.
As a director, and then as the president of the Interior University Society, Mr. Stewart, QC was actively involved in lobbying the government for the creation of a new university in Prince George. He was the founding Chair of the UNBC Foundation. In addition, he developed the plan for a successful fundraising effort by UNBC, called “North to the Future.”
Mr. Stewart also participated in a successful fundraising campaign for a new art gallery. The campaign raised enough funds to allow matching grants from government and the new art gallery was constructed for occupation in the spring of 2000. His fundraising efforts extended beyond the university and art gallery when Mr. Stewart helped create a new Community Foundation. His efforts provided the foundation with vision and articulated the basis for successful fundraising.
BC Members Win National Awards of Excellence
BarTalk congratulates BC members Gordon Maynard and Stephen Owen QC who recently won national awards of excellence. For a comprehensive list of national award and scholarship winners, please visit www.cba.org.
The John Tait Award of Excellence
This award is presented by the Public Sector Lawyers’ Conference. Stephen Owen, QC of Vancouver and Thomas C. Marshall, QC of Toronto both received this award for their preeminent public service. Currently a member of parliament for Vancouver-Quadra, Mr. Owen has most recently held the following positions: Commissioner and Vice-President of the Law Commission of Canada, the Deputy Attorney General, Commissioner of Resources and Environment, Ombudsman, and Executive Director of the Legal Services Society of BC. Mr. Marshall has provided more than 25 years of outstanding legal advice and mentoring in the public service. He is currently the General Counsel to the Attorney General.
The Louis St Laurent Award of Excellence
Michael Green of Calgary and Gordon Maynard of West Vancouver, contributed countless hours to the National Citizenship and Immigration Section’s activities and led in the development of the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
LSS Hosts Tariff Recognition Dinner
The Legal Services Society (LSS) honoured private bar lawyers for their work on behalf of legal aid clients at the first annual Tariff Recognition Dinner in Vancouver on June 12. In addition to acknowledging the importance of the private bar’s support for legal aid, six lawyers were honoured for their achievements and outstanding service over the years.
Receiving the inaugural awards were Pat Bond, David Crossin, QC, Chris Elgin, Richard Gibbs, QC, Mary Mouat, and Peter Wilson, QC – all with more than 10 years call to the bar. Each recipient has contributed extensively to the legal system in BC, giving their time and energy to a variety of organizations including the CBABC, the Law Society of BC, and Continuing Legal Education, as well as to LSS. Richard Gibbs and Peter Wilson were founding members of the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, and Pat Bond was a board member of ALL for many years.
The awards and dinner, sponsored by the LSS Board of Directors’ Quality Assurance Steering Committee, are part of the Society’s quality services program, funded by a grant from the Law Foundation. LSS, in partnership with the private bar, has begun to develop these initiatives to ensure people in poverty receive capable and competent service. These measures promote best practices among all legal aid lawyers through education and other means. Recognition of lawyers’ important contributions in the service of the poor is one part of this work.
“This method of private bar recognition is clearly greatly appreciated, and we’ll definitely continue with the program,” said LSS Chief Executive Officer David Duncan after the event.
In their acceptance speeches, each award recipient underscored the importance of legal aid to clients, to themselves personally, and for the justice system as a whole. “Their remarks were the highlight of the evening,” said Tariff Director Mark Benton.
For example, Chris Elgin, a former legal advisor with the Immigration and Refugee Board who now practises immigration law with the firm Elgin, Cannon and Associates, pointed out that legal aid allows him to help people who are in difficult situations but do not have the resources to defend themselves. And family lawyer Mary Mouat, a partner at the Quadra Legal Centre in Victoria, said it is a privilege to be a lawyer in BC and to work with legal aid clients and LSS.
The recipients, all former or current members of an LSS tariff committee, also talked about what it has meant to them to participate in this work. Pat Bond, a family lawyer and partner in the firm Bradbrooke Crawford & Green, noted that the relationship between LSS and the private bar has greatly improved over the past few years. When she first sat on the family tariff committee she felt her contribution was primarily to bring complaints to the table, but that this is no longer the case.
David Crossin, a partner with the firm Crossin & Coristine and a former member of the LSS board, complimented the Society’s efforts – in particular those of Mark Benton, David Duncan, the tariff committees, and the board members – to improve conditions for the defence bar. He emphasized the importance of these lawyers to the justice system, calling them the “last bastion of liberty.” Richard Gibbs, currently First Vice-President of the Law Society of BC and criminal defence counsel in Prince George, emphasized the importance of using public funds for legal aid, and the need for the public to see this as money well spent.
Peter Wilson, a criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver who has devoted many years and a great deal of energy toward improving legal aid in BC, said he was very humbled at having been selected for this award. Wilson called legal aid “a wonderful institution, well worth fighting for, to preserve, and improve.”
Each recipient received a framed Certificate of Recognition and an Inukshuk sculpture.
Even More Women of Distinction Nominees
June’s BarTalk, while recognizing two Women of Distinction winners and several nominees, neglected to mention a few esteemed members who were also among those nominated for Women of Distinction awards. For the record, Laura Donaldson, Heather Mackenzie, and Cheryl Otto were also nominated for YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
Laura Donaldson, Founder and President of the West Vancouver Youth Basketball Association, was nominated in the Health, Wellness & Active Living category. Ms. Donaldson identified the need for community-based, volunteer driven basketball leagues, envisioning that any child who wanted to play basketball would be able to do so in an affordable, structured setting, outside of the school system, all over BC. She was the Chair, Youth Development Committee, Basketball BC, in 1996 and coaches grade 8-9 girl’s basketball. Off the b-ball court, she specializes in commercial litigation at Hobbs & Leigh.
Heather Mackenzie and Cheryl Otto are business partners at the Integrity Group, specializing in human rights consultation, promoting equality and justice in the workplace. They were jointly nominated in the Social Action category for founding the Cinderella Project. Through the Cinderella Project, graduating girls – many of whom are socially disadvantaged – meet in a downtown Vancouver hotel for one Boutique Day to select dresses, shoes, make-up and jewelry donated, collected and sorted by volunteers who want every girl’s prom to be a “Ball”.
Theresa Arsenault, a managing partner at Pushor Mitchell, was nominated for a Kelowna Women of Distinction award. She is recognized as a provincial expert on wills, estates, and trusts, and First Nations Land Development issues.
These articles were published in the August 2001 issue of BarTalk. © 2001 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.