THE ADVOCATE 659
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
He was never one to preach or pontificate unless on the subject of ethical
responsibility. He saw these issues in black and white, and the path to be
followed was always very clear.
In the courtroom he was a respectful and commanding leader. As an
advocate he combined academic strength, and a command of detail, with
humility when on his feet. There was never hesitation and no backward
steps. He was a striking and memorable standout, who placed his own
indelible persona on every proceeding in which he appeared.
While the majority of Mark’s work was in commercial litigation, he
moved easily and expertly into other areas of the law. His high-stakes
retainer for the Site C Clean Energy Project brought him into the unfamiliar
world of environmental law and Indigenous rights. Mark dug in, and over
four years he and his strong team defeated eight judicial review proceedings
and three appeals challenging project approvals and succeeded in
three separate injunction applications, allowing construction of the project
to proceed (see e.g. West Moberly First Nations v. British Columbia, 2018 BCSC
1835). Mark operated just as deftly in the field of criminal law (including as
part of the prosecution team appealing the acquittal of Bindy Johal and others
in and among the drama of the Gillian Guess saga), human rights law,
public international law and bankruptcy and insolvency law (see Re Bankruptcies
of Down et al., 2000 BCSC 1148).
Even his commercial practice was wide-ranging. He successfully represented
Lions Gate against an oppression claim, acted for Imperial Metals in
relation to the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse, defended the Royal Bank
of Canada against a wrongful death claim, obtained a US$189 million arbitration
award in a commercial mining dispute, defended Freightliner in separate
employment and pension class actions, represented the province in
the Ivan Henry appeal on deductibility of settlement monies from an award
of Charter damages and defeated Vancouver’s efforts to enjoin CP from
operating on the Arbutus corridor, among hundreds of other cases.
Apart from a slight English accent that never quite disappeared, Mark
became a Canadian through and through. He and the family explored B.C.
as much as time permitted—on summer trips, on weekends or when he was
playing hooky on a sunny day. Wherever he went, he had his binoculars for
the birds and an eye for interesting plants. He learned to ski cross-country
almost well enough to keep up with Shelagh and downhill almost well
enough to keep up with the kids. He learned to fly-fish, which became a
favourite pastime. He learned the beauty and secrets of the trails, rivers and
cycling routes of southern B.C.
In 2005, Mark and Shelagh bought a place in the Gulf Islands, which
became their weekend escape. In Mark’s final year, Shelagh insisted that