446 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 80 PART 3 MAY 2022
physics. Always the adventurer, he aspired to become an oil explorer. The
job market in that field was weak when he graduated, so he took a job as a
computer programmer, having learned to code during his studies in
Bruce’s intrepid spirit could not be tethered to a keyboard for long. He
was soon looking for other opportunities. He found one working on a fishing
boat in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew was an eclectic mix of people from
different backgrounds. His days began very early in the morning and ended
late at night. The work was dangerous and physically demanding, and he
would come home from fishing filthy and exhausted. Nonetheless, Bruce
speaks of his love of being on the water and the joy he took in the unique
friendships that formed between crew members.
He further fed his love of travel and diverse experiences by finding work
as a grape picker in France, as a kibbutz volunteer in Israel and, briefly, in
a voluntary position teaching high school science in Kenya.
Bruce had grown up hiking and skiing in the beautiful Gatineau hills of
Quebec. Soon after his return to Ottawa, the B.C. mountains beckoned him
and he set about considering how to find work in Vancouver. Perhaps
because of his scholastic aptitude (which was also no doubt cultivated by his
parents), he considered that the “easiest” way to get a job in Vancouver was
to go to law school and get called to the bar. He struck out on his own, moving
across the country to attend law school at UBC.
Having taken an indirect path to law school and gained some perspective
and life experience, Bruce is not one of those who lost himself in the course
of gaining a legal education and career. Outside of the law to this day, Bruce
remains an avid urban cyclist, mountain biker and backcountry skier. His
commitment to these pastimes is all the more impressive when viewed in
light of his varied and demanding career.
Bruce completed a bachelor of laws degree at UBC in 1992.
A formative experience in law school was his participation in a competitive
moot. The coach of the moot encouraged the students to go and watch
seasoned counsel deliver arguments at the Court of Appeal. Bruce had the
good fortune to watch Jack Giles, Q.C., and John McAlpine, Q.C., deliver
arguments on an appeal involving an arbitration award. He was so taken
with McAlpine’s advocacy that he approached him on the spot about a job.
McAlpine demurred, telling him to ask again once he had graduated.
Bruce did just that and spent the first several early years of his career
working under the legendary McAlpine. McAlpine’s practice was busy, and
Bruce worked very hard. The principal focus of the practice was commercial,
though McAlpine’s practice also included regulatory and Aboriginal