2003 Bencher elections and referendum results

November 19, 2003

Seven new Benchers have been elected and 14 incumbents re-elected as Benchers for the 2004-2005 term, following mail-in elections held November 17. New to the Benchers table in 2004 are: Joost Blom, QC, Gavin Hume, QC and Art Vertlieb, QC in District No. 1 (Vancouver), Carol Hickman in District No. 4 (Westminster), Bruce LeRose in District No 5 (Kootenay) and Darrell O'Byrne in District No. 8 (Prince Rupert). A former Bencher (from 2000-2001), Terence La Liberté, QC, was also elected in Vancouver. As there was a tie vote in the election of a Bencher to represent Okanagan District, a by-election in that district is expected, in accordance with the Law Society Rules.

President William Everett, QC extends congratulations to all the elected and re-elected Benchers and his appreciation to all those who stood for election.

More than two-thirds of BC lawyers participating in the November 17 referendum voted in favour of authorizing the Benchers to pass new Law Society Rules to allow webcasting of the AGM and other general meetings (Question 1) and to increase the minimum number of members needed to requisition a special general meeting from 150 members to 5% of the profession (Question 2). But less than the requisite two-thirds majority voted in favour of Questions 3 and 4, and consequently the Benchers are not authorized to make rule changes to increase the maximum number of Bencher terms from four to five terms.

Election results by district can be found on the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca.

Bencher election results

Here are the Benchers elected and re-elected for the 2004-2005 term, by district and in alphabetical order:

Vancouver (District 1)
Joost Blom, QC
Ian Donaldson, QC
Anna K. Fung, QC
Gavin Hume, QC
John J.L. Hunter, QC
Terence E. La Liberté, QC
Margaret Ostrowski, QC
Ross D. Tunnicliffe
Gordon Turriff, QC
Art Vertlieb, QC
James D. Vilvang, QC
David A. Zacks, QC

Victoria (District 2)
Anne K. Wallace (Re-elected by acclamation)

Nanaimo (District 3)
G. Glen Ridgway, QC (Re-elected by acclamation)

Westminster (District 4)
Carol W. Hickman (Elected)
Grant C. Taylor (Re-elected)

Kootenay (District 5)
Bruce A. LeRose (Elected)

Okanagan (District 6)
R. James Herperger (Tie vote)
Dirk J. Sigalet, QC (Tie vote)

Note: The election in Okanagan District resulted in a tie vote at the end of the second count in an alternative vote ballot. In the case of a tie vote in a Bencher election, the Executive Committee must hold a by-election in the relevant district: see Law Society Rule 1-32(2) and 1-36.

Cariboo (District 7)
William F.M. Jackson (Re-elected by acclamation)
Patricia L. Schmit, QC (Re-elected by acclamation)

Prince Rupert (District 8)
Darrell O'Byrne (Elected by acclamation)

Kamloops (District 9)
Robert W. McDiarmid, QC (Re-elected by acclamation)

Referendum results

BC lawyers voting in the November 17 referendum approved Questions 1 and 2, by more than a two-thirds majority. As a result, the Benchers are authorized to amend the Law Society Rules to allow for webcasting of Law Society general meetings and to change the minimum number of members required to requisition a special general meeting from 150 members to 5% of members in good standing.

Less than the requisite two-thirds majority of those voting in the referendum approved Questions 3 and 4, and the Benchers accordingly are not authorized to change the Law Society Rules to increase the maximum number of Bencher terms from four to five terms as proposed.

Here are the referendum results:

Question 1: Webcasting of general meetings

Are you in favour of the Benchers amending the Rules respecting general meetings to

(a) allow members to attend and vote by way of the Internet, and

(b) ensure that the meeting would not be invalidated by reason alone of a technical failure that prevented some members from attending and voting by way of the Internet?

All Districts: 2,514 (88%) Yes; 353 (12%) No

* * *

Question 2: Special general meetings

Are you in favour of the Benchers amending the Rules respecting Special General meetings to change the number of members required to request a meeting from 150 members to 5 percent of the members in good standing at the time that the request is received by the Executive Director?

All Districts: 2,389 (73%) Yes; 875 (27%) No

* * *

Question 3: Bencher term limits

(In the following question, a "term" would be defined to include a partial term that is more than half of a full term.)

Are you in favour of the Benchers amending the Rules respecting term limits for Benchers to increase the number of terms a Bencher is eligible to serve from the current 4 full or partial terms to 5 terms?

All Districts: 1,755 (55%) Yes; 1,456 (45%) No

* * *

Question 4: Life Benchers

(The amendment proposed in the following question would only be made if the term limit for Benchers is increased.)

Are you in favour of the Benchers amending the Rules respecting Life Benchers so that a Bencher who serves four full or partial terms in office becomes a Life Bencher on leaving office (as in the current Rule), but is not disqualified from election or appointment as a Bencher until the term limit is reached?

All Districts: 1,792 (61%) Yes; 1,124 (39%) No