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category: Biography & Autobiography
published: Oct 2017
publisher: Heritage House Publishing

The Mighty Hughes

From Prairie Lawyer to Western Canada’s Moral Compass

by Craig McInnes

tagged: lawyers & judges, canadian, political

An in-depth look at the life and career of retired judge and conflict-of-interest commissioner Ted Hughes, whose unflinching integrity earned him the reputation as Canada’s moral compass.

Throughout his sixty-year career, Ted Hughes has been a model of ethical conduct in the Canadian judicial system. The son of immigrant homesteaders who grew up in Saskatoon during the Depression, he might have retired as a respected senior judge in the town where he was born had his career not been sideswiped by the intense party politics underpinning Canadian judicial appointments in the 1970s. The injustice he felt led him to BC, where he reinvented himself as a civil servant in a province that was earning a reputation for wacky, unprincipled politics. There, he became Canada’s moral compass, a man of such integrity that his condemnation alone persuaded one premier to resign and another to bring in a watchdog to look after vulnerable children.

Hughes has ferociously defended the principles that underpin the best of our society. He has an unfashionable belief in the virtue of the law, the nobility and responsibility of public service, and the honour of politicians and politics. He was an early defender of equal rights for women in the legal system, the protection of children in care, and in recognizing the disastrous effect of colonization on First Nations. This is the story of his remarkable life and how he became the lion Canadians needed him to be in when the credibility of our political system was on the line.

About the Author

Craig McInnes is a veteran reporter, editor, and writer. His long newspaper career includes eighteen years with the Globe and Mail and fourteen years with the Vancouver Sun, where he wrote extensively about public policy issues, science, medicine, and social trends. Since leaving daily journalism in 2013, he has continued to work as a writer and editorial consultant for a number of organizations and clients.

Editorial Reviews

“Readable, candid, and engaging.”

— Ormsby Review

The Mighty Hughes effectively captures the many roles of Ted Hughes in public service, as a thoughtful and indefatigable listener of marginalized groups and issues of social injustice, along with his stature as a fearless and forceful speaker of truth to those in power.”

— University of Victoria

“We used to say that if Ted Hughes did not exist, we would have to invent him. But as Craig McInnes makes clear in this remarkable biography, Ted was his own invention—a public servant who established his credibility and integrity case by case, year by year, making some of the toughest judgement calls ever faced in this country.”

— Vancouver Sun

“Craig McInnes’ brilliant book, The Mighty Hughes, captures the road Ted Hughes travelled, proving that truth, principal and a strong moral compass can protect the public interest and enhance the body politic. To understand BC politics, buy this book.”

— Bob Plecas, former deputy minister, author of Bill Bennett: A Mandarin's View

“Craig McInnes has wonderfully captured the forces that shaped the life and career of Ted Hughes, whose remarkable contributions to the legal and social fabric of Canada will continue to inspire for generations to come those who would give a powerful voice to the most vulnerable in our communities.”

— Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat

“Craig McInnes’s biography of Ted Hughes provides engaging insight into Ted’s life, career and unshakeable reputation for integrity, wisdom, sound advice, the ability to untangle other people’s messes, and his belief in the value of politicians, good government and the dignity of all individuals. The Mighty (and Fearless) Hughes is the model and high benchmark for all independent adjudicators in the country.”

— Conflict of Interest Commissioner for Yukon and for NWT

“Craig Mcinnes has written a richly textured, must-read book on the tour de force who is Ted Hughes. This is the story of a man who has led an extraordinary life at the centre of some of the most remarkable events in BC and Canadian political history. It is an inspirational account of a true Canadian hero—a giant in legal, public and political circles.”

— Simon Fraser University and former BC Deputy Attorney General and Dean of Law

"[The Mighty Hughes is] going to land with particular impact in Victoria, because this is where Hughes made a national name for himself, after starting an entirely new career. That career was essentially speaking truth to power, usually when it was the last thing power wanted to hear. ... The lasting impression of the book is how badly we need people like [Ted Hughes]."

— The Times Colonist
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