December 15, 1931 – March 24, 2020
My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light
Edna St. Vincent Millay
It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Allan on March 24th, 2020 at his home in Comox, B.C. He was surrounded by his beloved wife Gloria and family members. Allan was not a conventional man so in keeping with that, this is not a conventional tribute. He was an extraordinary man and it is difficult to properly honour him but we his family members will give it a try.
Allan was born on December 15, 1931 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the sixth of seven siblings. As a young man his hunger for experience and knowledge took him to the logging camps of northern Ontario, the gold mines of the Northwest Territories, the R.C.A.F. for two years and the Merchant Marine, all by the time he was 21.
Allan was a man of two hearts and inclinations: he loved the freedom and physical challenge of the outdoor life and work but his keen intellect and voracious curiosity ultimately led him on a path toward higher education and intellectual pursuits. He would abandon neither. While attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton, he worked as a reporter for the Edmonton Journal where he merited a number of by-lines. He went on to attend law school at the University of British Columbia and received his law degree in 1961. While attending law school, he also worked as Night Editor for the Vancouver Sun.
Allan was articled to Victor Dryer, later The Honourable Mr. Justice Victor Dryer, a man who Allan highly regarded and who became the formative influence on his life and professional career. Allan was called to the B.C. Bar in 1962 and chose Prince George to begin his practice, a place where he could have the life he wanted; live on his farm and be 15 minutes from the office. He practiced law in Prince George until 1964 when he was appointed by Justice Dryer as Executive Director of the Board of Maritime Unions Trustees in Montreal through 1964 and 1965. This experience inspired his interest in Labour Relations which was to be his calling for the last 30 years of his professional life.
Allan returned to Prince George in 1966 and became a founding member of the law firm Cashman, Hope and Heinrich, later known as Hope Heinrich and Hansen where he was a partner until 1982 and Associate Counsel after that. In his early years, Allan practiced primarily as counsel and was renowned for his courtroom abilities. During one trial when giving closing arguments with his characteristic eloquence, the Judge reportedly said, “Do you want an acquittal or an academy award?”
Commencing in 1968, while Allan continued his practice as counsel, he began doing more arbitrations and mediations. He finally left the firm in 1982 to practice solely in the field of labour arbitration. During the course of his career, he presided over several hundred labour, environmental and commercial disputes and was highly regarded as one of the finest labour arbitrators to come out of British Columbia. He was frequently the sole choice of both employers and labour unions due to his sense of fair play, compassion and his common-sense approach to the law.
Labour lawyers, arbitrators and colleagues of Allan have told us he would take the time to give the issues before him thorough, and thoughtful scrutiny and give the parties a constructive and remedial award but they were struck by his compassion as well. Allan is quoted as saying “An arbitrator should have a low profile. He shouldn’t be a personality that dominates a dispute. He shouldn’t be a person who brings controversy to a dispute because there is usually already enough controversy.” Past BC Labour Relations Board Chairman Don Munroe once described Allan in this way: “Hope is an outstanding arbitrator. He presents himself in a manner, which captures the confidence of both parties. He can act at the same time judiciously and with sensitivity.”
Not only was he considered one of the finest arbitrators of his time, his awards continue to be cited as authoritative precedents in present day disputes, some being cited more than one hundred times over the years. He approached labour disputes as he did many other things; in a thoughtful way with a commitment to getting it right and to come to a fair decision without bias or self-aggrandizement.
Throughout his career, Allan was dedicated to the improvement of the legal profession for the benefit of the public it served. He served in various elected positions in the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association and was a member of the Law Society of B.C. for over 20 years, then elected Bencher of the Law Society, a position he held from 1973-1982. He was elected Treasurer of the Law Society in 1982 and appointed a Life Bencher in 1983. He sat on, vice-chaired and chaired several Law Society committees overseeing the ethics and standards of the legal profession in B.C. In 1982 Allan was also awarded a Queen’s Counsel designation. It was perhaps fitting as a tribute to Allan’s reputation and national standing that in January 2010 he was appointed Vice-Chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to be responsible for issues for Western Canada.
Beyond his substantial success in the legal field, Allan mentored many articled students and young lawyers shaping their career paths and encouraging them to apply an ethical framework to their approach to the practice of law that left his unique stamp on the legal profession. Several highly distinguished lawyers and arbitrators who knew and worked with Allan as students, lawyers appearing before him during arbitrations and as colleagues have contacted the family. All had stories about how he shaped their careers, influenced their professional behaviour through his common sense yet empathetic advice on difficult issues while empowering them to make their own independent decisions. He inspired courage and commitment to a high degree of professional conduct and ethics and yet was fiercely independent in thought and approach and did not hesitate to knock down an old rule or tradition if he believed it no longer served its purpose.
Retired BC Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett who was Allan’s companion often as a student, associate, partner, and close friend for many years says of Allan, ” His keen analytical mind, his knowledge of the traditional values of the profession and his readiness to seek change when it was warranted served both the profession and the public well….he was a man of superb talent who was at heart a humble man. In his life and in his career in law he left an indelible mark and lasting contribution on those who knew him and on the profession itself.”
He has been described as eccentric and perhaps to some his preference for a country life as a “gentleman farmer” while simultaneously pursuing a very active and demanding role in his profession would seem so, but these were two sides of a very complex man. He chose Prince George as his home so he could have the life he wanted. He found a vibrant and dynamic group of lawyers to partner with and also the space and acreage to own a piece of wild land he eventually wrestled into a working farm with the help of his wife Gloria and their partners of 40 years, Harold and Nancy Giesbrecht. He spent many happy hours in conversation with Harold as they developed the farm business together. It went through several incarnations including a dairy farm and greenhouse but principally it was Allan’s Shangri-La where he retreated as often as his busy schedule allowed. He took great pleasure in the rustic life and rugged weather and lived there for 50 years.
There was a playful side to Allan as well. His creation of an imaginary character “Prince Stefan Franz von Beriot” while a reporter at the Vancouver Sun has been described as “one of the great howls of Vancouver newspaper lore…Given life by Hope’s imagination, Stefan was a mythical figure who graced the pages for about a year, regularly appearing in the Names In the News column.”
Allan had a passion for writing. He had a brilliant, restless and creative mind and read widely, studied fields of endeavour outside his own and used his appetite for knowledge and understanding to the betterment of his profession. He was known for his razor sharp wit, infectious smile, kind and compassionate spirit, and was a gifted and avid storyteller.
A note from his children. Dad left us with this indelible lesson: the most important thing we can do is to understand we can never carry someone else’s pack but we can help them lift it. He gave us all a fierce independent spirit and helped us through life’s challenges with the same commitment and common sense he brought to his various careers and endeavours.
Allan spent the final years of his life in Comox on Vancouver Island where he resided happily with his beloved wife Gloria and four dogs until he passed away in March of 2020. Allan saw his life with his wife Gloria and their close partnership in his professional life and in the farm business as a gift that he was grateful for every day. Until the moment he left us, Allan talked about how happy he was and how lucky he was in life and love.
Allan was predeceased by his parents, Henry Fletcher Hope and Grace Hope (nee Babcock); his son Allan; his brothers, Bill, Arnold, John and Rob and sisters, Phyllis and Norma. He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years Gloria, their four dogs, Haley, Joey, Piper and Cosmo. He loved them all, but Piper was his special one, as she loved to share his chair. He is also survived by his children Karey (Howard), Cate, Bill (Jean), Meghan (Al), grandchildren Genevieve, Casey, Wil, Patrick, Maggie, Robyn, Erin, Jacob and Avary and great-grandchildren Isabel, Haley, Cole, Garrett, Blakely and Kyler; sisters-in-law Donna, Bev, brother-in-law Ken (Louise), brother-in-law John (Mia) and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family gives special thanks to Dr. Trevor Shoesmith, the home support team and the Home Instead team for the compassionate care given to Allan and his family.
A celebration of Allan’s life will be announced and held later.
A final note: We have tried here to give a sense of who Allan was and his enormous achievements, the legacy he left to the legal and arbitration professions in BC and Canada, and the high regard so many of his colleagues, friends and family members held him in. It would have been much better for all of us if he’d written his own obituary but he was at heart a humble man and would likely have waved us off and kept to his signature farewell: “Carry On.” Obituary-