This month’s first of two contributor spotlights is on Bruce McIvor of First Peoples Law. Bruce has recently worked on the “Aboriginal Rights Litigation” chapter for CLEBC’s forthcoming 3rd edition of Injunctions—British Columbia Law and Practice.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
I was invited to participate with other Indigenous lawyers as part of CLEBC’s efforts to educate members of the profession on issues of special importance to Indigenous people.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
My colleague Kate Gunn and I were invited to update the “Aboriginal Rights Litigation” chapter for the forthcoming 3rd edition of Injunctions—British Columbia Law and Practice.
You began your career as a historian. What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I had the good fortune to work with Louise Mandell, QC and Stuart Rush, QC on several important Aboriginal rights and title cases while I was a historian. They opened my eyes to what I might be able to do as a lawyer/advocate for Indigenous people. I was also very fortunate to have had an inspiring discussion with the late Prof. Wes Pue from UBC. He was instrumental in encouraging me to become a lawyer.
What trends do you currently see in Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and treaty rights across Canada?
I see two main trends across the county. One is the exciting work being done by Indigenous Peoples on restoring their own specific legal traditions and creating space for exercising their Indigenous laws. The second is the important work by Indigenous people on developing new models for renewing treaty relationships and creating new relationships with the Crown outside of the moribund comprehensive claims process.
What influences and motivates you most?
My clients. Anything of value I’ve managed to play a role in achieving has begun with my clients. They have the vision and the ideas. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to assist them.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
My family, of course. Outside that I love reading fiction. I make a point of reading every day and managed to get through about 40 novels last year. When I’m traveling I listen to a lot of university-level lecture series (did about 25 courses last year—mostly history and literature). I continue to play recreational hockey whenever I can (I have hands of stone but a lot of enthusiasm) and also really enjoy listening to baseball on the radio.