Geoff Plant

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Geoff Plant
MLA for Richmond-Steveston
In office
1995–2005
Preceded by Allan Warnke
Succeeded by John Yap
Attorney General of British Columbia
In office
June 5, 2001 – June 16, 2005
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Graeme Bowbrick
Succeeded by Wally Oppal
Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations of British Columbia
In office
June 5, 2001 – June 16, 2005
Premier Gordon Campbell
Personal details
Political party Liberal

Geoff Plant, QC (born c. 1956[1]) is a British Columbia lawyer and retired politician known for his interest in citizen's legal and electoral rights and aboriginal rights.

As of 2010, he is chair of the board for Providence Health Care which operates St. Paul's Hospital.

Education[edit]

Raised in Vancouver, Plant received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1978 and law degrees from the University of Southampton in England in 1980, Dalhousie University in Halifax in 1981, and from the University of Cambridge in 1989. For a year, Plant was a clerk in the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa prior to being called to the bar in 1982.

Aboriginal rights[edit]

Plant was counsel in a number of leading aboriginal rights and title cases, including the 1997 landmark case of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia where the Supreme Court of Canada made its most definitive statement on the nature of Aboriginal title in Canada.

MLA and Attorney General[edit]

Plant has lived in Richmond since 1984 and represented the riding of Richmond-Steveston in the British Columbia Legislature for the BC Liberal Party. He was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the 1996 election with 56 per cent of the vote. He served as Opposition Justice Critic and was Opposition Leader's Gordon Campbell's roommate in Victoria.

Plant was re-elected with 69 per cent of the vote in the 2001 election as part of Campbell’s first-term government. He served as the Attorney General of British Columbia and Minister responsible for Treaty Negotiations from 2001 to 2005.

He was regarded as a moderate within Campbell’s centre-right coalition who was keen on reforms for the legal, aboriginal treaty negotiation and electoral systems.[2]

He oversaw the province-wide British Columbia Treaty Referendum in 2002 and the creation and oversight of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform. A policy change that affected whether domestic violence complaints would be automatically prosecuted did receive criticism from women's centres [3] and was noted by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.[3] Cuts to legal aid prompted the Law Society to censure him.[4] On the issue of polygamy in Bountiful, Plant cited constitutional concerns for religious rights but also formed an investigative team to research the situation.[5]

When Plant chose not to run for a second term in government, he cited a wish to spend more time with his wife who was experiencing breast cancer. Upon his exit from provincial politics, he joined the law firm of Heenan Blaikie while maintaining government appointments as senior advisor in land and resource negotiations with the Council of the Haida Nation and for Campus 2020: a review of post-secondary education. He also has accepted a position as a sessional instructor at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law.

Campus 2020[edit]

Plant was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Premier and Minister of Advanced Education to lead a project called Campus 2020: Looking Head,[6] the first comprehensive review of post-secondary education in British Columbia in over 40 years.[7][8]

Civil City Commissioner[edit]

In May 2007, Plant was appointed by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan to the newly created position of Civil City Commissioner, a part-time job with a budget of $300,000. The position will lead Project Civil City, the mayor's effort to enhance public order in Vancouver's public areas by reducing homelessness, aggressive panhandling and the open drug market by at least 50 per cent by 2010.[9] There has been controversy regarding this position, with some expressing doubt as to its usefulness.[10]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Plant was born with a cleft palate and has visible results of corrective surgery. The congenital disorder's effect on his speech was not a barrier to his succeeding in law and politics, two careers that require skillful verbal communication.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liberal trio's strength is experience, Richmond News, Published May 3, 2001, Retrieved on May 17, 2007
  2. ^ Law reform in British Columbia: A lecture sponsored by the BC Law Institute, Speech by Geoff Plant, BC Law Institute, November 13, 2003, Retrieved on May 17, 2007
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Reality Check:Faced with funding cuts, non-profits are learning to become leaner, not meaner By Ben Parfitt, Published November 2003, Retrieved May 17, 2007
  5. ^ The Canadian Home of Polygamy, Fifth Estate, CBC, January 15, 2003, Retrieved on May 17, 2007
  6. ^ Campus 2020: Looking Ahead
  7. ^ Campus 2020 maps out road to excellence, By Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight, Published April 27, 2007, Retrieved May 17, 2007
  8. ^ Tens of millions more needed to get BC universities up to par: report, Macleans, Published April 25, 2007, Retrieved on May 17, 2007
  9. ^ Former AG appointed as Vancouver's new 'crime czar', CBC News, www.cbc.ca, retrieved on May 17, 2007
  10. ^ [2], CKNW News, retrieved 8 November 2007.