Wally Oppal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wally Oppal
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Fraserview
In office
May 17, 2005 – May 12, 2009
Preceded byKen Johnston
Succeeded byKash Heed
Attorney General of British Columbia
In office
June 16, 2005 – June 10, 2009
PremierGordon Campbell
Preceded byGeoff Plant
Succeeded byMichael de Jong
Minister responsible for Multiculturalism of British Columbia
In office
June 16, 2005 – June 10, 2009
PremierGordon Campbell
Preceded byPatrick Wong
Succeeded byBen Stewart
Personal details
Wallace Taroo Oppal

1940 (1940) (age 84)[1]
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Political partyBC Liberal
Occupationlawyer, judge

Wallace Taroo "Wally" Oppal, OBC KC (born 1940) is a Canadian lawyer, former judge and provincial politician. Between 2005 and 2009, he served as British Columbia's Attorney General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, as well as Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview as part of the BC Liberals.

Early life and career[edit]

The elder of two sons of Gurdial Kaur Oppal, Oppal was born in Vancouver to Sikh immigrant parents from India.[2] The whole family moved to the Lake Cowichan area after his father co-founded a sawmill with a partner there. After his father died when he was 10 years old, his mother worked as a housekeeper.[2] He attended Lake Cowichan High School where he served as student council president in his senior year, and graduated in 1958.[2][3]

After briefly working as a radio announcer, he began attending the University of British Columbia (UBC), supplementing his income by working at sawmills during the summer. He graduated with a B.A. from UBC in 1963, followed by a law degree from the UBC Faculty of Law in 1966.[2][3] He was called to the bar in 1967 and began working at Thompson McConnell, eventually starting a private practice in South Vancouver with friend John Campbell.[2][3]

At the recommendation of then-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia Allan McEachern, Oppal was appointed to the County Court of Vancouver in 1981, and to the BC Supreme Court in 1985. In 2003, he was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal where he served until he resigned to seek election to the provincial legislature.[3] He was appointed to lead a commission of inquiry into policing in British Columbia in June 1992, and published a report in 1994, leading to policing reforms in the province.[2][4]

Member of the legislature[edit]

At a meeting with then Prime Minister Paul Martin, Oppal was asked to run in a federal election for the Liberal Party of Canada, but declined for family reasons.[5] He later entered provincial politics instead, when he announced his candidacy for the BC Liberals in the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview in April 2005.[6] He was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) at the 2005 provincial election, and was appointed the province's Attorney General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism that June,[7] becoming BC's second Indo-Canadian Attorney-General (the first being Ujjal Dosanjh).[1] He became Queen's Counsel upon his appointment as Attorney General.[4]

For the 2009 provincial election, Oppal switched to the riding of Delta South where he lives.[8] In initial results on election night, Oppal led in Delta South by a margin of just two votes over independent candidate Vicki Huntington.[9][10] On May 26, 2009, a recount revealed that Huntington had defeated Oppal by only 32 votes.[11] A judicial recount on June 2 confirmed Huntington's victory.[12]

After politics[edit]

In 2010, Oppal was appointed to lead the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry into the Robert Pickton murders.[13][14] The commission released its final report to the public in December 2012, including 63 recommendations.[15]

Oppal served as the Chancellor of the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops from 2011 to 2018, and was named Chancellor Emeritus upon the end of his terms.[16][17][18] In 2019 he was appointed to chair a committee to oversee the creation of a new municipal police force in the city of Surrey, which would replace the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.[19]

Oppal was appointed to the Order of British Columbia on November 30, 2017.[20]

He is senior counsel at Boughton Law.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Oppal is married with two children.[2][7] He announced in March 2007 that he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.[22] By the end of the month, Oppal was declared cancer free by his doctor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Trends in the Judiciary: Interviews with Judges Across the Globe, Volume One. CRC Press. 2013. pp. 97–98. ISBN 9781420099799.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "On the Front Cover: Wallace T. Oppal, Q.C., Attorney General of B.C." (PDF). The Advocate, Vol. 67 Part 2. University of British Columbia. March 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Wally Oppal: Class of 1966" (PDF). UBC Law Alumni Magazine. Spring 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Wally Oppal Q.C." Meritas. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  5. ^ "The Honourable Wallace T. Oppal, QC". University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Oppal running for Liberals". CBC News. 8 April 2005. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Hon. Wally Oppal, Q.C.: 38th Parliament Members at dissolution on April 14, 2009". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Oppal gets a rough reception in new Delta South riding". CBC News. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Oppal clinging to a two-vote lead". The Globe and Mail, May 13, 2009.
  10. ^ "Oppal takes Delta South by two votes". CBC News. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Huntington defeats Oppal in B.C. election recount". CBC News. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Huntington win over Oppal upheld by judicial recount". Vancouver Sun. 2 June 2009. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Oppal to head Pickton inquiry". CBC News. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  14. ^ Wintonyk, Darcy (28 September 2010). "Wally Oppal to head Pickton inquiry". CTV News. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Pickton inquiry slams 'blatant failures' by police". CBC News. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  16. ^ "TRU names Wally Oppal as Chancellor". Thompson Rivers University. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Wally Oppal appointed to second term as Chancellor". Thompson Rivers University. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Honouring a man of merit". Thompson Rivers University. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  19. ^ McElroy, Justin (22 August 2019). "B.C. government approves Surrey's plan to create its own police force". CBC News. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  20. ^ "B.C.'s highest honour recognizes 16 outstanding citizens". Government of British Columbia. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Wally Oppal, Q.C. - Vancouver Arbitrator and Mediator I Boughton Law". Boughton Law. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  22. ^ "B.C. attorney general to be treated for prostate cancer". cbc.ca, March 1, 2007.

External links[edit]