jack webster foundation

Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award

Rafe Mair
2003 Recipient

Rafe MairThe Jack Webster Foundation bestows the 2003 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award on a triple-threat commentator whose accomplishments come handily measured in threes.

Rafe Mair wins the award for his contributions to the third career of his astoundingly busy life, where at the age of 71 his passions continue to flourish in the media of print, radio, television and his own Web site.

Mair put his 1956 UBC law degree to practice in Vancouver and Kamloops, but the political bug got him elected to municipal council, then to Victoria. He served the Bill Bennett government as minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Health, and Environment.

He left government in 1981 for a talk show on CJOR, owned by Jimmy Pattison (clearly establishing a tradition of solace for former politicos). Mair left 'OR for CKNW in 1984, and this year moved the incendiary microphone a third time, back to Pattison's CKBD (formerly CJOR).

In fact, Mair credits the late Jack Webster for getting him into radio.

"I have great memories of Jack. The one that delighted me the most -- and was so true in the event -- was when he said 'If you are interviewing your mother, have a piece of paper in front of you with MOM written on it in case in a tough moment you draw a blank.'

"The other piece of invaluable advice came when he told me: "Be yerself, ye dumb bugger -- don't trrry to be like [the late radio hotliner Pat] Burrrns or me.'"

Mair's sojourn handling the constitutional affairs file in Victoria would have grounded him well for his effective opposition to the Charlottetown Accord. This was the first of at least three mega issues where he has lead public debate as author (five books and counting), print journalist (columns in the Province, Courier, Financial Post, and now with David Black's chain of community newspapers) and broadcaster (he's just joined CITY TV).

Passionate angler Mair's decade-long campaign against the Kemano Completion Project bore fruit when the project was scrapped in 1995. Already three times a nominee for Canada's national journalism awards, Mair scored a Michener award for Kemano. Opposition to fish farming still brings colour to Mair's face and radio station switchboards.

Mair, when handling federal-provincial relations for the Bennett government, came to appreciate the late Bruce Hutchison's extensive constitutional knowledge.

"To win an award that bears his name and one which he himself won, is as good as it gets in British Columbia," Mair says.


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Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award