Get to Know Attorney General David Eby

Donna Turko asks David Eby

Get to Know Attorney General David Eby

Where did you come from?

I grew up in Kitchener, Ontario. My dad was a lawyer and my mom was a teacher, and then a grade school principal. I have two brothers and a sister – I’m the oldest.

Did you play a particular sport or play an instrument as a child?

I played hockey and baseball throughout my youth, and of course, basketball in high school. I took piano lessons for years, and even though I ended up playing much more guitar as an adult, that musical training was invaluable to me.

What are your past times and hobbies?

I feel like I used to have a lot more pastimes and hobbies before taking on this job and the shared responsibility with my wife of raising a small person – life is pretty busy these days. When I have spare time, I spend it hanging out with my family, skiing, playing guitar, and catching up with pals.

What books are you reading?

I’ve got a pile of books on my night stand waiting for some summer reading. Top of my pile will be Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman’s book “A Matter of Confidence”… although on reflection maybe that’s a bit too close to the day-to-day for summer reading.

Tell us about your wife and son

My wife is an RN, or rather, she was an RN, she’s gone back to school and is about to graduate from Medicine at UBC. Our son is three.

Harder stuff…

You spent a lot of your legal career with a critical eye directed at the police. How has your history helped or hurt your current role?

You’re right, I spend a lot more time than I expected to – for example – calling for increased resources for police to deal with our challenges with organized crime and money laundering in the province, or supporting police intervention on distracted drivers. My history with the Independent Investigation Office, which is responsible for investigating police involved deaths, has greatly assisted me in coming up to speed quickly on the challenges that office has faced in fulfilling its mandate, and to support them in getting things back on track. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the open, frank and engaging conversations I’ve had with police representatives to date on challenges we face – I think our shared history has actually helped us get to the heart of the various issues we’re discussing more quickly.

I suggest the scales of justice in BC are lop-sided due to weak LSS funding. How do you feel about this?

Our government has provided the biggest financial boost to LSS in 16 years. That’s, of course, a low bar, but we’ve already provided more funding than we committed to provide to access to justice initiatives during the election campaign. There is so much work to do in this area to ensure access to justice for British Columbians. We’re just getting started.

Where is LSS funding on the priority list of the government?

Access to Justice, with a particular emphasis on remedying the injustices faced disproportionately by Indigenous peoples, is a significant priority for our government. For example, justice for Indigenous peoples in BC is in every Minister’s mandate letter, and justice initiatives related to Indigenous peoples overlaps several Ministries, including the Ministry of Children and Family Services, my Ministry, and the Solicitor General’s Ministry.

Are you concerned about the accuracy of the feedback you get on public opinion, especially via online platforms?

After the 2013 BC election, Donald Trump, Brexit and the Alberta election, anyone paying attention has more reason to look at polls with a critical eye than ever before. I’d much rather rely on direct contact with constituents and the people I represent. Polls have their place, but direct contact with people provides a much more accurate picture of where people are at because at a minimum there’s nuance there that a poll just can’t catch.