Premier John Horgan has released the following statement regarding the passing of Thomas R. Berger:
“Thomas R. Berger believed in justice. That meant he needed to address injustice.
“Mr. Berger was counsel for the Nisga’a elders who were plaintiffs in Calder v. Attorney-General for British Columbia (1973), a historic case in which the Supreme Court of Canada first acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal title to land.
“His work as commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry resulted in a report highlighting unresolved land claims, as well as the threat to wildlife upon which the local Indigenous peoples relied on for survival. An unprecedented public consultation process helped highlight what was at stake for the Indigenous peoples of the North.
“As a lawyer, judge and commissioner, he helped countless ordinary people in their struggles against powerful interests. He changed life in this province and in this country for the better.
“His achievements were many, highlighted by investiture in the Order of Canada and the Order of B.C.
“He spent a lifetime moving all of us towards a just society. For that, we owe him our thanks and gratitude. His kindness and generosity will long be remembered. His thinking will continue to influence us for generations to come.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and his friends. We have lost a giant.”