The Mighty Hughes

From Prairie Lawyer to Western Canada’s Moral Compass

By (author): Craig McInnes
ISBN 9781772032055
Hardcover | Publication Date: October 13, 2017
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
320 Pages

About the Book

An in-depth look at the life and career of retired judge and conflict-of-interest commissioner Ted Hughes, whose unflinching integrity earned him the reputation as Canada’s moral compass.

Throughout his sixty-year career, Ted Hughes has been a model of ethical conduct in the Canadian judicial system. The son of immigrant homesteaders who grew up in Saskatoon during the Depression, he might have retired as a respected senior judge in the town where he was born had his career not been sideswiped by the intense party politics underpinning Canadian judicial appointments in the 1970s. The injustice he felt led him to BC, where he reinvented himself as a civil servant in a province that was earning a reputation for wacky, unprincipled politics. There, he became Canada’s moral compass, a man of such integrity that his condemnation alone persuaded one premier to resign and another to bring in a watchdog to look after vulnerable children.

Hughes has ferociously defended the principles that underpin the best of our society. He has an unfashionable belief in the virtue of the law, the nobility and responsibility of public service, and the honour of politicians and politics. He was an early defender of equal rights for women in the legal system, the protection of children in care, and in recognizing the disastrous effect of colonization on First Nations. This is the story of his remarkable life and how he became the lion Canadians needed him to be in when the credibility of our political system was on the line.

About the Author(s)

Craig McInnes is a veteran reporter, editor, and writer. His long newspaper career includes eighteen years with the Globe and Mail and fourteen years with the Vancouver Sun, where he wrote extensively about public policy issues, science, medicine, and social trends. Since leaving daily journalism in 2013, he has continued to work as a writer and editorial consultant for a number of organizations and clients.


"We used to say that if Ted Hughes did not exist, we would have to invent him. But as Craig McInnes makes clear in this remarkable biography, Ted was his own invention—a public servant who established his credibility and integrity case by case, year by year, making some of the toughest judgement calls ever faced in this country. —Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun
"Hughes' approach to public service stands out now in the era of the Donald Trump U.S. presidency." —CBC News
"The lasting impression of the book is how badly we need people like [Ted Hughes]." —Les Leyne, Times Colonist
"This is an inspirational account of a true Canadian hero—a giant in legal, public, and political circles." —Maureen Maloney QC, Professor of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, and former BC Deputy Attorney General
"Craig McInnes has wonderfully captured the forces that shaped the life and career of Ted Hughes, whose remarkable contributions to the legal and social fabric of Canada will continue to inspire for generations to come whose who sould give a powerful voice to the most vulnerable in our communities."—Daniel Shapiro QC, Chief Adjudicator, Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
"In the pages of Craig McInnes’s biography, Hughes is depicted as a heroic figure who has, at times, brandished the sword of righteousness with the zeal of John Brown, but is best known for having offered the hand of compassion to the fallen and the dispossessed." —John D. Waddell, Slaw