Ted Hughes, head of the APEC inquiry, listens to testimony at the hearings in Vancouver Tuesday Dec. 14, 1999. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody

Ted Hughes, B.C.’s first conflict watchdog, dies at 92

Hughes know for reviews of child welfare systems and sale of Bill Vander Zalm’s Fantasy Gardens home

Ted Hughes, whose reports led to the resignation of a premier and the overhaul of child welfare systems in B.C. and Manitoba, has died at the age of 92.

Hughes was B.C.’s first conflict of interest commissioner and his reviews of the child welfare systems after the deaths of Sherry Charlie in B.C. and Phoenix Sinclair in Manitoba prompted change.

Conflict of interest commissioner Victoria Gray says Hughes, who died Friday in Victoria, will be remembered for his compassion, determination and clarity of thought.

She says Hughes leaves a legacy that includes stronger ethical constraints on politicians and the establishment of an independent office in B.C. representing children and youth.

Hughes served as conflict of interest commissioner from 1990 to 1997, but his lengthy career also included service as a lawyer, judge, senior civil servant and commissioner of inquiry into the deaths of children in public care.

His 1991 conflict investigation report into former premier Bill Vander Zalm’s sale of his private Fantasy Gardens home to a billionaire Taiwanese businessman resulted in Vander Zalm’s resignation.

RELATED: B.C. political legend Grace McCarthy dies (May 2017)

Former B.C. children’s representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says she applied for the position after reading a 2006 report by Hughes calling for stability in the child welfare system.

The Canadian Press

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