Suzanne Anton, QC was elected as the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview in May of 2013, and held the position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice from June 2013 to June 2017. As the second in a three generation law school family, her association with the Allard School of Law runs deep. Ms. Anton’s father, David R. Williams, was a graduate of the Class of 1949, which was the second in the law school’s history. Her son, Robert Anton, graduated in 2011. Ms. Anton feels very fortunate to have the support of her family, and speculates that her granddaughter may one day become a fourth generation graduate of the Allard School of Law.
Ms. Anton says that the courses she enjoyed in law school were very much dependent on the teaching style of her professors. Contract Law with Joost Blom stands out in particular as one of her favourite courses. She also has fond memories of working in the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program during law school, and of being part of a prize winning charades team. At the time, Ms. Anton never thought that she would be political, but suspected that her friend and classmate Leonard Krog would end up in politics. He currently serves as the opposition critic for her portfolio.
Prior to entering politics, Ms. Anton worked as a Crown counsel and as a math teacher. Her longstanding involvement in sport issues and advocacy prompted her to run for Vancouver’s Park Board in 2002. She was elected despite being on the opposite side of a political wave. She subsequently ran for city council in 2005 and 2008, for Mayor of Vancouver in 2011 (though she was not elected), and finally for Vancouver-Fraserview MLA in 2013.
Ms. Anton participated in the Allard Law History Project in May of 2016. When asked about her priorities as Attorney General, she noted that one of the most important projects she had worked on thus far had been the establishment of BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), which is the first online tribunal in Canada. Beginning with strata claims and potentially expanding further, the CRT aims to increase access to justice by “bringing dispute resolution to your device wherever you’re sitting”. Ms. Anton notes that “it really is a remarkable innovation. We’re the only place in the world doing this.”
Ms. Anton was responsible for the implementation of the recommendations from the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry, including: changes to policing, missing persons legislation, support for vulnerable women and compensation for children of the missing and murdered women.
Asked about her advice for law students, Ms. Anton says to follow what you enjoy doing. “There’s a lot of right answers and not many wrong answers - just keep moving forward. And my political advice is: you never know. When I ran for Park Board I was never expecting to be Attorney General, but it was the first step on the path to where I am today.”