March 21, 2012 – Appointment of Independent Counsel presenting issues related to Aboriginal interests announced

(Information attributable to Mr. Art Vertlieb, Q.C., Commission Counsel)

Commissioner Wally Oppal has appointed lawyers Suzette Narbonne and Elizabeth Hunt as Independent Co-Counsel to present issues related to Aboriginal interests. Commissioner Oppal believes that this role is crucial to ensure that Aboriginal interests are presented at the Inquiry.

Both Ms. Narbonne and Ms. Hunt are respected, experienced legal professionals. Commissioner Oppal has every confidence in each lawyer’s ability.

Suzette Narbonne Biography
Ms. Narbonne started her legal career as a staff lawyer with Legal Aid Manitoba in The Pas, Manitoba. She was called to the Bar in Manitoba in June 1989 and in British Columbia in May 1995, when she moved to Prince Rupert. She lived in Prince Rupert until January 2011. She now makes her home in Gibsons, B.C., where she continues as a sole practitioner, primarily in the fields of criminal law and human rights.

While in Prince Rupert, Ms. Narbonne was on the executive of the Rupert Runners and was actively involved with other non-profit organizations. She was recognized for her community service in Prince Rupert County by the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. branch, in 2008.

Ms. Narbonne served as a governor of the Law Foundation of British Columbia for six years (2003 to 2009). She served on the following committees during her terms: Child Welfare, Funding Strategies, New Grants, New Initiatives, and Special Needs Fund (Chair). She served as a Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia from September 2009 to December 2011. She was appointed to the board of the Legal Services Society in May of 2011.

Elizabeth Hunt Biography
Ms. Hunt is a lawyer and a member of the Kwakiutl Nation. Her practice areas include aboriginal law, specifically treaty negotiations, residential school claims, corporate and commercial, intellectual property, wills and estates as it relates to Aboriginal interests. She has also been a sessional professor at Thompson Rivers University and University of Victoria. Ms. Hunt has a long history of volunteerism with children and youth in the community. She is a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee of the Law Society of British Columbia.

Ms. Hunt was called to the Bar in B.C. in 1995 and started her career as an associate at the law firms of Mandell Pinder and Cook Roberts. She has been a sole practitioner for the past several years.