May 19, 1924 – May 19, 2015
The passing of an eminent Canadian
Emeritus Professor Edward "Ted" McWhinney QC was born May 19, 1924 in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia the youngest son of Matthew and Evelyn McWhinney and a member of a distinguished family noted for academic and professional achievement in the classics, education and law.
Ted received his secondary schooling at Lismore High School and later at the selective North Sydney Boys High School. His initial tertiary studies were at the University of Sydney where he ultimately became President both of the Sydney University Liberal Club and the Student Representative Council.
During the Second World War, and though too young to vote, Ted became secretary to Bill (later Sir William) McKell, Premier of New South Wales, from which position he had to receive special permission to enlist in the armed forces.
As a flying officer, Ted was sent to Canada in 1944 for training – the start, it would turn out, of a seventy year love affair with the Canadian nation and its people.
Following the end of the war Ted pursued his academic career initially at the University of Sydney and then overseas. In 1949 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and in 1950 was called to the New South Wales Bar. In 1951 Ted was appointed visiting lecturer in Law and Political Science at Yale from which university he took his doctorate in Constitutional and International Law. He went on to do postdoctoral research work in The Hague, Berlin, Pisa and Geneva and afterwards held full Chairs at the University of Toronto's Law School and the Centre for Russian Studies at McGill University (where he was also Director of the Air-Law Institute), Indiana University (where he was Director of International and Comparative Law) and finally Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Campus.
Ted was named (by decree of the French Cabinet) Professeur-Associé teaching at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 1968 and came back to teach again in Paris in 1982 and 1985. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Heidelberg and the Max-Planck-Institut in 1960-61 and 1990, the Meiji University in Tokyo and The Hague Academy of International Law in 1973, 1990 and 2002. He also gave special courses of lectures at the College de France, the University of Madrid, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Institut Universitaire of Luxembourg and other World centres.
Unusually for his time, Ted lectured extensively in the Communist world – no doubt helped by his fluency in a great number of languages including, of course, his favoured French but also German and Russian. Among other institutions he lectured at the Institut Gosudarstvo I Pravo in Moscow, the Jagellonian University of Cracow, the Chinese Academy, the University of Peking, the Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and a number of other centres in the People's Republic.
Ted was elected to the Institut de Droit International (Geneva) in 1967 and was the first Canadian to gain membership of that century and a quarter-old academy. He was elected President of the Institut for the two-year term 1999-2001 – only the third jurist from outside Europe to be elected to that office. He was a titular Member of the Académie Internationale de Droit Compare (Paris) to which he was first elected in 1985. He was also a Member and Special Advisor of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly for three years in the early 1980s.
At various times Ted was also a Crown Prosecutor, Royal Commissioner of Enquiry, Consultant to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Constitutional and International Law Advisor to several Quebec Premiers, to the Premier of Ontario, to the Federal Government of Canada and to a number of foreign Governments. He was a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague from 1985-1991.
At an age at which most people would have been well into their retirement, Ted decided to pursue a new career in public life being elected as Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra in 1993. He was successfully re-elected to a second term and, during that time, was successively Parliamentary Secretary (Fisheries) and Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs). Ted chose not to stand for a third term and returned, instead, to his professional advising, consulting and teaching role.
Ted was the author of 30 books (two in French and one in German), and of 14 co-authored books, as well as some 500 scientific articles, published or translated in nine different languages. He was a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and past Member of its International Editorial Advisory Committee and was awarded the Aristotle Medal by the Greek Government in 1997 with the citation "for his contribution to the progress of science, free thought and intellectual development - values inextricably linked with Greek civilization throughout the years". He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at a ceremony at the University of Sydney in 2010 and, during that visit, was accorded the rare honour of staying at Admiralty House as the special guest of the Governor-General of Australia, Dame Quentin Bryce.
On June 27, 1951 Ted married Emily Sabatzky. Emily, whose parents Hugo and Else had been forced to leave Berlin just before the outbreak of World War 11, was an economist and financial adviser with her own distinguished and pioneering career. For the next sixty years Ted and Emily were an inseparable team pursuing life and professional excellence with energy, dedication and enormous personal charm. One of their key initiatives – the Edward and Emily McWhinney Foundation for International and Comparative and Federal Law – will live on through major endowments to be announced in the coming months.
From the 1950s Canada became Ted and Emily's base and it was with great pride that both became Canadian citizens. After living in a number of cities throughout the world and in Canada, they finally settled in Vancouver and for many years lived in an apartment overlooking English Bay. Emily passed away on June 12, 2011 just short of their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Following Emily's death Ted continued to pursue his academic and intellectual interests and as late as a few days before his death was deeply involved in an analysis of the prospective candidates for the US presidency – a task he undertook with the insight and forensic attention to detail so characteristic of his professional career.
Ted passed away on his 91st birthday after a very brief illness. He is survived by his loved elder sister Evelyn (Bunty) Stephan and his nephews Noel, Peter, Michael and Roger. Ted's brother Joseph was killed in a bombing raid over Germany in 1944.
A private service was held for Ted and his ashes were scattered at English Bay to join with those of his dear Emily. His sister Evelyn will also scatter a portion of his ashes at their birthplace in Australia.
A Celebration of Ted's Life is to be held at the Vancouver Club, 915 West Hastings St., Vancouver, from 2 p.m. on Monday June 1, 2015.
Thanks must go to the staff of St Paul's Hospital and, most particularly, to Ted's caregivers and friends who ensured that his last years were spent in comfort, security and stimulating companionship. Your affection for Ted is most sincerely appreciated.
By request, no flowers. If desired donations may be made to St Paul's Hospital or to the Ted and Emily McWhinney Endowment Fund at Simon Fraser University.
Walkey & Company Funeral Directors 604 738-0006
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from May 23 to May 30, 2015.