The lawyer who never billed us

Clyne Harradence, second from right, at St. Alban’s Cathedral, when he and his wife, Helen, second from left, received the Order of Saskatchewan. Also in the photo (l to r): Lisa Harradence (daughter-in-law); Bishop Anthony Burton, and David Harradence (son).
Clyne Harradence, second from right, at St. Alban’s Cathedral, when he and his wife, Helen, second from left, received the Order of Saskatchewan. Also in the photo (l to r): Lisa Harradence (daughter-in-law); Bishop Anthony Burton, and David Harradence (son).
Published March 22, 2012

J.H. Clyne Harradence, who provided legal counsel to the Anglican Church of Canada for 42 years and yet never once sent a bill, died on March 17, in Prince Albert, Sask. He was 87.

A parishioner of St. Alban’s Cathedral, he had served as chancellor of the diocese of Saskatchewan (from December 1962 to January 2005), as prolocutor of General Synod (1980 to 1983) and vice-chancellor at General Synod (1986 to 2005).

Many Anglicans remembered Mr. Harradence’s immense pro-bono work for the church and his remarkable personality. “The Church on earth is much less colourful with the passing of Clyne Harradence,” Michael Hawkins, the bishop of the diocese of Saskatchewan, told the Anglican Journal. He always had “a firm handshake and an endearing smile,” and there was “a firmness to his advocacy both as a lawyer and as a traditional churchman,” said Bishop Hawkins. “He was both a fierce soldier and a humble servant in the church and the community.”

In 2007, Mr. Harradence was awarded the Anglican Award of Merit, the highest distinction given by the Anglican Church of Canada to lay people who have contributed to the life and work of the church at the national and international level.

In nominating Mr. Harradence for the award, Anthony Burton, then the bishop of the diocese of Saskatchewan, noted that Mr. Harradence worked “tirelessly” for the church without seeking any compensation. “He has also been a significant philanthropic benefactor of northern mission,” said Bishop Burton. Mr. Harradence undertook all legal work for all the aboriginal clergy of the diocese “and never sent any of them a bill either,” he added.

Mr. Harradence also assisted with all the canonical work that led to the election in 1989 of Canada’s first aboriginal bishop, Charles Arthurson. It was “groundbreaking” work that “accelerated the movement towards indigenous self-determination” at the church’s national level, noted Bishop Burton.

In 2007, Mr. Harradence also received the The Order of Saskatchewan, which was established “to recognize lay people who are exemplary witnesses to Jesus Christ and who have offered exceptional service to the Diocese of Saskatchewan over many years.” It is an honour bestowed by the Bishop of Saskatchewan.

In an email to the Journal, Bishop Burton recalled that Mr. Harradence’s skills in the courtroom were “legendary.” He was “the passionate advocate in the province, brilliant at cross-examination and nationally famous for his summations in which he could lucidly address a jury for half an hour without a note.”

He was a firm believer in justice and the rule of law “as essential to a free society and human flourishing.” What kept Mr. Harradence going through piles of routine cases were the trials “when he knew that had he not been there, a true and serious justice would have occurred and the life of an innocent person would otherwise have been ruined,” said Bishop Burton.

According to an online obituary prepared by his family and published at In, Mr. Harradence was thrust into the national limelight when he became the lead negotiator during a violent prison riot and hostage taking incident at the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary in 1991.

Mr. Harradence began his law career after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan School of Law in 1949. He secured an articling position and became a partner in the law firm on John Diefenbaker, who became the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada in 1957.

Mr. Harradence was an active member of the Liberal Party of Canada, and served as co-chair of the national party convention in 1980.

But while church, community and legal work kept him busy, Mr. Harradence was able to achieve “a remarkable balance in his life,” said the obituary. He enjoyed playing tennis and swimming until his mid-70s and kept his love for architecture alive through construction, renovation and conversion projects involving his family homes and historic public buildings.

“He was an enthusiastic cook, a gracious host, and a principled presence at the head of our family table at every important occasion,” said his family.

Mr. Harradence is survived by his wife, Helen, and his four sons, David, Keith, Hugh, and James, and their families.











  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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