Born in Vancouver and raised on Vancouver Island, Oppal is a graduate of the University of British Columbia Law School. He worked in private practice before being appointed to County Court of British Columbia in 1981 and to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1985. In 2005, Oppal was elected as the Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview.
A well-known advocate for justice, he is also the author of “Closing the gap: Policing and the community,” the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Policing in British Columbia.
Oppal says he is honored to serve as the chancellor at “such a progressive and innovative university”. In the fall of 2011, TRU will open the first new law school in Canada in more than 35 years. “It is one of the things that enticed me to accept the position,” says Oppal.
“Access to justice is one the big issues facing Canada today,” says Oppal. “Young lawyers end up gravitating towards the major cities and I think by having a law school in Kamloops that will auger well for future and we can provide access to more lawyers outside of larger centers.”
In 2003, Oppal was appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal and served as the B.C. attorney general and minister responsible for multiculturalism from 2005 to 2009. He currently heads the Commission of Inquiry into Missing Women in British Columbia, tasked to examine police response to reports of missing women on Vancouver’s downtown eastside. ?
Oppal will be formally installed as chancellor on June 8, 2011 replacing Nancy Greene Raine.