For this feature, Globe B.C. borrows from Marcel Proust (and other media who have popularized the French author’s questionnaire), as a way to get to know notable people around the province.
Here is Bernard Richard, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth.
Do you have a non-work-related passion or hobby? What is it?
There has not been much time for hobbies, but walking and reading would be the closest things to it.
What is your greatest fear?
Running out of time to do what needs to be done.
Dog or cat?
Neither. Four sons provided all the wildlife (tamed and untamed) we ever needed.
If you have $1 million to give to a charity, what cause or group would you select?
There are so many but I would give the million to the First Nations Children’s Futures Fund, which I helped to create in 2011 and still co-chair. It supports initiatives in play, culture, language and leadership for First Nations children and youth in New Brunswick.
Walk, bus, bike or drive?
Which living person do you most admire?
My father. He has a Grade 8 education but is one of the smartest people I have met in my life, though he can be somewhat opinionated. I have heard so many stories about people he has helped through his advocacy. He’s 93, drives his own car, lives in his own house, walks every day and writes letters to the editor. P.S. I don’t necessarily endorse all of his views.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their sense of humour.
What was your first paying job?
Pumping gas and washing cars; I would have been 15 or so.
What is the best present you have ever been given?
The greatest gift of all: love. The wonderful thing about it - it comes in a limitless number of shapes and forms. You can never have nor give too much of it and it always beats the alternative.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
It is cruel punishment to limit me to just one thing! Suffice to say that, at soon-to-be 67 years old, it is too late for any substantial or helpful change to occur.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Potato chips - plain but with sea salt. I can’t just eat one! They’re good with beer, wine and water. (Miss Vickie’s is my favorite, in case anyone is reading.)
If you could be a fictional character for one day, who would it be?
God. If I was Her, there would be no war or famine; no illness or violence; no pain or suffering; no inequality or prejudice; no poverty or hunger.
What trait do you most despise?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being hugged by my youngest grandchild. The many times, multiplied by eight [grandchildren], that has happened, I have felt perfectly content and happy.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Like Sisyphus, I’m still working on that, but the boulder seems to want to always roll back down the hill. My family would be my best legacy (Four sons, eight grandchildren); I’m no longer working on that!
The best movie you have seen in the last year?
Darkest Hour – a remarkable performance by Gary Oldman in his role as Winston Churchill.
The best book you have read in the last year?
The Mighty Hughes. It is a chronicle of some of the Hon. Ted Hughes’ invaluable contributions to Canada’s and B.C.’s most intractable issues.
When and where were you happiest?
Being with those I love and who love me. So it has never been a place. There have been so many of those times that I (almost) feel guilty about the good fortune I have been blessed with.
What most inspires you?
These days it is the very many young people I get to meet in my work. They have beaten the most difficult odds and are doing some of the most incredible work being done in B.C. Whether they are fighting homelessness, despair, poverty, mental illness, lack of education opportunities or a host of other woes, they make me want to do more.
What is your life motto?
There’s always room for improvement.