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B.C. Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall, an opponent of nurses who refuse to get the flu shot, poses for a photograph outside the Ministry of Health office at the Richard Blanshard Building in downtown Victoria, BC Wednesday December 5, 2012. Chad Hipolito For The Globe and Mail

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

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 Dr. Perry Kendall, who recently retired after almost two decades serving as B.C.’s provincial health officer.

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If you could live anywhere in B.C., where would it be?

Victoria, on higher ground, but still close to the ocean.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Hard to beat Western Canada, but I could spend years looking.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I have always wanted to be able to play an instrument or sing in tune. I can do neither.

Dog or cat?

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Neither. Had both, plus fish, snakes, lizards, rats, mice and a tarantula.

An object you still own from your childhood?

Toy soldiers armoured as per the 12th century.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Fine single malt.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

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Arguably, fine single malt.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sunset on a beach, with loved ones, after a perfect day, 23 degrees, very mild breeze. (And a single malt.)

What is your greatest fear?

Getting it really, really wrong.

What was your first paying job?

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Working for Boots the chemist (as in a pharmacy).

What is the best present you’ve ever been given?

Unconditional love.

If you could be a fictional character for one day, who would it be?

Jack Aubrey.

If you had $1-million to give to a charity, what cause would you select?

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Drug-policy reform.

What life lesson have you learned this year?

Nothing lasts forever or even as long as one might want it to.

When and where were you happiest?

Bowen Island, March, 1982. It is the month I met my partner of now more than 35 years and counting.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

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What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What is your most treasured possession?

A sense of worth.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Personally? Persistent self-recrimination.

What is your greatest regret?

I wasted a lot of time.

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