The Honourable Karen Horsman’s Questionnaire

Backgrounder

Under the new judicial application process introduced by the Minister of Justice on October 20, 2016, any interested and qualified Canadian lawyer or judge may apply for federal judicial appointment by completing a questionnaire. The questionnaires are then used by the Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada to review candidates and submit a list of “highly recommended” and “recommended” candidates for consideration by the Minister of Justice. Candidates are advised that parts of their questionnaire may be made available to the public, with their consent, should they be appointed to the bench. The information is published as it was submitted by the candidates at the time they applied, subject to editing where necessary for privacy reasons.

Below are Parts 5, 6, 7, and 11 of the questionnaire completed by the Honourable Karen Horsman.

Questionnaire for Judicial Appointment

[...]

Part 5 – Language

Please note that in addition to the answers to the questions set out below, you may be assessed as to your level of language proficiency.

Without further training, are you able to read and understand court materials in:

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to discuss legal matters with your colleagues in:

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to converse with counsel in court in:

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Without further training, are you able to understand oral submission in court in:

  • English: Yes
  • French: No

Part 6 – Education

Name of Institutions, Years Attended, Degree/Diploma and Year Obtained:

  • University of British Columbia, 1989-1992, L.L.B. 1992
  • Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA, Exchange Term 1992
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, 1983-1982, B.A. Honours 1988
  • University Hill Secondary School, Vancouver, 1978-1983, High School Diploma 1983

Continuing Education:

Although I have not been enrolled as a student in a post-secondary program since graduating from law school, I do have teaching experience both at law school and at seminars for legal professionals. This experience is detailed below under “Teaching and Continuing Education”.

Honours and Awards:

  • 2011 – Justice Edwards Memorial Award for exemplary service in the Ministry of Attorney General
  • 2014 – Appointed Queen’s Counsel

Part 7 – Professional and Employment History

Please include a chronology of work experience, starting with the most recent and showing employers’ names and dates of employment. For legal work, indicate areas of work or specialization with years and, if applicable, indicate if they have changed.

Legal Work Experience:

  • August 2000 to present: Legal Counsel, Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice (formerly Ministry of Attorney General).
  • Between 2000 and 2004, I was a research lawyer in the civil litigation group of the Legal Services Branch.
  • Between 2004 and 2011, I worked as a barrister in the civil litigation group, handling general litigation files on behalf of government.
  • From 2011 to present, I have worked in the constitutional and administrative law group of the Legal Services Branch, primarily defending constitutional challenges and applications for judicial review. I am a senior lawyer within the group and have had conduct of a number of leading constitutional and administrative law cases in the past five years.
  • August 1995 to August 2000, Sole Practitioner. As a sole practitioner, I provided legal research and litigation assistance to law firms and government institutions on a contract basis. The focus of my practice was on legal issues affecting government, and I worked for a variety of provincial government clients in addition to private firms. I appeared on administrative hearings, provided legal advice and opinions on a variety of issues, and prepared written arguments for court.
  • September 1993 to August 1995, Articled Student/Legal Counsel, Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General. I completed my articles with Ministry of Attorney General in Vancouver, and remained with the Ministry as legal counsel until the summer of 1995, when I left to start my own practice. In this period, my main role as legal counsel was in providing legal representation at administrative hearings.
  • September 1992 to August 1993, Judicial Law Clerk, B.C. Supreme Court. As a judicial law clerk, my responsibilities included assisting judges with legal research and the preparation of legal opinions on a broad range of issues. My principal judge was Chief Justice Finch (as he then was), and I also clerked for Mr. Justice Low, Mr. Justice Melnick, Mr. Justice Bouck, and Mr. Justice Wetmore.
  • Summer 1991, Summer Student at the Law Society of B.C.

Non-Legal Work Experience:

My non-legal work experience relates to my jobs prior to law school, which were largely in the service sector. I financed my post-secondary education, and occasional backpacking trips, through a variety of jobs. By way of example only, I have worked as a waitress; cashier at the UBC student cafeteria; pool hall attendant at Carleton University; barista at coffee shops in Vancouver and Ottawa too numerous to list; and chambermaid in London, England.

Other Professional Experience:

List all bar associations, legal or judicial-related committees of which you are or have been a member, and give the titles and dates of any offices which you have held in such groups.

  • Member of the Law Society of British Columbia, March 18, 1994 to present
  • Articled Student Principal, Ministry of Justice, 2010-11, 2012-13

Pro Bono Activities:

By policy, Legal Services Branch lawyers cannot provide volunteer legal services that may result in a conflict or perception of conflict. As a practical matter, pro bono opportunities for provincial government lawyers are restricted, given the broad scope of what may be considered a potential conflict; that is, not simply potential claims against government, but all matters that may touch on areas of provincial public policy or law. However, Branch lawyers are encouraged to participate in other volunteer law-related activities that do not present the potential for conflict, such as teaching. My activities in that respect are detailed below.

Teaching and Continuing Education:

List all legal or judicial educational organizations and activities you have been involved with (e.g. teaching course at a law faculty, bar association, National Judicial Institute, or the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice).

  • Adjunct Professor, Allard Law School, University of British Columbia, 2009 to present (co-teaching upper-level seminar course on Issues in Public Law)
  • Course Presenter at Continuing Legal Education, BC seminars:
    • Suing and Defending the Government, 2006
    • Torts, 2007
    • Suing and Defending the Government, 2010
    • Western Canadian Class Actions Conference, 2013
    • Suing and Defending the Government, 2013 (co-chair with Joe Arvay, Q.C.)
    • The fundamentals of Judicial Review, 2015
    • Appellate Practice, 2015
    • Administrative Law Conference, 2015
    • Labour Relations, 2016
    • How to Be a Great Litigation Junior, 2017
  • Presenter at Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch sessions:
    • Tribunal Standing on Judicial Review and Costs Against Tribunals, April 23, 2015
    • Appellate Advocacy, December 2, 2015
  • Presenter at Osgoode Hall, Fifth Annual Conference on Crown Liability, November 2008
    • The Tort of Negligent Investigation post-Hill

Community and Civic Activities:

List all organizations of which you are a member and any offices held with dates.

[...]

  • Vancouver Metro Women’s Soccer League, 2008-2015
  • Youth soccer coach, Douglas Park Soccer Club: 2006-2011

Part 11 – The Role of the Judiciary In Canada’s Legal System

The Government of Canada seeks to appoint judges with a deep understanding of the judicial role in Canada. In order to provide a more complete basis for evaluation, candidates are asked to offer their insight into broader issues concerning the judiciary and Canada’s legal system. For each of the following questions, please provide answers of between 750 and 1000 words.

1. What would you regard as your most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada?

I consider my most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada to be in relation to the development the law of government liability. Within that broad subject-matter area, I include government liability in tort, equity, and under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The availability of damages as a remedy under s. 24(1) of the Charter is a relatively recent feature of civil claims against government, and one that will inevitably expand the boundaries of government’s traditional liability in tort and equity.

I have appeared as counsel (either for a party or intervener) on many of the leading Supreme Court of Canada decisions on the civil liability of government. These decisions cover such topics as government liability for regulatory negligence [Cooper v. Hobart (2001), Holland v. Saskatchewan (2008)]; the vicarious liability of government in cases of historic sexual abuse [E.B. v. Oblates of Mary Immaculate, M.B. v. British Columbia (2003)]); and the availability of s. 24(1) Charter damages in civil claims against government [Henry v. British Columbia (2014), BCTF v. British Columbia (2016)].

At the British Columbia Court of Appeal, I have argued cases involving such issues as: the liability of child protection social workers in negligence and for breach of fiduciary duty [J.P. v. British Columbia (2017), R.G .H. v. British Columbia (2010)]; the tort of misfeasance in public office as applied to historic claims of wrongdoing [D.E. v. British Columbia (2005)]; the availability of damages as a remedy for unconstitutional legislation [Jaswal v. AGBC (2016)]; and common-law Crown immunity from civil suit [Richard v. British Columbia (2009)].

My interest in, and contribution to the development of, the law of government liability is not limited to my work as counsel. Since its initial publication in 2003, I have been a co-editor and contributing author to the looseleaf textbook Government Liability: Law and Practice, published by Canada Law Book. The intent of the book was to provide an accessible and practical resource for lawyers, legal support staff, and students in resolving such questions as whether the government owes a private law duty of care, when the “policy defence” applies, and which court to sue in if the plaintiff does have a viable claim. The pursuit of civil remedies against government can be a daunting task given the myriad of special rules and defences that apply. The book is intended to assist litigants on both sides of civil disputes involving government with a centralized and simplified compilation of the applicable substantive and procedural rules. The chapters that I personally authored, and have provided continuous updates to since 2003, cover the torts of negligence and misfeasance in public office.

My contribution to the development of the law in this area extends to teaching, both students and legal professionals.

I have been a frequent faculty member on Continuing Legal Education seminars in British Columbia, covering such topics as government liability in negligence, misfeasance in public office, and class action procedure. I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in such professional education initiatives. The support and collegiality of colleagues is, to my mind, fundamental to maintaining the standards and integrity of the legal profession. To that end, I have also provided numerous “in-house CLEs” for lawyers, articled students, and support staff in the Ministry of Justice on substantive and procedural issues in litigation against the Crown.

While not a topic specific to government liability, I have most recently appeared as a faculty member on a CLE designed for young lawyers on the subject of “How to Be a Great Litigation Junior”. This is a topic close to my heart, as I consider the provision of such mentoring opportunities to young lawyers to be of critical importance. I have benefitted enormously over the course of my career from the strong mentorship of senior counsel, and have looked for opportunities to pay that forward by, in turn, providing professional guidance to junior lawyers and articled students within the Ministry of Justice.

In a similar vein, since 2009 I have been an adjunct professor at the Allard Law School at the University of British Columbia, co-teaching a course on issues of public law. My experience teaching at Allard Law School has been particularly meaningful for me. I am constantly impressed by the intelligence, focus, and drive of the students who represent our next generation of lawyers. The opportunity that teaching presents to contribute to their legal education is a source of great satisfaction to me – I remain in touch with many of my former students, and have even managed to encourage some of them to a career in the Ministry of Justice. I consider teaching to be a particularly gratifying form of contribution to the law and pursuit of justice in Canada.

2. How has your experience provided you with insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians and their unique perspectives?

In answering this question, I include both my life experience and work experience. The former has influenced my insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians in my professional life.

What is unique about a government practice is the vast range of subject-matter areas that proceedings against government may span. The variety and diversity of Canadians, and their unique perspectives, have thus been reflected for me in cases that have, by way of example only, involved child protection, mental health services, youth and adult probation, aboriginal rights and title, equality rights in the provision of public services, remedies for historic institutional abuse, and environmental protection. The insight that a government legal practice may bring into the lives and perspectives of individual Canadians is bounded only by the extent of government influence in the lives of Canadians.

My perspective on such issues is of course influenced, as it is for all of us, by my own unique life experience. In particular, I have been influenced by the message of inclusiveness that was a persistent theme of my upbringing.

I was raised in a family that emphasized the importance of tolerance and compassion for others. My mother was an ahead-of-her-time feminist who worked as a sports reporter and English professor, before finding her permanent stride as a long-time counsellor at the Women Students’ Office at the University of British Columbia and (much to my teen-age embarrassment) occasional environmentalist tree-sitter. My father was a taxi driver/poet, with a strong commitment to his own working-class roots. My parents taught me the importance of respect for the marginalized in our society, whether the marginalization found its source in politics, religion, economics, gender, or sexual orientation.

I do not perceive my long-time career as a government lawyer as inconsistent with a message of respect for the interests of the individual.

First of all, I do not consider my “clients” to be limited to Her Majesty the Queen. I have had the great fortune in my career to represent the perspective of public servants working in a variety of professional contexts who do their very best to fulfill their duties of office with integrity, whether those duties encompass child protection, labour negotiation, timber pricing, or environmental assessment. In many instances, I have directly represented Crown employees because they have been personally named in lawsuits arising from the exercise of their public duties. These cases have provided some of the more meaningful experiences of my professional career. They are a constant reminder that the operations of “government”, that amorphous and seemingly spiritless entity, are in fact driven by thousands of individual public servants who bring their wide ranging skills, talents, and world views to their jobs. When the performance of their public duties results in employees being named as personal defendants in a lawsuit, they are entitled to a vigorous defence.

At the same time, my role as government counsel has provided me with first-hand experience in the struggle faced by many Canadians in accessing our justice system to have their grievances adjudicated. Unrepresented litigants have become an increasingly frequent feature of proceedings against the Crown, whether those proceedings take the form of a civil action or judicial review. As a result, I have been directly educated on the frustrations and struggles of a wide range of individuals who consider themselves aggrieved by government action, and attempt to seek redress from the courts. I consider it within my role as Ministry of Justice counsel to facilitate the efforts of unrepresented litigants to access the court system, to the extent I am able without undermining the defence of my client’s interests. At the very least, it is my obligation to listen and try to understand their perspective, whether or not that leads to successful resolution of the underlying complaint.

A client recently told me that he observed my litigation style to be “compassion combined with doggedness”. If that is an apt description, then I consider I have found a fine balance.

It is hard to imagine a legal practice that provides a more expansive insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians than a government practice. And while my experience has almost exclusively been on the government side, I do not believe this fact has a restrictive influence on my perspective. Indeed, I do not believe that one should even talk of “sides” when it comes to legal issues that engage government counsel. All citizens ought to feel represented by government, even those with unresolved grievances against government. As such, I have always tried to approach my cases from a viewpoint of understanding and compassion for the unique perspective and experiences of the other party.

3. Describe the appropriate role of a judge in a constitutional democracy.

In answering this question, it is first necessary to define what is meant by constitutional democracy. A constitutional democracy is a system of government in which representatives are elected by the citizens by a majority vote, but in which the exercise of political power is limited by a constitution. Thus the principle of “majority rules” is constitutionally constrained by the protection of minority rights. The constitution in Canada is defined in the Constitution Act, 1982 to include the Charter of Rights and freedoms and the Constitution Act, 1867.

Within a constitutional democracy, it is the role of the democratically elected legislature to pass laws, the role of the executive to administer and enforce the laws, and the role of the judiciary to interpret the laws and ensure that they are compliant with the constitution. Judges provide impartial adjudication of disputes between the citizen and the state over the proper interpretation and limits of legislative and executive power.

The role of a judge in a constitutional democracy may be illustrated by way of three examples:

  1. The court may be called on to resolve a dispute between private citizens and government, or between levels of government, as to whether legislative provisions are within the competence of Parliament or a provincial legislature to enact. Such disputes are resolved by judges in accordance with the division of powers set out in ss. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and associated constitutional doctrines such as “pith and substance” and paramountcy.
  2. The court may be called on to resolve a dispute over whether legislation or government action infringes rights or freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, whether any such infringement is justified under s. 1 of the Charter, and if not justified, then what remedies are appropriate under s. 24(1) of the Charter or s. 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  3. The court may be called on to exercise its constitutionally protected role on judicial review to ensure that statutory decision-makers do not exceed the limits of their statutory powers.

The importance of independent and neutral adjudication of such mailers is obvious. If an individual had no ability to seek independent adjudication from the judiciary of disputes over the limits of government power, the Canadian state would lose its legitimacy. For this reason, judicial independence is itself a constitutional principle. The independence of the judiciary provides confidence that disputes will be resolved fairly and in accordance with the law.

The question of the appropriate role of a judge in the post-Charter context is a delicate one. It is for the legislature to enact laws that set a social, political, or economic path for the province (or federally, for Parliament), and the legislature is accountable to the electorate in the event of disagreement with the chosen path. It is the role of a politically accountable executive branch of government to administer the laws. The judiciary is not politically accountable for its decisions, and cannot be if its independence is to be preserved.

The enactment of the Charter has required the judiciary to adjudicate disputes involving a range of political, social and economic issues that might previously have been considered the exclusive domain of the elected legislature. By way of very brief example, Charter challenges have encompassed such fraught issues as: physician-assisted death; minority religious protection; reproductive rights; adverse effects discrimination in the provision of public services; and the regulation of electoral discourse.

Any criticism of the judiciary entering into such areas must be considered firstly against the reality that the judiciary has been assigned a critical role in our constitutional democracy: ensuring that laws and government action comply with the constitution, which includes the Charter. As long as the judiciary is charged with ensuring, for example, that government action and legislation is not discriminatory and respects the right to “life, liberty and security of the person”, then the judiciary will necessarily be called upon to adjudicate issues that touch on matters of broad public policy. Furthermore, s. I of the Charter directly involves the judiciary in determining whether legislation that infringes Charter rights is nonetheless “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

The appropriate role of a judge in these circumstances is one that simultaneously respects the role of a politically accountable legislature and executive, and also recognizes the commitment of the Canadian state to a constitution that sets limits on legislative and executive power, and assigns the judiciary the role of impartial arbiter in deciding whether the limits are exceeded.

4. Who is the audience for decisions rendered by the court(s) to which you are applying?

The audience for decisions of the B.C. Supreme Court is potentially wide-ranging. The B.C. Supreme Court is a court of original jurisdiction, and has jurisdiction in all cases, civil and criminal, arising in British Columbia (per s. 9 of B.C.’s Supreme Court Act). The B.C. Supreme Court also hears appeals from decisions of the Provincial Court, and other statutory decision-makers where the decision-makers’ enabling statute provides a right of appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court. The decisions that might be rendered by a judge of the B.C. Supreme Court thus cover a variety of subject mailers (both civil and criminal), and potentially impact a diverse array of interests. The potential audience for judicial decisions will vary depending on the matter at issue, but include at least these three groups: the parties, members of the public who may be directly or indirectly impacted by a judicial ruling, and other judges of the B.C. Supreme Court to whom a decision may be cited as precedent.

The direct parties to a proceeding are the most important audience for decisions rendered by a judge of the B.C. Supreme Court. The parties may have different levels of sophistication and also different interests at stake in the matter before the court. The parties may include, for example, a criminal accused facing a potential loss of liberty, a parent seeking custody of or access to a child, a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident who seeks compensation for his or her injuries, or a corporation involved in a commercial dispute. It is of fundamental importance that the reasons for a decision are clearly conveyed to the parties (particularly the losing party) in a manner that allows them to understand why the case has been decided in the manner it has. Among other functions, reasons for decision permit a party who is unhappy with the result to decide whether or not there are grounds for appeal.

A judicial decision may also provide guidance to the parties as to their conduct in the future, which is another reason why clear reasons are important. For example, a decision in a child custody and access dispute may provide direction on the parties’ future parenting arrangements. Clear reasons for decision will (it is hoped) limit the potential for future disagreement and avoid the need for the parties to incur further costs in returning to court to resolve disagreements.

As government counsel, I can also say from direct experience that reasons for judgment of the Court may provide important guidance to the parties where future steps are required to comply with a court order. By way of example, the decision of a B.C. Supreme Court justice may guide the drafting of remedial legislation where a statutory provision is declared to be unconstitutional. A further example is that a decision may provide guidance to a statutory decision-maker where a matter is remitted to the decision-maker following a successful judicial review application.

The decision may also be read by members of the public who are not parties, but who may be directly or indirectly impacted by a judicial decision. In some cases, non-parties may have a legal dispute pending on a similar issue. In other circumstances, non-parties may be impacted in their daily lives by a ruling of the Court, particularly where legislation or government action is challenged in a manner that engages the broader public interest. Members of the public may be interested not only in understanding the outcome of a legal dispute, but also in the process and reasoning that led to that result.

Finally, if a decision of the B.C. Supreme Court is relied upon as a precedent in future cases, then the audience will expand to include other justices of the B.C. Supreme Court. Under the principle of comity reflected in Re Hansard Spruce Mills Ltd., [1954] 4 D.L.R. 590 (B.C.S.C.), a decision of a B.C. Supreme Court justice, with limited exception, is to be followed by another justice of the same Court. The reasons for decision thus assist other justices in determining whether one of the exceptions to the principle of comity (which include the failure to consider binding authority or a relevant statute) apply. Clearly written reasons for judgment are therefore important to the principled development of the common law.

Regardless of the nature of the case, the level of sophistication of the audience for the decision, or the nature of the audience’s interest, it is essential that decisions rendered by the Court explain the reasons for the decision in a clear and transparent manner. Clear and concise reasons for decision allow for certainty and consistency in the law, and also for meaningful appellate review. This, in turn, promotes confidence in the legitimacy of judicial decision-making, and the integrity of our justice system.

5. Please describe the personal qualities, professional skills and abilities, and life experience that you believe will equip you for the role of a judge.

I will address each of these areas in turn.

Personal qualities:

I consider myself to be a fair, open-minded and compassionate person, which I believe are all important personal qualities for a judge. A judge cannot come to a case with pre-set notions as to the outcome. Each side to a legal dispute is entitled to present its case before an impartial decision-maker, and to have that case adjudicated in a manner that is fair and respectful. I know that appearing in court can be a stressful experience for litigants (and their counsel), thus it is important for a judge to deal with the parties in a manner that is courteous and compassionate.

Other personal qualities that I believe I possess that are suited to the role of a judge are integrity, independence in thought, and a strong work ethic. I am fortunate enough to experience a high level of professional autonomy in my employment with the Ministry of Justice, particularly in the last few years. The workload has been challenging at times, but the work is always interesting. I have never been asked to advance a position that I considered unprincipled, and I would refuse to do so if asked.

Professional skills and abilities:

I have an in-depth knowledge of the law over a wide range of subject-matter areas. My ongoing legal education is enhanced by the fact that I truly enjoy the practice of law and find engagement in new issues as they arise. My intellectual curiosity about the law has also led me to academic writing and teaching on topics of particular interest. The depth of understanding I have acquired about substantive areas of law through my practice would, I expect, be of value in a judicial role.

At the same time, my practice has not been restricted to the intellectual study of law. I have enjoyed a long career as a barrister in the courts of British Columbia. I am, accordingly, well versed in rules of civil procedure and very familiar with the workings of the civil court system. My experience includes trials, summary trials, petition hearings, pleadings motions, interlocutory applications regarding pre-trial discovery issues, class action certification hearings, and costs hearings (to name but a few). My familiarity with civil procedure, and the courtroom setting generally, is also something that I expect would be an asset.

In addition, I believe I have developed strong research and writing skills, and an ability to analyze and apply complex legal principles. I am a strong proponent of plain language in legal writing and the importance of remembering at all times who you are writing for. I adhere to the adage that “it takes a long time to be brief”, and thus consider the editing and re-drafting process to be a critical part of legal writing. For the reasons stated in my answer to essay question 4, clear reasons for a judicial decision are of the utmost importance. As such, I believe my legal writing skills are apt to the role of a judge.

Life experience:

As I have noted in my answer to essay question 2, I was raised by parents who had firm convictions about the importance of tolerance and respect for others. This has deeply influenced me in my personal and professional life. Many of the personal qualities I listed above as suited to the role of a judge I acquired at an early age because of the influence of my family upbringing.

I was not, furthermore, raised in circumstances of privilege. My parents raised five children in a rented two-bedroom townhouse. While the importance of education was always stressed in my family, the responsibility for financing my post-secondary education was mine alone. I met this responsibility through a combination of student loans and many years of employment in part-time service jobs. As someone who has had to work hard for their educational and career advancement, I can (and do) empathize with the struggles of individuals who may face economic or social barriers to achieving stability and success in their lives and careers. I believe that empathy is of signal importance for those who have taken on the role of a judge, and indeed for all of us who wish to construct a society that cares for all of its members.

6. Given the goal of ensuring that Canadians are able to look at the justices appointed to the bench and see their faces and life experience reflected there, you may, if you choose, provide information about yourself that you feel would assist in this objective.

I expect that many Canadians would see their own life experiences reflected in mine.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. While I did move to Ottawa to complete my undergraduate degree (at Carleton University), I found myself constitutionally incapable of withstanding the eastern Canadian winters on a permanent basis, and so I moved back to Vancouver for law school. I have remained here ever since.

In my early career in particular, I struggled to find a balance between the demands of a law practice and the demands of raising three daughters, including twins. For many years, I had to find this balance as a single parent. My children are now aged 17, 17 and 21, and well on their way to independent adulthood. The girls are, and always have been, a central source of emotional support for me. I expect that I, in turn, have been a source of great embarrassment to them over time, but they have never held it against me.

My main source of stress management over the years has been in various forms of exercise. Until recently, this has included what my daughters referred to as the “older lady soccer team”, which is to be distinguished from the “younger girl soccer team” that my daughters played on, and which I coached for a number of years. My aging body recently insisted that I hang up my cleats for good after repeated injuries sidelined me. I have replaced soccer with a firm devotion to 6 a.m. boot camp classes, and long and very slow jogs through the city with my female friends of similar age and stage of life.

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