WHITE, Patrick




Author Tags: Labour, Law

With his first book Mountie in Mukluks: The Arctic Adventures of Bill White (Harbour, 2005), Patrick White (no relation) completed the second volume of 'as told to' memoirs and oral history from RCMP constable and labour leader Bill White (1905-2001) based on interviews and materials that were gathered by his Patrick White's father, publisher and writer Howard White, for the first volume, A Hard Man To Beat (1983). Bill White was a tough rancher and trapper in Saskatchewan when he joined the RCMP to obviate his own troubles with the law. During a stint as a crewman on the St. Roch under Captain Henry Larsen, he requested a posting ashore upon reaching Cambridge Bay in the Central Arctic in 1930. Patrick White's rendition of Bill White's Arctic autobiographical escapades includes an 1800-kilometre dog-sled chase on an murder case, encounters with Inuit shamans, an introduction to the one-legged Inuk named Poalokok, and lots of irreverence for the red-coated decorum usually associated with the RCMP. "Steer through the profanities and bawdy commentary," wrote reviewer Carol Lowes in British Columbia History, "and you'll encounter a man of heroic proportion with a rare feel for the North and its indigenous people." After five years of law enforcement and hijinks in the Arctic, Bill White headed to the West Coast where he became head of the Vancouver Labour Council and served 11 consecutive terms as the president of the Marine Workers and Boilermakers Union. This period of his life is the focus for A Hard Man To Beat.

Bill White moved to Pender Harbour--where Patrick White was raised--in the 1950s, also living in Sechelt, prior to his death on July 20, 2001 in Ladner at age 96. Born in 1981, Patrick White gained a history degree at the University of Victoria and has since pursued a career in journalism in Ontario and the eastern U.S. Both he and his older brother Silas White have worked for Harbour Publishing, one of the major publishing houses in British Columbia.

[BCBW 2005] "Arctic"