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Gryphon Gallery: Jessica Prince

Stuart Brambley, School Archivist
Jessica joined GNS as a Grade 1 student in 1990 and graduated in 2002.
Twenty years later she returned to speak to the graduating class in 2022. As a student she really blossomed in her high school years, receiving a Selwood Scholarship, the Jason Rogers Debating Award, the Monica Fisi Award for citizenship and service, the Read Cup for debating (she attended the Worlds in London, England) and as Head Girl, the Hammond Cup. In her Yearbook notes, she stated her ambition was to become Prime Minister of Canada and that Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a personal hero. Interestingly, it is quite possible that his son, Justin, is not, but I’ll come back to the reason for that.

Jessica studied political science at McGill University before attending law school in Oxford, England. After being called to the bar in Ontario, she worked as a lawyer for five years on Bay Street in Toronto. During that time she appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter, the landmark medical assistance in dying case. It was at this time, that she received and took the opportunity to go to Ottawa and work as a political staffer, becoming a Senior Policy Advisor and then Chief of Staff to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould. 

Jessica worked among other things on, developing policy for medical assistance in dying, cannabis legalization, gender equity and sexual assault reform and then…she would become one of the key players at the heart of a national question about the Liberal government’s respect for the rule of law in the SNC-Lavalin affair. To her credit, she stood up for the rule of law, the Attorney General, and her position, bearing the brunt of pressure from the PM’s closest advisors and ultimately joining Wilson-Raybould at a lower-profIle ministry.

Having returned home to Victoria, Jessica Prince is now on maternity leave from her role in the BC public service, taking, as she calls it, a “pregnancy pause”, but her worth and legacy remain very, very strong among many, many admirers back in Ottawa and who knows, maybe that school girl ambition will one day come true?
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We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.