By Arthur Holbrook
We take pride in honouring Dr. James Boutilier for his many career accomplishments and contributions to Pacific Peoples’ Partnership on the occasion of his retirement from his duties as Special Advisor (Policy) at Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC), the Canadian Navy formation on the West Coast. He joined MARPAC in 1996 and has traveled widely on behalf of the Navy, primarily in Asia.
Jim was instrumental in the establishment of the South Pacific Peoples’ Foundation (SPPF), the forerunner of the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, in 1975 as SPPF protested the growing threat of nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific. He served as the president of SPPF for many years during which his knowledge of the South Pacific helped the organization to become Canada’s only non-profit organization devoted to placing Indigenous community knowledge and leadership at the centre of development efforts.
His knowledge of the South Pacific is unparalleled. He studied at Dalhousie University (B.A.), McMaster University (M.A.) and received his PhD from the University of London (UK) in 1969. He taught at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, from 1969 to 1971 before taking up an appointment at Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) in Victoria, British Columbia. Here he established the military and strategic studies program and taught courses on naval history, contemporary Asia, the history of the Pacific, and strategic issues. He served on the staff of RRMC for twenty-four years and was Chairman of the History Department and Dean of Arts until his retirement in 1995.
He was also an adjunct professor of Pacific Studies at the University of Victoria during his time at RRMC and, as the Canadian Forces consolidated their cadet officer training program and moved operations to the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, he was influential in the establishment of Royal Roads University.
Jim is recognized internationally as an expert on Indo-Pacific defence and security. He has written extensively on maritime and security concerns. He has lectured nationally and internationally on political, economic, and security developments in the Indo-Pacific region. Jim has worked with multiple Defence Ministers and Chiefs of Defence Staff at global engagements and has been a fixture at the NATO Defense College in Rome, the Canadian Forces College, and the Conference of Defence Associations.
At his recent retirement dinner, Jim’s peers spoke about his exemplary work as an educator, a statesman and informal Canadian ambassador. His legacy is extraordinary. We know he will be sorely missed by his associates in the Canadian military and we can only hope that he will grace Pacific Peoples’ Partnership with his wisdom, perceptions and good humour in the years to come.
AND a gracious addendum
Dear PACIFIC PEOPLES’ PARTNERSHIP ASSOCIATION,
We are pleased to inform you that on November 19, 2019 11:14:18 AM, one of your supporters made a one-time donation of $1,056.20 to your charity in support of the following fund: 1. Give Where We Need It Most – With this support we can leverage other funding!. Donor’s message to charity: Dear April, Please accept this donation in the name of Dr. Jim Boutilier. The funds came from the balance remaining from his retirement dinner. It comes with every good wish. Sincerely, David Collins.
Post Note: PPP’s upcoming AGM will feature a short presentation by our President Emeritus Dr. Boutilier, who will present on China’s Expansion into the South Pacific.
Story Prepared By Arthur Holbrook, an author, filmmaker and PPP Board Member based in Victoria, BC.