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Arthur DracheBy GERRY POSNER How many times have you heard or read about situations where a parent has established a lofty reputation in some area of life and the children of that parent are unable to surpass the high level of expectation their parent has for them?

You frequently hear:  “Well, he certainly hasn’t lived up to his dad’s reputation.” Or,  “It’s a shame she never could reach the heights that her mother set.”
 That exact situation is what confronted Arthur Drache as he set out to pursue a career in law. In front of him was the formidable status of his famous father, lawyer and community “macher” Samuel J. Drache. Even Sam told his son long ago, when Arthur was thinking of returning to Winnipeg to practice law, that it wasn’t such a great idea.
“In Winnipeg, you’ve always been known as ‘Sam’s son’… not your own man,” the father warned the son. He might have added “or son of Marjorie Drache” ( Tadman) - a powerful force in the arts community in Winnipeg for many years.
Arthur heeded that advice and now, some 40 years into his own practice of law, Arthur’s reputation has eclipsed his father’s. Even if Sam were here, he would be the first to admit that - and admit it happily.
How did it all occur? In Arthur’s case, the path was a straight trajectory-uphill, which he ascended rather speedily and easily.
From Champlain to Queenston School, on to Robert H. Smith and finally Gordon Bell High School were the beginning steps for Arthur. And then he did what was most unusual at that time. He went away to college, as in Brandeis University in Boston from 1957-1961 for his B.A.
After a year working for the Liberal Party in Ottawa, he entered the University of Toronto Law School, from where he graduated before going on to Harvard for an L.LM. That is an impressive college record, but it pales in comparison to the career that followed.  
After teaching for several years at Queen’s University in the Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario, Arthur and his family, including four children, moved to Ottawa where he joined the Government of Canada Tax Branch. It was there he honed his skills and learned how the “other side” operates. It was with the government as Chief of the Personal Income Tax Section for the Federal Department of Finance that Arthur Drache wrote most of the tax law applicable to charities. Yet, even with this preparation, who could have expected that, after his teaching time ended, Arthur Drache would establish himself as one of Canada’s foremost tax attorneys in Canada specializing in the fields of Charity Law, Estates and Tax Planning?
The space allotted to this article does not allow for an enumeration for all the committees on which Arthur has sat in the areas of taxation, particularly as related to arts and artists. Nor is there room to recount the cases he has had with the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, also the Supreme Court of Canada.
In addition, Arthur is well known as the editor of the publication Canadian Taxpayer, a newsletter which is published every two weeks. He has also written 12 books, aimed at both the professional and lay reader. Perhaps that is Arthur’s greatest talent: taking complex subjects and making them understandable to the lay reader. Of course, for anybody who has read the Financial Post, he was a regular contributor to that paper, later the National Post (1600 articles for those publications). No doubt he developed his writing skills right at Queenston School.
Or what about his time on the lecture circuit speaking to groups all over the country as well as abroad. With all of these seminars and speeches, none gives Arthur as much satisfaction as those occasions when he returns to Winnipeg to present on subjects related to tax and charity. Over the years he has been invited to do so frequently. Arthur even admits that his affection for the city and indeed the province of Manitoba carries over to the extent of still rooting for the Bombers, Jets and any team carrying the bison on the curling rink.  
Not surprisingly, Arthur Drache has been honoured many times by various organizations - too many to enumerate. Surely two of the more prestigious awards given to Arthur were the Order of Canada, in 2004, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, in 2012. When he looks back on his life though, he can reflect that he started in Winnipeg’s north end, (Where else?), spent a large part of his growing-up years on Montrose Street, and then established a reputation across the country that can make any Winnipegger proud. I think Sam Drache would agree: “The son has indeed surpassed the father.”

Ed. footnote: My own connection with Arthur Drache came in August 2014 when I was researching a story about an alleged Nazi war criminal by the name of Alexander Laak, who was found hanged in his St. James garage in 1960. According to a book titled Forged in Fury, Laak had been forced to hang himself by a Jewish “avenger” by the name of Arnie Berg, who had allegedly been responsible for the execution of several Nazi war criminals hiding in South America.
It’s an incredible story - but here’s Arthur Drache’s connection to it, as I reported in that 2014 story: “In 1960 Drache was working as a reporter for the Free Press. Drache told me, during a phone conversation, that he was a student at Brandeis University at the time.
“Drache says that his assignment editor had received a tip that Laak was living in Winnipeg. According to Drache, it came from a Russian source. The Estonian community in Winnipeg was quite small at the time, Drache said, and it was an easy matter for him to track Laak down.
“He told me that he and another reporter went to Laak’s house in St. James and spent some time speaking with him. According to Drache, Laak downplayed the role he had played in the Jägala camp in Estonia, describing his duties as akin to being ‘the warden of Stony Mountain’, in Drache’s words.
 “Drache did go on to write about Laak, but without revealing his true name. Drache said to me that he found the notion that a Jewish agent working for an Israeli “avenger” team tracked Laak down and forced him to commit suicide was highly implausible.
“But, I suggested to him, the same information that had been given to the Free Press, presumably by Russian authorities, might also have been given to the Israelis.
“Drache did concede that point. He went on to say that immediately after he wrote his story about Laak, which was in late August 1960, he drove to Boston to resume his studies at Brandeis. On the way he happened to pick up a copy of the New York Times, which published a major story about the suicide of Alexander Laak but, as was the case with the Free Press story about the suicide, the NY Times story did not reveal Laak’s true name.
“At the end of our conversation, Drache wryly insisted that he is still of ‘copus mentis’ (sound mind), although, he noted self-effacingly, he can recall events that happened in 1960 much better than what happened yesterday.”