By John Kiedrowski
Richard “Bud” Jobin passed away on December 10, 2015, at the young age of 61, after a short illness. We’ve lost a friend and close colleague who was a strong voice for First Nations building inspectors. He was passionate about trying to make change, and ultimately improving living conditions for all First Nations communities.
Back in 2001, I met Bud at a meeting in Ottawa. There he was, along with other leaders from the First Nations housing-inspection sector, meeting to talk about how to improve capacity for inspectors. From these discussions, the First Nations National Building Officers Association (FNNBOA.CA) was established.
Bud was a key player who provided leadership for the group. He was devoted to building capacity for inspectors, and making sure they receive the proper training. Bud worked endless hours to help establish FNNBOA as a well-respected organization.
Bud would show up at meetings and conferences with his mother, Lena, who also passed away, in 2014. At presentations, Bud would explain each slide. We always knew when he was going to tell a joke. He would start to laugh under his breath before he delivered the punch lines. Everyone appreciated his dry sense of humour.
Bud was everyone’s Buddy. This was evident from the outpouring of donations during his illness, from participants at a housing conference in Edmonton. People would drop by the table, sign the card, and tell me about how they met Bud or how he helped the community.
Bud was always calm. But he did have an intense side, demonstrated in his inspection work, or when he provided comments on reports. He was a perfectionist about the correct way to build a home, but he was also a pragmatist who understood the unique challenges facing First Nations.
I was amazed by his love of watching curling on television. He made it clear on a number of occasions not to call him when curling was on.
Outside of FNNBOA work, Bud was always interested in my other projects. On occasion, he was interested in reviewing my draft reports on policing and providing comments.
Back in early October, FNNBOA’s executive and I met with Bud. His spirits were great, and his sense of humour remained strong. He was not at all concerned about himself, but was more interested in looking towards the future and building partnerships with the Alberta Municipal Affairs Safety Services Branch and the Safety Codes Council, where he saw the potential for inspectors, no matter where they lived, to work both on- and off-reserve. He saw this not only as improving the professionalism of inspectors, but as an economic opportunity as well.
Bud’s death is a personal loss to all of us. We will miss his leadership, friendship, good-natured, impeccable inspections, and cheerful presentations. We will continue to support his legacy of creating positive change in the First Nations housing sector.