The Fifth Column is an anthology of writings by the Rev. J. Martin Hattersley, Q.C. Reflecting his breadth of experience in law, politics, and the church, this volume contains Martin’s thoughts on a wide range of topics, from societies and their frameworks down to individual lives and relationships. His keen insight and generous spirit animate these pieces, inviting the reader to live a loving and meaningful life at whatever cost. A great tragedy in Martin’s life was the murder of his daughter, Catherine Greeve, in 1988. This led him to take an increasing interest in crime and the justice system, including a period as Chairman of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the Edmonton Institution, and involvement with the Victims of Homicide of Edmonton Support Society and Alternatives to Violence Project. Martin maintained two monthly columns for 25 years (1987 to 2012): one in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton’s Messenger” and another in Gemini,” the newsletter for the Greater Edmonton Mensa Society that he belonged to. The pieces in this anthology are from these spaces, and from the many sermons and lectures he delivered.
John Martin Hattersley was born in Yorkshire, England, in November 1932. His parents immigrated to Alberta in 1953, while he remained in England to complete his compulsory military service and education in Economics and Law at Cambridge. Martin followed his parents to Canada in 1956 and settled in Edmonton. There, he articled in a law firm, and also sang in the choir at Christ Church where met his future wife, Florence. Martin shared his parents’ interest in the Social Credit movement, and between 1962 and 1964 worked on the House of Commons staff as personal secretary, researcher and speechwriter for Robert Thompson M.P., then leader of the Social Credit Party. After this period, he returned to the practice of law in Edmonton and continued his involvement in the Anglican Church, becoming an ordained Priest in Secular Employment” in 1974. The tragic murder of his eldest daughter Catherine Greeve in 1988 propelled Martin to explore the criminal justice system, advocating for restorative justice in a number of capacities. He has served as Chairman of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the Edmonton Institution, and been heavily involved in the Victims of Homicide of Edmonton Support Society and the Alternatives to Violence Project. After retiring from law in 2006, Martin continued as Honorary Assistant at St. Matthias Anglican Church in Edmonton until late 2011. In 2014, he completed a Bachelor of Theology and celebrated 40 years of ministry in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.