I just received the following by email:
I am writing with the good news that an external examiner has been confirmed to review the Ph.D. dissertation of Beth Simpson when it is submitted in late February.
Scary! Now I have a real, honest-to-goodness deadline for getting my thesis to Grad Studies! Ack!!
The deal with the external examiner is that I had to submit three names of profs from outside UBC who would be qualified to judge my thesis. Grad Studies picks one and I’m not allowed to know who it is until after the defence is over (I guess they are afraid that students will try to bribe/blackmail/threaten the external?). They send my thesis to them and then (s)he decides if it is worth a pass and emails some questions for them to ask me at my defence. I think most universities actually bring the external to the defence, but UBC is too cheap. Anyway, I hope that whichever one they picked is nice!