In Loving Memory
Douglas Mason Fisher, 1919-2009
Died peacefully in his sleep in Ottawa, September 18, on the eve of his 90th birthday. A ‘boy from the bush’, and proud of it, Douglas was born and raised in Sioux Lookout, a remote railway town in northwestern Ontario. He was the son of a CNR locomotive engineer, Roy Waldon Fisher, and his wife, Eva Pearl Mason. Doug was predeceased by his parents, brothers Gordon and George, and sisters Joyce and Irene. A miner, soldier, librarian, teacher, Member of Parliament, political columnist … the list goes on.
Doug was a great and very grateful Canadian. He applied his prodigious intellect and energy to a wide range of interests. A trooper with the XIIth Manitoba Dragoons, he served in Canada, England and northwest Europe from 1941-45. Though he lost many friends, Doug had a ‘good war’, and used his veterans’ benefits to attend Victoria College, U of T, where he was greatly influenced by professors Northrop Frye, Frank Underhill and Donald Creighton. He graduated with degrees in Honours History and Library Science.
Doug returned to northern Ontario (Thunder Bay) to set up a forestry research library and to teach high school history at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute. He came to national attention in 1957 as the ‘giant killer’ who defeated CD Howe, the Liberal ‘minister of everything’. He represented Port Arthur and Thunder Bay for the CCF/NDP from 1957-1965, winning re-election three times.
Doug was a ‘House of Commons man’, who befriended and supported MPs from all parties. He resigned his seat to focus on his career as a political commentator, writing a nationally-syndicated column three times a week for 44 years (Toronto Telegram and Toronto Sun), and hosting a weekly political television show for more than 25 years at CJOH in Ottawa. He retired as the dean of the parliamentary press gallery in 2006.
Beyond politics and journalism, Doug made little-known but large contributions to public policy in sport and recreation, forestry, libraries, educational television, government and parliamentary reform and veterans affairs. A lifelong devotee of sport, he co-authored ‘Canada’s Sporting Heroes’ with his late friend, SF Wise. As a founding director of Hockey Canada, Doug brokered the deal for the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series and then the Canada Cup, opening a new era in international hockey. He also helped establish the first national coaching programmes for sport in Canada.
Doug is survived by his former wife, Barbara, their five proud sons – Mark, Matthew, Tobias (Mireille Nicholas), John (Huguette Houle) and Luke (Kamla Almeida) – and by his six grandchildren – Wendel, Irene, Alex, Emma, Sam and Ruth. The family wishes to thank the staff of Granite Ridge residence for looking after Doug’s needs so well for the last two years. It was Doug’s longstanding request that there be no funeral or memorial service. However, his family invites friends to remember a long life, well-lived, by posting their memories of Doug to this website.
Memories and messages have been posted throughout the site, see All Comments for a complete index.
Roger Currie radio commentary on Douglas, Currie Corner
16 Responses to “In loving memory”
- '72 Series
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- In loving memory
- Stan Blady, Winnipeg Free Press
- Andrew Cohen, Ottawa Citizen Special
- Jim Kelly, THUNDER BAY CHRONICLE-JOURNAL
- Sandra Martin, Globe & Mail
- PETER WORTHINGTON, SUN MEDIA
- CBC News.ca
- IAN ROBERTSON, SUN MEDIA
- John Geddes, Maclean's
- Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service
- Roy MacGregor, GLOBE & MAIL
- Allan Fotheringham, Sun Media
- Peter Worthington, Sun Media
- Tim Creery, Southam News Service '64
- Jim Coleman, Hockey is Our Game
- Peter Newman, Maclean's Magazine '61
- F. Abbas Rana, The Hill Times
- Larry Zolf, CBC Viewpoint
- All Comments
- Contact Us
- The Sun’s sage on the Hill bids adieu
- THE NEW PARLIAMENT … BY THE NUMBERS
- Doug’s Columns 2006
- THE ORIGINS OF CANADA’S ‘TWO SOLITUDES’
- MULRONEY, NEWMAN AND ME