Fisher dead at 89
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It‘s difficult to say what Doug Fisher will be remembered for the most: his 50 years of political analysis as a journalist or his defeat of C.D. Howe in the Port Arthur riding in the 1957 federal election.
Fisher, 89, who passed away Friday in Ottawa, was the CCF candidate when he pulled off what was arguably one of the biggest upsets in Canadian political history. Howe, who was a larger-than-life Liberal who was referred to as the “minister of everything” during the Second World War, owned the Port Arthur riding for decades until Fisher came along and handed him a shocking defeat. This made Fisher an instant political celebrity even as a backbencher. Fisher, who was born in Sioux Lookout, was re-elected three more times before resigning in 1965.
New Democratic leader Jack Layton said he was saddened to hear of Fisher‘s death. He called him “a man with a distinguished place in the history of this country and its Parliament.
“He will always be remembered not only for his defeat of C.D. Howe and his work as an MP, but for his 50 years of political analysis,” Layton said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Fisher spent his life serving the country.
“Doug’s contributions to this country were many – as a soldier, a member of Parliament, and as a journalist,” Harper said. “His presence and his voice will be missed. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
MP Bruce Hyer (NDP-Thunder Bay-Superior North) rose in the House of Commons to express condolences on behalf of himself and the entire New Democratic caucus.
“Doug Fisher led an incredibly accomplished life that included many careers,” Hyer said. Fisher was a miner, a teacher (at Fort William Collegiate Institute), a fire ranger and a journalist.
“He was greatly appreciated for his integrity and commitment, and he will be deeply missed,” Hyer said.
What many people may not know about this Renaissance Man was that he established a forestry research library at the Lakehead Technical Institute, forerunner of Lakehead University, and that he was also a founding member of Hockey Canada and director of the Coaching Association of Canada. Fisher was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Lakehead University in 1987.
Fisher, who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1949, was called a maverick MP by columnist Richard Jackson.
“He rumbles to his feet and rolls over the government, cabinet ministers and backbenchers alike, crushing them to silence,” Jackson wrote in a July 1964 column in the Fort Wiliam Daily Times-Journal.
“He was a great bull moose of a man with a booming voice to match that he can make drip like acid or use as a brutal club.”
Fisher is survived by his former wife Barbara Lamont, five sons: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Tobias, and their families.
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