Sunday, March 22, 2009

Farewell Doug Frith

As some of you may know, I'm involved in starting a new organization, Samara, through which we're trying to spark projects that support a culture of public service in Canada.  My friends from Canada25 will remember the feeling of possibility that comes with starting something new that we hoped would create a better future for our country; I hope Samara will provide that same sense for those involved with it.

One of the projects we're working on is a series of exit interviews with MPs from the past Parliament who are not serving in this one.  The idea is to capture their collective experience and shine some light on the good things we don't know much about, and on the areas where change may be needed.

Thus far, the process has enabled us to meet with some incredible individuals.  Among them was Doug Frith, who in addition to his career as a public official in Sudbury, in the Canadian Parliament and in private industry, chaired the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians.  I met Doug in early 2009 to talk about our exit interview project in hopes that the Association would work with us to make it happen.  Much to my delight, he welcomed the project and has been instrumental in moving it forward.  At the time, he commented to me that Gordon Fairweather, who had passed away on Christmas Eve, was the last living member of the Diefenbaker cabinet and that it was a pity we hadn't captured his voice.*  

Very sadly, I learned this afternoon that Doug passed away yesterday.  Here is an obituary from the Sudbury Star.  No doubt there will be more.  It was a priviledge to know him, if even for a few short months.  We will continue to work on the MP project in his honour.

*As an aside, I learned from Bill Young, Canada's chief librarian, that there were some interviews done of MPs, including Gordon Fairweather, in the 1970s.  I have the list, and one of my colleagues is currently navigating the Archives of Canada in an attempt to gain copies of them.  If anyone knows of these interviews or how to maneuver the Archives, please let me know.


andrew said...

I look forward to future posts.

Roshana Arasaratnam said...

Alison, The Hansard Society where I'm a trustee, has also interviewed British MP in their first year, about being a new MP.

Also we're doing some comparative work with the Canadian parliament, let me know if I can put you in touch with the Research Directors. I'm having coffee with Ruth Fox the new Director of the Parliament and Government programme today, so I'll mention it to her too.