Friday, September 18, 2009

Douglas Fisher, 1919-2009. R.I.P.

Former Canadian Member of Parliament turned journalist Douglas Fisher has died.  He was a day shy of his 90th birthday.

Fisher cut his political teeth in Port Arthur, Ontario (now known as Thunder Bay - my hometown).  He was a high school teacher at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute (the high school I attended many decades later) when he did the impossible.  Fisher dethroned C.D. Howe, the so-called "Minister of Everything" under the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) banner in the 1957 general election. Ousting Howe would be roughly equivalent to a Republican ousting Charlie Rangel.  

However, Fisher grew disenchanted with politics when the CCF struck up an alliance with the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress) to form the NDP in 1961.  He vigorously opposed organized labour having a disproportionate influence in the party.  Fisher began writing newspaper columns a short time thereafter to supplement his modest income as an MP and by 1965 had left electoral politics and joined the Canadian Press Gallery.  He did have a rapprochement with the NDP and ran for them in 1968 in a Toronto riding but was not successful and Fisher remained in journalism thereafter.  Always considered on the right-wing of Canadian social democracy his political inclinations gradually became more conservative. Consequently, Fisher is not so fondly remembered in NDP circles.  In 1971, Fisher joined The Toronto Sun where he remained until his retirement in 2006.

Several of his children have also embarked upon careers in journalism no doubt inspired by their father's rich life of experiences.

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