Family says Bill Blackie, who served as NDP MP for nearly 30 years, passed away IG News

Irshadgul News report,

WINNIPEG – Manitoba politician Bill Blackie, who spent nearly 30 years as a member of parliament with the federal New Democrats, has died.

His son, NDP finance critic Daniel Blackie, posted a family statement on social media saying that his father died at home on Saturday in the presence of his wife Brenda.

Bill Blackie publicly announced earlier this month that he was entering palliative care.

“After Bill publicly announced that he was transitioning to palliative care, we thank everyone for their kind words and gestures over the past week,” the family statement said.

“The roadside pipers, the food, the flowers and especially the stories of how Bill inspired and entertained people over the years were a comfort to him and us in his final days.”

Blaikie was first elected to the House of Commons in 1979, representing a Winnipeg riding for the NDP, and was at one time the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons.

He left Ottawa in 2008, winning a seat in the Manitoba legislature the following year and was named the province’s minister of conservation before leaving politics in 2011.

The family statement said the details of the funeral will be out in the coming days.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, in a condolence message to Blaiky’s family, called the former MP a “huge” in the party.

“His unwavering commitment to social and economic justice, his great knowledge of Parliament and his lack of sense of humour will be missed by all,” Singh posted on social media.

“Rest in the electricity bill.”

Blaikie, an ordained minister of the United Church, also held a position as an assistant professor of theology at the University of Winnipeg.

He was voted Parliamentarian of the Year by his fellow MPs, largely because of his reputation as a hard worker who avoided partisan cheap shots in debate.

In 2003, he lost his bid for leadership of the Confederate party to Jack Layton in a contest that pitted the trendy New Left against Layton and Blakey and the traditional, Prairie populist wing.

Blaikie ended his parliamentary career as Deputy Speaker of the Commons, explaining that he had retired from federal politics because he did not want to continue moving between Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Some party insiders commented at the time that his switch to provincial politics upset many. He said he sought the nomination after former Manitoba NDP chief Gary Doerr asked him to be considered, when a member of Doerr’s caucus left to run for Blikey’s vacant federal seat.

Former NDP MP Pat Martin lauded Blackie as the first person to raise the issue of climate change in the House of Commons in 1983.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew called Blackie the “lion” of the party.

“He fought with passion, intelligence and faith for working people in Transcona and across the country,” Keanu posted on Twitter.

“The Blackie family has been so nice to us, on behalf of our movement we send you our deepest condolences.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 24, 2022.

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