Canadian politician Bill Blaikie dies at 71

The Winnipeg Sun reports that Bill Blaikie, the longtime member of the Canadian parliament, has died at the age of 71. 

Blaikie’s passing follows a long bout with cancer. Just earlier this month, it had been announced that Blaikie was entering palliative care. And, last week, it was revealed that Blaikie’s condition was terminal.

“It is difficult”

Blaikie’s death was revealed by his son Daniel Blaikie in a message that he posted to Twitter on Saturday on behalf of “the Blaikie family.”

“Earlier today, William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie passed away at home in the presence of his loving wife Brenda,” Blaikie wrote. “It is difficult to express in words our grief, as well as our gratitude for all the love, wisdom, and fun he shared with us over the years.”

Daniel Blaikie followed this up with two subsequent messages. In one, he wrote, “we thank everyone for their kind words and gestures over the last week since Bill publicly announced he was transitioning to palliative care.”

And, the other read, “street-side pipers, food, flowers, and especially stories of how Bill inspired and entertained people over the years were a comfort to him and us in his final days. A full obituary and funeral details will follow in the days ahead.”

Who was he?

Blaikie was an influential Canadian politician who spent nearly three decades in the Canadian parliament, first being elected to the House of Commons in 1979, before calling it quits in 2008.

Blaikie left parliament, but he didn’t leave politics altogether. Rather, from 2009 to 2011, he became a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Blaikie, throughout his career, aligned with the federal New Democrats, and back in the 1980s, he was one of the first Canadian politicians to raise the so-called issue of climate change. His son, Daniel, and his daughter, Rebecca, have largely followed in their father’s footsteps.

“A giant”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh offered his condolences to the Blaikie family in a Twitter message in which he also explained what Blaikie meant to Canadian politics.

“Bill was a giant in our Party,” Singh wrote. “His unwavering commitment to social and economic justice, his legendary knowledge of Parliament, and his sense of humor will be missed by all.”

“I send love and condolences to Brenda, Daniel, Rebecca, and his entire family. Rest in power Bill,” Singh concluded.

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