House of Commons pays tribute to late Bill Blaikie, who served as Manitoba MP for nearly 30 years

The late Manitoba politician Bill Blaikie was honoured as “a great man and parliamentarian” in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Blaikie, 71, died at the end of September from metastatic kidney cancer.

The native Winnipegger served in Parliament from 1979 to 2008, representing his area of Elmwood-Transcona and its former ridings.

In 2020, Blaikie was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to parliamentary service and his advocacy for progressive change.

“It is with great sadness that we are highlighting the death of a great man and parliamentarian, the Honourable Bill Blaikie,” House speaker Anthony Rota, a Liberal MP, said in French, which was translated into English.

“I always looked … to him for a balanced view on issues. I also looked forward to his trademark wit and good humour,” Rota said of Blaikie, whose son Daniel is now the member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona.

“We have proof in this chamber that he was a source of inspiration to his children to follow in his footsteps to serve the people of Manitoba and all Canadians,” said Rota.

Daniel Blaikie, left, is shown with his father, Bill, in a 2014 photo. The younger Blaikie now represents the Elmwood-Transcona riding , and was among those who paid tribute to his father in the House of Commons on Wednesday. (Jim Still)

Members of Parliament across all parties, including federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, paid tribute and shared memories of working with Blaikie throughout his long career.

“His speeches in this place were legendary … shaming the government of the day for ignoring the needs of the most vulnerable and laying out a path to a better and fairer future,” Singh, who attended Blaikie’s funeral in Winnipeg earlier this month, said in the House on Wednesday.

Blaikie’s son, Daniel, closed the tribute in the House of Commons with a tearful speech and a toast he said was a favourite of his father’s —a proud Scotsman.

“Here’s to us,” said Daniel Blaikie. “Who’s like us? Damn few — and they’re all dead.”

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