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Guest blogpost: A tribute to Charles Caccia

(Foreword: Joseph graduated from the University of Toronto with his Masters in Political Science in 2002, and is completing his Ph.D at the London School of Economics in Political Science. He was the former media director for the NO MMP campaign in the 2007 Ontario Referendum. He is currently the administrator of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Appreciation Society at Facebook. He is also an avid blogreader. The opinions expressed by Joseph are not necessarily those of Scott’s DiaTribes).
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Over 35 years ago, my father moved to this country . One can imagine how challenging it is for a person to move to a foreign country where you don’t know anybody and don’t speak the language. He did know Spanish and Italian – and that helped of course. He settled in the Davenport riding. He met the MP of that riding – a quiet, intelligent man from Milan – who gave him invaluable advice on things one should do when they first come to this country. He also made sure that my father knew that Canada is a welcoming country to anyone who wants to come and make something of their lives.

That MP was none other than Charles Caccia. It was very sad to learn that he passed away on Sunday at age 78.

“Gentleman” is usually a term that most people use when they described Charles Caccia. “Class act” is another. If you go around the Liberal Party, it is next to impossible to find someone who has a bad thing to say about him. For someone who served as an MP for 36 years, that is quite an accomplishment. He was a devoted servant to the constituents of Davenport , and would have easily won an incredible 10th term in office if circumstances had allowed it.

Charles Caccia was an environmentalist in a time when it wasn’t cool to be an environmentalist. He argued that there should be less cars, more trees, and more public transit way back in the 1970s, long before most people thought C02 emissions were a problem.

He was the last Trudeau minister to serve in the House of Commons. He was a tireless worker and promoter of the Trudeau vision of Canada. He also was an eloquent critic of the War in Iraq, which Canada luckily stayed out of.

While I was working for No MMP, Charles phone my house while I was away doing an interview for the CBC (Charles was one of our supporters). My father got to speak to him. He mentioned to Charles about his first experiences in Canada and thanked Charles for the help that he gave him so many years ago. Charles said that he was glad to have helped and that it made him happy that he was appreciated after all these years.

That was Charles Caccia. Given all the rancour and bile thrown around in the House of Commons these days, every elected official in Canada should look to Charles as a role model both as a parliamentarian and as a worker for constituents.

He is missed. May he rest in peace.

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