POLITICS

Herb Gray, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Mourned As A 'Great Canadian' (TWEETS)

04/21/2014 11:44 EDT | Updated 04/21/2014 11:59 EDT
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Herb Gray, a former deputy prime minister and Canada's first Jewish cabinet minister, has died at 82. The Windsor, Ont. native is being remembered as a great friend and public servant by the people who worked with him.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Gray an "honourable parliamentarian who served his country well."

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau also paid tribute to Gray, who sat as a Liberal MP for 39 years, the third-most of any member in Canadian history after Wilfrid Laurier and John Haggart.

In a statement, Trudeau wrote, "It is with great sadness that I learned Herb Gray has passed away."

“Over more than five decades of public service, Herb served in 11 different cabinet portfolios and ultimately as Deputy Prime Minister. Unflappable in Question Period, he made an indelible mark on Canadian parliamentary life. ... Sophie and I join in mourning the loss of one of Canada’s great statesmen, and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Sharon, and the entire family at this sad time.”

Sheila Copps, a former heritage minister who was Gray's cabinet colleague from 1997 through 2002, mourned the death of an "incredible Canadian" who "personified the true meaning of public service."

Ralph Goodale, a Liberal MP who also served in cabinet alongside Gray, called him a "truly Right Honourable gentleman."

Gray's impact in Parliament was felt across the political spectrum, with heartfelt tributes coming from Conservatives Jason Kenney, James Moore and Tony Clement.

CBC Radio host Shelagh Rogers tweeted a photo of a humourous sewing kit that Gray used to promote a re-election campaign in the riding of Essex West.

Gray was first elected in the riding in 1962 and won 12 subsequent elections, representing Windsor West starting in 1968 and sitting in the House of Commons until 2002.

Most of his years on Parliament Hill were spent in cabinet. He served as deputy prime minister under Jean Chretien from 1997 to 2002.

Prior to that, he oversaw portfolios such as national revenue, industry, trade and consumer and corporate affairs. He also served as solicitor-general and president of the Treasury Board.

In 2002, Gray was given the "Right Honourable" title by Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson, recognizing a "distinguished and record-setting contribution to Canadian political life."

In 2008, he was named chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa.

Here's what Gray's colleagues in Parliament and the press had to say about him:

Herb Gray, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Mourned As An 'Incredible Canadian'