Born in Fort Frances on February 8th, 1937, John passed away peacefully in Ottawa on August 25th, 2022. For nearly five years, John battled cholangiocarcinoma with inspiring courage and optimism. He leaves his wife Marie Ellen (Balcaen) and four children: Katherine (Todd); John (Seanna); Arianne (David), and George (Akiko) as well as ten grandchildren: Rachel, Rebekah, Shannon, Sarah, Liam, Paul, Maggie, Robert, Kento, and Mia. From his school days until his retirement, John was an avid student of Canadian politics. John completed his BA (1959) and MA (1961) at the University of Manitoba. After two years of Ph.D. studies at the University of Toronto, John left academia for a political career. From 1965 to 1984, John served as the Member of Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River. John was an altruistic man in his public and his private life. His career demonstrated his commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy and good government. John was passionately committed to government transparency as an essential feature of democratic rights. He received a crash course in good governance as the committee chair investigating cost overruns to build the National Arts Centre. Later in his career, John applied his considerable knowledge of Parliamentary procedure to secure the passage of the “Reid bill,” which unsealed thousands of secret government documents from the Second World War II. John also worked on the bill, which would eventually become the Access to the Information Act. Late in his career, John was appointed the Access to Information Commissioner. John’s tenure as Access to Information Commission included his notorious “report cards” on the government’s compliance with access to information laws and his numerous court challenges to obtain the release of information for the benefit of all Canadians. After the 1984 blue wave, John continued to promote democratic ideals, including free and fair elections. He worked with the United Nations as an Election Observer in Namibia (1989) and as Senior Political Advisor to both the chief Electoral officer of the United Nations Transitional Administration to Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) and Senior Advisor for the Organization of Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. While John left academia for the rough and tumble of Canadian politics, his immense curiosity about the past and education never wavered. John always stressed the importance of education to his children and supported them in their studies. For two years, John was the Executive Director of the Forum for Young Canadians, an organization dedicated to educating Canadian youth on public affairs and political engagement. The Funeral will take place at Our Lady of Fatima Parish (153 Woodroffe Avenue Ottawa, ON) on Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 at 11am followed by the interment at Beechwood. The family would like to thank the many health professionals who tended to John over his illness, especially Dr. Jonker, Dr. Hacker, the community palliative team, and the staff of May Court Hospice. The family would greatly appreciate donations to May Court Hospice in John’s name.
Marilou Lalonde and Richard Oga
We very much enjoyed our many visits with uncle John. His stories and insights into politics, government and his many appointments were entertaining and educational. We will miss his wit, serenity and charm.
I have so many fond memories of summers spent with the Reids at their cottage on Lake of the Woods. Uncle John was always so wise and thoughtful when discussing matters of importance - even when that meant he was teaching me how to play card games. I’ve always been so proud to have known uncle John, a man who was committed to his principles and showing love for his family. I’m very sorry for your loss Aunt Marie, Katie, John, Arianne and George.
I enjoyed his positive attitude and sense of humour. Rest in Peace, John.
John was committed to public life guided by an unwavering set of principles about fairness, transparency and civility. He treated everyone with respect and - rare for an MP today - spoke up for policies, even when they were not part of the party line. He will be missed
Your contributions and selfless dedication to your family and to Canadians as a whole will long be remembered. As an impressionable kid , listening to John talk about his experiences especially aboard , fuelled my own quest for delving into topics that I would not have otherwise pursued. Thank you, John, you will be missed
What an inspirational fellow!
Uncle John always had a wise word (or several ) to share with people, regardless of the topic. During his battle with cancer he was fondly known as “The Bionic Man”. Courageous, stoic, with a strong determination and perseverance, a real example to all who knew him. Now he’s up in that big golf course in the sky. Fore!!
Patricia Gagne and Bernie Reilander
Sending our sincere condolences to Marie and family. John was always a pleasure to be around. His sense of humour, generosity, and always positive attitude was a blessing and inspiration to us all.
Brenda Morrissey and Keith Penner
John Reid was a dear friend to the both of us. We delighted in his company. For Keith, he was a colleague and mentor. John's career in public life was a long and distinguished one. His passing leaves a void for all who knew him.
Cousin Jack Simpson
John and I talked on the phone on a monthly basis. Usually, just to catch up. I often sought his advice and it was always offered, always sound, and never ignored. We last spoke ten days before he died. We had a good conversation. I did not know that he would pass so quickly. I was hoping to speak with him again. And I will. My prayers are with him and your family. Thank you for sharing your Dad with me. I will miss him.
My deepest condolences. I will always remember 'Ari's dad' telling us stories about preparing for university exams.. when we needed to cram. Never to be forgotten.