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Submitted by katrina on Sat, 08/27/2022 - 03:55:PM

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.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:17:PM


Lloyd Axworthy

My condolences .John was a parliamentarian of principle and purpose . He contributed to the cause democracy in Canada and around the world .and was a model for all of us who worked with him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:21:PM


David Walker

John was a consistently great Parliamentary about whom I have many fond memories. He was kind enough to bring me into his office as a volunteer while I was a first year undergrad at Carleton, fresh out of Northern Ontario. What a thrilling start. Thanks so much

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:21:PM


David Price

Condolences to all the family and friends.
RIP John.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:38:PM


Sergio Marchi

John was a dedicate public servant. He believed deeply in Canada, and worked hard and thoughtfully to further strengthen our nation.
May he now RIP.
Sergio Marchi

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:42:PM


Jean Jacques Blais

Quelle triste nouvelle. Mon admiration pour John se poursuit depuis mes jours à la faculté de Droit de l'Université d'Ottawa alors qu'il nous rendait visite à son ami Jim Fontana, aussi du Nord Ontarien. Ce fut donc un grand plaisir pour moi de la joindre à la Chambre des Communes en 1972. Nos échanges furent nombreux et fructueux dans ce contexte.
Que de souvenirs j'en conserve.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:43:PM


Sharon Sholzberg-Gray

My deepest condolences to Marie and the family on the passing of an old political and personal friend. I have fond memories of the times my late husband Herb Gray and I spent together with John and Marie. All the best, Sharon

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 12:58:PM


Darrell Bricker

John was a gentlemen, scholar and committed public servant. But he was also a wonderful raconteur and great person to have in your golf foursome! RIP my friend. You will be missed by many.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 02:49:PM


Robert Bothwell

John’s friends in history will mourn his passing. I will miss his irreverent stories of life in politics (and in the cabinet) and in particular his story of the cabinet’s reaction to the appointment of Ed Schreyer as Governor General. John had a wonderful sense of the incongruous.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 05:31:PM


Lorna Marsden

John had a wonderful mind and deep knowledge so he was always someone to listen to wherever he was speaking. His independence only enhanced his many contributions to the public knowledge and understanding of this country. Sympathies to all the Reid family.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 07:53:PM


Jeffrey Reid

Very sorry I can't make the service. Condolences to Marie, John, Katie, Arianne and George.

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