Thumper: 1932 to 2018

The Hon. Donald S. Macdonald has died. We were never friends. He might have served in Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet and we were both Torontonians but we never exchanged much more than the odd slight. I found him very elitist, right-wing and the kind of Rosedale warrior that was a pain in the ass. To be fair, he mainly ignored me.

But, he is dead and I should think of something nice to say about him. The good news is I do not intend to go to his funeral.

Surprisingly I got my early push in politics from Rosedale residents who were close to Don. My late friend Joe Potts and I managed to get ourselves into and out of trouble until Joe got his appointment to the bench and he was no longer allowed to play with political riff-raff.

But this story is about Thumper. And, by the way, I called him “Thumper” after that rabbit in the story of Disney’s Bambi. I never looked at his feet. Thumper was always raising alarms.

The final straw was Don’s acceptance in 1982 of the the chair of the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. He had quit politics four years earlier to return to law but accepted Pierre Trudeau’s appointment for a reputed $800 per day.

I hope he was docked for the $800 on the day I was making my presentation to the commission. No reason was given, he never showed up. With a pitch entitled ‘Towards A New Capitalism’ I should not have expected any special treatment.

I hardly think it was just my lack of enthusiasm for free trade with the U.S.A. that led Don to suggest that “leap of faith” in free trade in his report. I saw it as a give-away to a country that did not even believe in fair trade. I felt we were setting ourselves up to be bullied.

I thought Don was pleased that he did not have to hand his report to the much smarter Pierre Trudeau. Instead, Brian Mulroney, the patsy PM for the Americans, was the ideal recipient of his inelegant tome.

But I still need something positive. I was going to mention the bow ties but the first time I saw Don in a bow tie was after the 1962 election when he was first elected. It was at a function for prime minister Lester Pearson. I though Don was kissing up to the boss and his traditional bow tie.

I can apologize now because I found out later that Don really liked bow ties. I hope he is wearing one for the funeral.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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