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"LUN" 2003 Obituary


LUNMAN 

LUNMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-19 published
Neighbours grieve power-outage victim
15-year-old who died in Ottawa-area house fire remembered for 'a big heart.
He was a good boy.'
By Jordan HEATH- RAWLINGS and Kim LUNMAN Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - Page A3
The house where Michael THOMAS lived remains dark, burned-out and deserted. The power has been restored to the a small Gloucester, Ontario, neighbourhood, but the mood remains black.
"It shocked the community. It shocked everyone," said Tracy YOUNG, who lives beside the THOMASes' house. "It's pretty tense around here."
Michael's grieving family are staying in a motel while they recover from the trauma. The 15-year-old boy died during last Thursday's blackout, when a candle he took to ward off the darkness for his frightened sister ignited a fire when he fell asleep.
"He went to comfort her because she was afraid of the dark," said neighbour Jim SCRIVENER, who has set up a trust fund, along with other members of the community, to help Michael's family get back on their feet. "He had a big heart. He was a good boy.
"Michael was close to his sister and very protective of her," Mr. SCRIVENER said.
Michael, 15, was autistic and appeared much younger, he said, and was more like an eight-year-old in his demeanour.
The fire started after Michael's sister, Jennifer, left the room to join their mother, Erika, who was sitting outside. One of the candles Michael had taken to her room ignited a stuffed animal.
Ms. THOMAS was sitting outside with various neighbours, including Ms. YOUNG who lives next door, when the fire started.
Ms. YOUNG said that Ms. THOMAS noticed the smoke when she went in the house to put Jennifer back to bed.
"She ran back to my house and asked if I had a flashlight," Ms. YOUNG said. "I asked her what was wrong and she said 'I smell smoke,' so I grabbed the candle and ran up her stairs and you couldn't get up. It was just filled with smoke.
"But we never heard a smoke alarm, we never even smelled anything," she said.
The house was equipped with three fire alarms, but all of them were powered by alternating current electricity -- not batteries and were not operating during the blackout.
Ms. YOUNG and Ms. THOMAS ran to another neighbour's house, and when he couldn't find a way in, some of those outside hooked up Ms. YOUNG's garden hose and tried quench the flames in order to rush up the stairs to Michael's aid.
"They were yelling his name inside, when they brought the hose up, and they were screaming, really screaming, but there was no answer, no nothing from him," she said. "Then they tried to go on the roof and they broke the window and that's when the fire department showed up."
Michael's parents and sister have been left homeless by the fire and are living in an Ottawa motel while they grieve. The family who were living in subsidized housing -- did not have insurance. Michael's father, Dan, a security guard, was at work when the fire occurred.
"They're still in shock," said Mr. SCRIVENER, who started a fund in Michael's name yesterday at the Gloucester Centre branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Ottawa. He said all other Ottawa Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce branches will also accept donations and that he is hoping Canadians across the country will also help the family.
"They didn't have much to begin with," Mr. SCRIVENER said. Michael's sister "is taking it very, very hard," he said. The boy will be buried after a funeral Friday.
His death was one of the few attributed to the blackout in most of Ontario that left 10 million Canadians without electricity. Another 40 million people in the northeastern United States, from New York City to Ohio and Michigan, were also affected.
Another neighbour tried to save the teenager from the blaze at the townhouse complex but was too late. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Mr. SCRIVENER remembered Michael during a happier time in the neighbourhood when people gathered outside to gaze at the sky during a lunar eclipse. Michael was there.
"He had a big smile that night," Mr. SCRIVENER said. "He was a nice kid."
Michael's young demeanour made him a perfect playmate for her four-year-old son, Nathan, Ms. YOUNG said.
"They got along so well. It was excellent," she said. "My son would always ask me, 'Can I go play with Michael now?' "
"Michael would come over and see if Nathan could come out. They would always play together. He was a beautiful kid. Very nice, very shy, very polite. I never saw him hurt a fly... He was just so funny. An excellent boy."
In addition to the trust fund set up by Mr. SCRIVENER to help the family get back on its feet, the neighbourhood is soliciting donations to help pay for for flowers for Michael's funeral.
"Any extra money we get will go to help the family buy whatever they need," Ms. YOUNG said. "We want to do something, whatever we can."

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LUNMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-18 published
Party leaders pay tribute
Tories fondly remember Stanfield as best prime minister Canada never had
By Kim LUNMAN and Drew FAGAN, Thursday, December 18, 2003 - Page A10
Ottawa -- Robert Lorne STANFIELD, the former leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives, was remembered yesterday as a Canadian icon.
Political tributes were made across the country for Mr. STANFIELD, who died Tuesday at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa. He was 89.
He had been in poor health for several years after a stroke. A private funeral will be held in Ottawa tomorrow and a family burial in Halifax.
Mr. STANFIELD led the federal Progressive Conservatives from 1967 to 1976 against Pierre TRUDEAU and was known within the party as the greatest prime minister Canada never had. In later years, he was regarded as the conscience of the Conservatives, representing their progressive side on social issues.
"Today we mourn the passing of one of the most distinguished and committed Canadians of the past half-century," said Prime Minister Paul MARTIN. "I, like other Canadians, fondly remember Mr. STANFIELD's great warmth, humility and compassionate nature, but also his intellect and humour."
Progressive Conservative Leader Peter MacKAY said Mr. STANFIELD will be remembered as an icon.
"It's a very sad and poignant day. He had a larger-than-life persona and I think he can be accurately described as an icon in Conservative politics and Canadian politics," Mr. MacKAY said.
"Conservatives across the country, and indeed all Canadians, have lost a great leader and a great Canadian," Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen HARPER said.
In an interview yesterday, former prime minister Brian MULRONEY described Mr. STANFIELD as having brought the Progressive Conservative Party into the mainstream of modern Canadian life through his support for the Official Languages Act and his openness to ethnic minorities and diversity. Mr. MULRONEY said it was appropriate that Mr. STANFIELD had been receiving treatment at Montfort Hospital, the French-language facility in Ottawa, considering how hard he had worked as leader to make the Tories comfortable with bilingualism and how much effort he himself had made to learn French. "He was a strikingly impressive, quiet, thoughtful man, but who was very resolved and determined -- and with a generous view of Canada," Mr. MULRONEY said.
When Mr. MULRONEY was prime minister from 1984 to 1993, he would occasionally invite Mr. STANFIELD to 24 Sussex Dr. for lunch. Mr. MULRONEY revealed yesterday that, in the late 1980s, when Mr. STANFIELD was almost 75, he offered him the post of Canadian ambassador to the United Nations.
"He thought it was a great honour. He wrestled with it for a little while, but decided that, though he would love to do it, he thought it would be a bit much at that stage of his life," Mr. MULRONEY said.
"He brought compassion to politics," Nova Scotia's Premier John HAMM said yesterday.
"He brought a love of his country to his politics."
Flora MacDONALD, a former federal Tory cabinet minister, first worked with Mr. STANFIELD during the 1956 provincial campaign that made him Nova Scotia premier. "He set a very high standard for himself as a politician and expected others to do the same," she said yesterday. Mr. STANFIELD supported official bilingualism and abolition of the death penalty when his other caucus colleagues were strongly opposed, she said. "He didn't do things just because they were popular. He did things because he thought they were intrinsically right."
Governor-General Adrienne CLARKSON said Mr. STANFIELD "will be remembered for his integrity, his devotion to his country, his social conscience and especially for his wit and sense of humour."
Mr. STANFIELD was premier of Nova Scotia from 1956 to 1967. He was born in Truro into a family famous for its underwear business and became a lawyer before turning to politics, first provincially and later on the federal stage. But his awkward image contrasted sharply to that of the hip, telegenic Mr. TRUDEAU, costing the party every election it fought under his leadership. The 1972 election was Mr. STANFIELD's closest brush with federal power, when the Liberals narrowly defeated the Conservatives by 109 to 107 seats. Two years later, the Liberals regained their majority and Mr. STANFIELD announced his decision to step down. He remained as leader until Joe CLARK succeeded him in 1976.
After relinquishing his seat in the Commons in 1979, Mr. STANFIELD became Canada's special envoy to the Middle East and North Africa until 1980, and was chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation from 1987 to 1991.
He married three times. His first wife died in a car crash in 1954 and his second wife died of cancer in 1976. He married his third wife, Anne Henderson AUSTIN, in 1978. He had four children.

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LUNMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-20 published
Ottawa bids STANFIELD goodbye
'He was a sage.... He was quite extraordinary,' Charest says at funeral
By Kim LUNMAN, Saturday, December 20, 2003 - Page A9
Ottawa -- Robert STANFIELD was fondly remembered yesterday as a sage statesman.
The former Nova Scotia premier and federal Progressive Conservative leader remained one of the country's most respected politicians even years after leaving the national arena, Tory Senator Lowell MURRAY told more than 100 mourners yesterday at Mr. STANFIELD's funeral in Ottawa.
"There has survived perhaps only the kernel of something, but its essence in the Canadian consciousness -- that once, uniquely, there was STANFIELD, leader of a major party, a man of such civility, such humanity, such integrity, who adorned our national life," Mr. MURRAY said
Mr. STANFIELD, who suffered a stroke several years ago, died Tuesday in Ottawa. He was 89.
At the private ceremony at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, he was remembered as a respected politician with a dry wit. He will be buried today in Halifax's Camp Hill cemetery.
Politicians of all stripes attended the service to pay tribute. Outside the church, Prime Minister Paul MARTIN told reporters his father and Mr. STANFIELD were "great Friends. My father had huge admiration for Mr. STANFIELD. And I actually shudder to think what the two of them are doing up there right now, the amount of discussions that are going on."
Mr. MARTIN said he remembered Mr. STANFIELD for his "great sense of decency, integrity, and his deep, deep love of country." Progressive Conservative Leader Peter MacKAY said Canada has lost "one of its greatest statesmen, a person who raised the standard of politics and public service.... He was very much substance over style."
"He was a sage," Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest, the former federal Tory leader, said. Mr. STANFIELD "looked at life with a bit of a smile, I think. He was quite extraordinary."
Governor-General Adrienne CLARKSON called Mr. STANFIELD remarkable, "a man of deep conviction, a man who was decent and fair and honest and very funny." Other political colleagues at the funeral included former Tory prime ministers Kim CAMPBELL and Joe CLARK and former Tory cabinet minister Flora MacDONALD.
Mr. STANFIELD married three times. His first wife died in a crash in 1954 and his second wife died of cancer in 1976. He married his third wife, Anne Henderson AUSTIN, in 1978. He had four children.
Even as the service was going on in Ottawa, hundreds of people filed into the Nova Scotia legislature in Halifax to sign a book of condolence next to a portrait of the former premier, who led the province for 11 years, from 1956 to 1967.
Mr. STANFIELD led the federal Progressive Conservatives from 1967 to 1976 against Pierre TRUDEAU and was known within the party as the greatest prime minister Canada never had.
In his later years, he was regarded as the Conservatives' conscience, representing the party's progressive side on social issues. He supported Mr. TRUDEAU's Official Languages Act despite a revolt by his fellow Tory members of parliament and also backed abolishing the death penalty.
He was born in Truro into a family famous for its underwear business and became a lawyer before turning to politics.
Bespectacled and known for his slow-speaking style, Mr. STANFIELD conveyed an awkward image that contrasted sharply with the youthful, charismatic Mr. Trudeau, costing the party every election it fought under his leadership.
But he came within two seats of office in the 1972 election when the Liberals defeated the Conservatives by 109 to 107 seats.
Two years later, the Liberals regained their majority and Mr. STANFIELD announced his decision to step down. He was succeeded by Mr. CLARK in 1976.

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