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The Council of Canadians mourns the passing of James Laxer

James Laxer

The Council of Canadians mourns the passing of James Laxer. He died of natural causes on February 23 at the age of 76.

On Friday afternoon his son Michael posted on Facebook, “It is with an extremely heavy heart and great sadness that I have to share with you the news of my father, James Laxer’s sudden death of natural causes in Paris. …He was a loving and wonderful father, with a huge heart, great kindness and a tremendous, notoriously goofy sense of humour. He was greatly loved and will be terribly missed.”

Michael highlights, “My father, Jim, was a exceptionally talented writer and a truly brilliant man. His writing and activism over the decades had a profound impact on the country from the Waffle to the present day.”

The Canadian Encyclopedia further explains, “Waffle, a group established in 1969 as a caucus within the New Democratic Party. Its politics were militantly socialist and nationalist, a Canadian manifestation of widespread and diverse political ferment, which included opposition to the Vietnam War, the support of New Left politics on the campuses of North America and Europe, and a burgeoning women’s movement.”

Laxer was also a former Toronto Star columnist, the author of numerous books including Mission of Folly: Canada and Afghanistan, a leadership candidate for the NDP in 1971, a one-time director of research for the federal NDP, and a political economist and professor at York University (for 47 years).

He had also been a member of The Council of Canadians national Board of Directors (as his father had been and later his brother).

Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow says, “Jim was a clear voice of reason and justice for many decades. He had a strong moral compass that never let him down. Over and over, Jim stood for the best in progressive politics in Canada and guided us all to be our best selves. He was a great beacon of progressive thought and a role model for so many. We will miss him terribly and are deeply saddened at his loss.”

The Council extends its condolences to his family and friends, including his younger brother and our dear friend Gordon.

A public memorial service in Toronto is now being planned.