Ken Wardroper passes away

Ken Wardroper passed away on February 26 at the age of 87. His obituary in the Ottawa Citizen notes that, “He served with the Canadian Scottish Regiment during the Normandy invasion and the liberation of Holland. He attained the rank of Captain with the regiment and was invalided out of the service when seriously wounded for the second time in April 1945. A lengthy recovery followed, after which he joined the Department of External Affairs as a foreign service officer. He served his country in this capacity for a further 37 years, his last overseas posting being Norway, where he held the position of Ambassador. He followed his public service by joining the Council of Canadians, determined to preserve the country and people he loved, and led the Council as interim leader after the resignation of its founder, Mel Hurtig.”

In ‘The Fight of My Life’, Maude Barlow writes, “My partner in this fight (on energy policy) was Ken Wardroper, a fellow board member, a former ambassador, and a retired civil servant with a long and distinguished career in External Affairs. Ken was also a founding member of the council and served as interim chair for the last half of 1988, leaving his retirement home in Victoria, where he and his wife, Nancy, had just settled. At great personal expense and against Nancy’s wishes, he relocated to Ottawa to keep the organization alive. Soon after returning to Victoria, Nancy, who had accompanied him to Ottawa in spite of her objections, died. I felt terrible for the price this man paid for his dedication to our movement.”

Maude continues, “Ken shone at the fall 1989 Energy Board hearings into the Mackenzie gas reserves. The room was full of high-priced lawyers for the government and the gas companies, all of course on the same side. We had no money for lawyers, so Ken and I had to put the council’s case ourselves. At one point, the chairman of the Energy Board, Roland Priddle, took Ken to task for his adamant opposition to these exports. ‘But, Mr. Wardroper, what about the owners of the resource?’ he asked, clearly referring, without saying it, to the corporations represented in the room. ‘Owners? Oh, you must mean the people of Canada,’ Ken replied. ‘Yes, they’re why we’re here.” The media, many of whom were on our side in this David and Goliath fight, lapped it up.”

In his honour, the Council of Canadians established The Ken Wardroper Founder’s Award in 1994 to recognizes the ‘unsung heroes’ of the movement, specifically local Council members who have made a notable and long-term contribution to our work. Mr. Wardroper was the first recipient of the award. Mr. Wardroper also remained a member of the Council of Canadians’ Advisory Board.

Our condolences go to his sons Lawrence and Andrew, and his brother John.

A memorial service will be held in Victoria on Wednesday, March 4 at 10:30 a.m. in McCall Bros. Family Chapel, corner of Johnson and Vancouver Streets, (250) 385-4465. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.