The day my husband and I stumbled across a campaign office for The National Party of Canada in 1993 was the first time I heard of Mel Hurtig. Like a majority of Canadians— then and now— we were dissatisfied with the political situation in Canada. At a time in our lives when we might have begun closing our ears to the political system that had never served our interests, since we were new parents we had a strong incentive to keep searching for solutions to what wasn’t working.
The National Party seemed sincere in its insistence that “Now is the time for real change.”
I learned a lot from reading the campaign literature, and later some of Mel Hurtig’s published work. One thing that was always abundantly clear was that Mr. Hurtig was a passionate Canadian who worked long and hard in hope of making this great country better. So I was sorry to learn of the passing Mel Hurtig.
Perhaps the saddest thing was the shocking superficiality of the Globe and Mail obituary. That the self proclaimed “Canada’s National Newspaper” would employ a negative characterization of Mr. Hurtig as a “political agitator” in the title suggests the deficiencies of this obituary may arise from the corporate serving newspaper’s disapproved of Mel Hurtig’s politics.
To my mind the worst of the obituary is that it was misleading:
He ran for a federal seat for the National Party of Canada in the 1993 election, but did not win.
— Globe and mail: Publisher, author and political agitator Mel Hurtig dies at 84
There is no denying that running for office in any political party requires a great deal of commitment. With this casual dig, the Globe brushes aside this reality, but even more it ignores the fact that Mel Hurtig wasn’t just a candidate for the National Party, he founded it. In spite of the fact the single election party failed to win any seats in Parliament, Mr. Hurtig’s achievement in attracting and running a nationwide slate of candidates is a measure of his dedication. This is a man who was both willing and able to engage and inspire Canadians.
A more fitting tribute is this:
Mel Hurtig loved this country more than anyone I ever met. He founded the Council of Canadians along with many dedicated Canadians to fight for a better world.
We mourn his passing.”
— Maude Barlow, Remembering Mel Hurtig