|ELGIN'S JOHN WISE DESCRIBED AS POLITICIAN WHO WOULD LISTEN-PASSES||01/14/13|
|From St. Thomas Times-Journal
“I sat on county council with him for about four years,” veteran Vienna reeve and former Elgin warden K.C. Emerson said.
“He had a lot of common sense. And he knew enough to listen, and he knew enough when the time came, to speak up.”
They were qualities which impressed Emerson, local federal Progressive Conservative party president, and he urged the young Yarmouth farmer to enter federal politics.
Already a successful local politician, the fifth-generation dairyman ran in the 1972 general election in Elgin and defeated incumbent Liberal MP Harold Stafford.
Wise was re-elected four times before he retired in 1988 after serving in Opposition as well as in government. He was minister of agriculture under Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney.
Wise died unexpectedly last Wednesday, January 9, 2013 in London hospital. He was 77.
He was recalled Thursday for his commitment to his job and his constituents – be they national, or local.
“As minister of agriculture, John protected and advanced the interests of farmers from across the country,” Conservative EML MP Joe Preston said in a statement in which he called Wise a mentor and a friend.
“Through supply management, he changed the face of agriculture in our country, leaving his mark on Canadian history. John's knowledge, hard work and good nature ensured his political success.”
But he didn't forget the voters who elected him in Elgin, and who rewarded him what was to be his final election in 1984 with the largest majority on record.
“He was a man who considered public service a duty and took his role as the people's representative very seriously,” PC EML MPP Jeff Yurek said.
“His contributions as a legislator, cabinet minister, and community advocate have made this community – and, indeed, this country – a better place.”
“He was always available to talk to his constituents,” Ken Monteith, who succeeded Wise as Tory MP in Elgin, said.
". . . He was a leader in our community.”
He maintained that interest even after leaving public life.
“John always showed a keen interest in county council,” Elgin Warden Cameron McWilliam said.
“He was interested in what was going on locally. He was a big supporter of community initiatives.”
And, like Preston and others, former NDP and Independent Elgin MPP Peter North also recalled Wise as a good-natured representative.
“The easiest way to be John Wise's friend was to just shake his hand.”