The SLCBC Executive took the opportunity at its first meeting following the passing of colleague Doug McDonald, to sit in 1 minutes silence to honour his passing, followed by a tribute delivered by Judy Berg, an active member of Doug’s Policy Committee and co-Chair of the Reclaiming and Sustaining Canada’s Healthcare Resolution that successfully voted into the top 15 in Halifax. Several members of the Executive also shared their memories and tributes.
A Tribute to a Dear Friend – by Judy Berg
It was my privilege to work with Doug on two major Policy initiatives over the past 2 years – the Live-In Caregiver and the new SLC Policy process, in particular, the Reclaiming and Sustaining Canada’s Healthcare System resolution. He was tireless in his dedication to creating a grassroots process to ensure that Policy in the Liberal Party arises out of the expressed interests and needs of senior registered Liberals.
Doug’s active engagement with policy in the Liberal Party, he told me, began late one evening after a night out with some buddies having drinks and discussing politics. On the way home to his Northwest Edmonton home, he drove by the office of Liberal MP Anne McLellan and noted the lights were still on. Here was the person he really needed to talk to about these issues! She opened the door to him – and after some conversation suggested he become involved with the newly-formed Senior Liberal Commission. He began the first of what is now referred to as Seniors Clubs, by inviting the public to hear a speaker on a specific topic over lunch – and then changing to a workshop format for all registered senior Liberals in the afternoon. After moving to British Columbia, Doug became a founding member of the SLCBC.
At times when he felt frustrated with being unable to get his vision across, he would remember – and I quote – “right from the beginning I felt I had found a home in the Senior Liberals Commission.” He tagged the phrase “Policy is the Future of Liberalism in Canada” following a meeting with our SLCBC Policy committee and he used it on all his correspondence.
It is a rare opportunity to work with someone with vision – someone who has the ability to see end possibilities while slugging through the trees of what is sometimes must seem a particularly dense forest – and at times, Doug, I am sure, you thought some of us were that very dense forest! His passion and desire for change might at times be expressed in a forceful and feisty manner, but throughout all exchanges, he remained soft on people and hard on the issues.
The success of his relentless work was the acceptance of 3 SLC Resolutions in the top 15 voted on for Party Platform consideration at the 2018 Halifax convention. And a 4th, out of the 6 resolutions submitted by the SLC placed #16. He also championed successful resolutions in the 2014 and 2016 biennial conventions.
The members of his SLCBC Policy Committee and authors of the Healthcare Working Group, are still numbed by the void created with his passing. From his hospital bed over the entire month of his illness he remained in touch with Hilary Williamson, my co-Chair and I, as we crafted Terms of Reference to make certain the successful resolutions from Halifax did not get relegated to the back burner. On our last call, just days before his passing, he told us he would not be saying much as he was having difficulty getting his breath – but that he would be listening carefully. (despite that – I must say he was still able to add a considerable amount to the conversation!)
The greatest gift any of us can give is to leave an impact on the lives of others. Your life touched ours, Doug – and that has made a difference. Rest in peace, our dear friend – we cannot express how much you will be missed. We are committed to continuing what you worked so diligently to create.