Senator Doug Finley has died.
“Doug fought a hard and very public battle with cancer,” his wife, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. “His death is a loss to our family, our friends – and to the entire country.”
The Conservative senator had served as campaign director for the party and Stephen Harper’s leadership campaign. He was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Harper in August 2009.
During a 2011 interview with John Geddes, the party boss described the key role he played in the party:
“I’m not the world’s greatest strategist, or the world’s greatest pollster, or the world’s greatest advertising man, but somebody has to pull these bits together.”
The 66-year-old Senator had fought a public battle colorectal cancer.
In an interview with iPolitics published in November 2012, he talked about what it was like to be facing death.
“It’s not going to be pretty and I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t make any bones about that. Like a lot of people I’m not scared of dying, I’m more concerned about the process of dying. And if I want to dig that hole for myself by thinking about that, then the process of dying will be even worse and longer. So look, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’ll deal with it when it happens.
There’s really not much else to say. I’ve got a great family, my wife has been brilliant.”
In his 2011 feature, Geddes noted that Finley only sounded like a lifelong conservative:
“He grew up in Scotland, where as a young man he backed the Scottish Nationalists. Arriving in Montreal in 1968 as a manager in the aerospace industry, he was soon volunteering on Liberal campaigns. In the early 1980s, Finley moved to Winnipeg, and shifted to the right in politics, first to the Progressive Conservatives, then to Reform. By the 1990s, he was a Canadian Alliance organizer in southwestern Ontario, his wife’s home territory. When Harper merged the Alliance with the PCs in 2003, Finley became the united right’s linchpin organizer.”
Late last year, politicians of all stripes honoured Finley at the Canadian War Museum.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister said he’d lost a dear and valued friend.
“Senator Finley came to Canada as an immigrant and in a long and remarkable career he helped build a better country. In the business world, he rose to prominence in several important enterprises, notably Rolls-Royce Canada. He also expressed the love he felt for his adopted country through his work in the democratic process. Here his skills, style and passion were legend.”
Here is how Finley was being remembered on Twitter: