Stewart McInnes: 'Skilled lawyer, compassionate politician, generous friend'

Former federal politician, an accomplished lawyer, dies at 78

HALIFAX — Stewart McInnes, a highly regarded lawyer, arbitrator and federal politician who served in the cabinet of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, has died.

He was 78.

His former law firm of nearly four decades, McInnes Cooper, confirmed his death in a tweet Sunday saying it was deeply saddened by the loss.

Born July 24, 1937 in Halifax, McInnes was educated at Dalhousie University and served as a senior partner with McInnes Cooper, practising general litigation and appearing before a number of administrative tribunals.

In 1984, McInnes was elected to the House of Commons as the Progressive Conservative member for Halifax, ousting Liberal cabinet minister and former Nova Scotia premier Gerald Regan.

McInnes held several portfolios including minister of public works before being defeated in the 1988 general election by Liberal Mary Clancy and returning to his full-time law practice.

In 2007, he was named a chief negotiator for the federal government on aboriginal claims.

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said McInnes was among the first to encourage him to enter politics when they first met 25 years ago.

“Stewart was a skilled lawyer, compassionate politician and generous friend,” Baillie said in a statement. “He will be sorely missed.”

Here is Baillie’s complete statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that I offer my condolences to the family and many friends of the Hon. Stewart McInnes. Stewart was a skilled lawyer, compassionate politician and generous friend. I have known Stewart for 25 years. He was one of the first Tories I met when I joined the PC Youth and among the first to encourage me to get involved in politics.
“Stewart served his country as Minister of Supply and Service and Minister of Public Works in the Mulroney government. After his career in public life was complete, he continued to serve the Progressive Conservative Party in many ways.
“Stewart will live on in the good work of the many charitable organizations he supported and raised funds for.  This is a sad day for Sandra and I. We knew Stewart as a true friend. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to Stewart’s wife Shirley, his daughters Janet, Sarah and Connie and sons Donald and Ted, at this difficult time.”


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