UPDATED: Seriously sad news: RIP Jerry Yanover, parliamentary legend

The Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber has the details:

Jerry Yanover, parliamentary strategist to a legion of Liberal leaders, has died suddenly. He was 62.

He was found by neighbours in his downtown Ottawa apartment yesterday, not far from his other home, Parliament Hill.

Mr. Yanover, who served every Liberal whip and House leader since Donald Macdonald in 1969, had been strategizing with Paul Zed, Michael Ignatieff’s chief of staff, just hours before he was found. His beloved dog, Opie, a one-year-old Norwich terrier, was with him.

“He in many ways was the institution of Parliament,” Mr. Zed said today. “Because whether it was the strategy of the opposition or the challenges of government, he knew every move and every rule.”

His death will be a big loss to the Liberal leadership in the House of Commons. In addition to losing Mr. Yanover’s expertise, his colleague, Richard Wackid, another procedural mastermind, has been sidelined by a serious illness.

Last week, Mr. Yanover had gone into the hospital to have a procedure done on his heart. He spent several days in hospital before being released. He was to return in September for surgery. Liberal House leader and good friend Ralph Goodale had visited him in hospital. […]

More from Susan Delacourt here.

UPDATED: The full text of the Liberal news release after the jump:

For immediate release
July 27, 2009

Statement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on the passing of Jerry Yanover

I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Jerry Yanover. While most Canadians likely don`t know Mr. Yanover’s name, he served his country with dedication over the course of 40 years working for four Prime Ministers and six Liberal Leaders.

Jerry Yanover began his career on Parliament Hill in 1969 as an advisor to then Government House Leader, Donald MacDonald, in the government of Pierre Trudeau. Considered to be one of Canada`s foremost experts on parliamentary procedure, Mr. Yanover went on to serve Prime Minister Turner, Prime Minister Chretien and Prime Minister Martin.

Although Jerry had planned to retire in 2004, his dedication was such that he remained to provide his exemplary skill to the new minority government. Mr. Yanover is credited with guiding efforts that carried the minority Liberal government through 2005. He has continued to serve the Liberal House Leader to this day, most recently as Special Advisor to Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale.

Maclean’s magazine once famously said “Yanover is to Liberalism what Yoda is to the Jedi Council.”

On behalf of the Liberal caucus my heartfelt sympathy goes out to Jerry`s family and all who will mourn his loss.



Press Office
Office of the Leader of the Opposition

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