Tribute to Edward Havrot, former MPP for Timiskaming

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HANSARD

Legislative Assembly of Ontario : Tribute to Edward Havrot

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The government House leader is seeking unanimous consent to pay tribute to the former MPP from Timiskaming for up to five minutes. Do we agree? Agreed.

Our first contributor: the member from Timiskaming–Cochrane.

Mr. John Vanthof: Thank you, Speaker. It’s always an honour to be able to stand in this House and represent the good people of Timiskaming–Cochrane, and especially so today, to pay tribute to a former member for the riding of Timiskaming, Mr. Ed Havrot.

Ed Havrot was born on January 4, 1927, and passed away on April 16, 2017, in his 90th year. He leaves behind his wife of 65 years, Gayle; daughters Joanne Phillips and her husband Lloyd, Catherine, Barbara Havrot and her partner David Erickson, and Sharon Martineau and her husband Gordon; and 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Welcome to those family members who attended today.

Mr. Havrot’s family emigrated from Poland in 1930, when he was three. The family arrived in Kirkland Lake, where his father went to work in the mines. Ed started his career in the forestry sector. He then purchased Northern Canada Bakery. Many people have fond memories of Ed in his bakery days, especially the deliveries, and staying open for extra orders. He then owned and operated the Teck Hotel—another people-oriented business.

Throughout his adult life, Ed was heavily involved with volunteer organizations in Kirkland Lake. He was an honorary life member of the Doric Lodge. He was also deeply committed to his local United Church. Ed especially enjoyed spending time at the family cottage on Sesekinika Lake.

Mr. Havrot’s interest in the welfare of his neighbours and customers was likely one of the reasons that he entered the political arena. He was a councillor, and later reeve, of the township of Kirkland Lake. He ran for the provincial seat of Timiskaming in 1971 under the Progressive Conservative banner. He was successful and sat in the 29th Parliament. He was defeated in 1975, but was re-elected in the 31st and 32nd Parliaments. He ended his provincial political career as Minister of Transportation and Communications.

Ed Havrot was a product of his time and his surroundings. Immigrants came from all over the world to work in the mines and mills of the north. They were more focused on improving the living conditions of their families than on being politically correct. Ed Havrot reflected this fact. MPP Havrot was a maverick who shot from the hip. This characteristic, coupled with an incredible sense of humour, can cause problems in the political arena. As I was going over some of the news articles, it occurred to me that he must have been a communications nightmare for the governing Tories. I am sure his remarks were always awaited with bated breath, with political damage control measures ready to be implemented, and sometimes those measures were taken.

Locally, his off-the-cuff style endeared him to his supporters. He was not a fence-sitter. His constituents did not have to guess what he was thinking about on any given issue, and there was always that wicked sense of humour. The same qualities that caused so much concern in Queen’s Park were his biggest attributes at home.

In his era, local elections were hard-fought affairs, mostly between the PCs and the NDP. Provincial interest in Timiskaming politics was at an all-time high. As far as I know, the only time that the Queen’s Park press gallery attended a nomination meeting in Timiskaming was for the PCs in 1975. The successful candidate? Ed Havrot. Although he ultimately lost that election, he came back to win the next two.

Ed Havrot had an enormous impact on politics in Timiskaming. He remained active and interested for many years, and though I often disagreed with him, I respected the fact that you always knew where he was coming from.

In closing, I would like to thank the Havrot family for sharing Ed with the province. Political life is difficult, and no member can serve without the full support of their loved ones. If the measure of a life in public service is to bring the issues faced by your constituents to the attention of the province and to force debate on those issues, however uncomfortable that may be, Ed Havrot’s tenure as a member of provincial Parliament was not spent in vain. Thank you.

Ed Havrot had an enormous impact on politics in Timiskaming. His constituents did not have to guess what he was thinking about on any given issue, and there was always that wicked sense of humour. MPP Havrot was a maverick who shot from the hip. If the measure of a life in public service is to bring the issues faced by your constituents to the attention of the province and to force debate on those issues (however uncomfortable that may be), Ed Havrot’s tenure as a member of provincial Parliament was not spent in vain.