By Watson Scott Swail, CEO, Educational Policy Institute/EPI International
I learned last night that former Manitoba Premier Sterling Lyon passed away at the age of 83. He had a good run, for sure. But it took me back a long, long time. As I sit in Washington, DC, I remember his goodness. I try and forget some of his political aggressiveness. But I appreciate that he was simply an outstanding citizen of our Country.
This brings tears to my eyes because Premier Lyon lived two streets over from me, in Fort Garry, a Winnipeg community. I went to elementary, junior high, and high school with his daughter, Andrea, whom I believe lives in the US, as I do.
I clearly remember when Sterling ran for MP in 1974 against Jim Richardson (who won). We had “Lyon” signs in our yard, and our yard was at a critical intersection of Fort Garry (yes, Oakenwald and Point Road!!!!). Sterling didn’t win, but I remember attending the after party wearing a t-shirt with “Lyon” a blazed. But mostly I remember my Dad introducing me to him. Lyon thanked me for being there. I was 12.
A few years later, he became Premier of Manitoba. He had served as Attorney General for years, but got the big job this time. Lyon was visionary, but his vision cost him a second term. He wanted to change things, but probably too much change for its time.
He tried to do good in a political system that makes it hard for anyone to do well.
The last time I saw Premier Lyon was at Safeway on Pembina Highway about 10 or so years ago. We were both checking out. He looked good. Worn, for sure. Time does that. But he was spry, as was his lovely wife. He said hi and made some small talk. We talked about Andrea and the other children.
I have no means or need to make a political statement here. Because I, like others, have vacillated between the political extremes (some may laugh). But Sterling Lyon was honest and gave a damn about what happened in his constituency, his province, and our country.
Whether we agree with their politics, we need more Sterling Lyons in our Canada.
May he and his family be blessed.
Sterling was a graduate of the University of Winnipeg. If you feel, perhaps a donation would help, in his honour.
Please enjoy your weekend. WSS>