Former Liberal cabinet minister and rear admiral Fred Mifflin died on Saturday. He was 75.
Newfoundland MP Scott Simms, who knew Mifflin, said he died in Ottawa with his wife at his side.
Mifflin was first elected in 1988 representing the Newfoundland riding of Bonavista-Trinity-Conception after a distinguished 32-year career in the military, rising to the rank of rear admiral.
He was appointed minister of fisheries by then prime minister Jean Chretien in 1996. A year later, he was made minister of veterans affairs.
He was dropped from cabinet in 1999 after announcing he would not seek re-election.
Simms described him as a man of sound judgment who was not overly partisan.
Current Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau remarked on his passing on Twitter.
“Sad to hear about the passing of former MP and Minister Fred Mifflin,” he wrote. “My thoughts are with his loved ones.”
A funeral has been planned for Friday in Ottawa.
By Josh Pennell
Royal Canadian Navy admiral and Liberal MP Fred Mifflin died during the weekend.
Mifflin was elected three times in the district of Bonavista-Trinity-Conception and acted as minister of fisheries and oceans and minister of veterans affairs throughout his political career.
John Efford, whose hometown of Port de Grave is in the district Mifflin held, served as the provincial minister of fisheries when Mifflin held that portfolio on the federal scene. Efford says they campaigned together and he got to know Mifflin personally during those times.
“As a politician he was a very serious person. When he was minister of fisheries he kept to himself a lot,” says Efford.
Even with Efford, Mifflin was sometimes not terribly forthcoming. Efford remembers an instance when Mifflin was coming to the province as the federal fisheries minister to make an announcement and hadn’t notified Efford he was coming to the province — something Efford laughs about since he was the provincial fisheries minister at the time.
“I guess that came from the Navy. He was that type of an individual. Things were kept very close to him and I respected him for that,” Efford says.
Efford also personally lobbied Mifflin to find federal money for major upgrades to the harbour in Port de Grave. As result of Mifflin’s coming through, Efford says the harbour is safe. Two fishermen said to him when the upgrades were complete it was the first time they could sleep in the fall and winter months and not have to worry about their boats.
It’s something for which Efford says he’s very grateful to Mifflin, adding that from the man’s time serving in the Navy to his serving as a politician, he gave a lifetime of work to the people of the province and Canada.
“So we have a lot to respect him for,” Efford says.
Mifflin was 75.