1998/99 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 36th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.

Official Report of





Volume 16, Number 18

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The House met at 2:05 p.m.

Speaker's Statement

The Speaker: It is my unfortunate duty to advise the House formally that Fred Gingell, the hon. member for Delta South, passed away this morning. He was a fine man, respected by all in this chamber, who respected this institution that he served so well, and he was a man of great good humour. He will be missed enormously.

I recognize the Leader of the Official Opposition.

G. Campbell: It's obviously with great regret and with deep sorrow that I rise today to recognize the contributions of the member for Delta South, Fred Gingell. He was an MLA, but he was also a friend. He was a friend to all of us. He was a voice of reason in a place where sometimes we lose sight of reason, with all the partisan discussions that we have. He was someone who appreciated the fact that he had the privilege of serving, and he never forgot where he came from.

Fred was a man who could tell us all stories. And one of the great things about Fred was his stories were always about Fred. They weren't about somebody else. He was someone who would tell stories over and over again. And he was someone who understood that his background -- coming from a family who had started on a sheep farm, left England and moved to Canada, with all the opportunities that it represented for him, all the hopes that it represented for him. . . . He never forgot how fortunate he was. He never forgot where he came from.

Today I can tell you, when Betty phoned me. . . . I talked to Betty this morning, actually, just before Fred passed away. Betty said: "You know, one of the things that Fred was worried about was what's going to happen with his constituency office." That's someone that understands what service is about: serving people, individual people.

Fred's background was vast. Sometimes I think we forget all of the things that many of us in this House have done -- but Fred particularly. He was the first president of Kwantlen College. He was a school board chair for a long time in Delta. He was the head of the 1987 B.C. Summer Games held in Delta. He was always serving. His life in British Columbia was a life of public service. He epitomized what this Legislature is supposed to represent: duty, honour, principle, compassion. He remembered that public life is public service -- service to others.

For all of us in this House -- particularly, I think, for those of us on this side of the House -- Fred was always that touchstone: the touchstone that we measured ourselves against, the touchstone that reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, the touchstone that reminded us that we had something to contribute. And he was a person who led by example. As an MLA, as a leader, as a deputy leader, as Chair of Public Accounts, Fred reminded us all of what we can accomplish when we work together.

I was fortunate that I got to room with Fred while he was here. There were some evenings when I wasn't sure how fortunate that was. But Fred was always reminiscing about what had taken place, always finding ways of moving forward and always offering support.

He was a mentor. Most importantly, he was a friend. While in public life he found his way into the history books of British Columbia, I think that more important than that to Fred was that he found his way into the hearts of all of us.


Today I think we have to remember that Fred himself would not have reflected on his public accomplishments as the true accomplishments of his life. He would have reflected on his family -- on Betty, Christopher, John, Jennifer and his seven grandchildren. On behalf of all of us, I'd like to say to his family: thank you for giving so much of Fred's time to all of us and to the province. We will not forget him. He will be missed. We will try to live up to his legacy.

Hon. G. Clark: It's an honour for me to stand here representing the government members of the House to pay tribute to a rare individual, Fred Gingell. Fred was one of the few individuals I can name who commanded such enormous respect on both sides of the chamber.

I was privileged that when he first got elected, he was my Finance critic for the opposition party; I was Minister of Finance. Fred would do his job diligently and intelligently. The nice thing about Fred Gingell was that he always came back to my office for a small drink at the end of the debate. He could be -- and was -- fiercely partisan and passionate in his views on what he thought should be done in British Columbia, but he never let that get in the way of good relations across the aisle.

He often had this ability to put public interest before partisan politics. His view of the public interest was so overwhelming that he sometimes would pursue it vigilantly without regard for making the political points that we often make in the chamber. He was a very thoroughly decent man who was a friend to all of us, someone who I'm privileged to have known -- I think all of us feel that way -- a man of integrity and character, someone who dealt with issues with humour and with a personal presence that we are all grateful for having shared.

I think British Columbia loses a great parliamentarian, someone who was committed to his party, to his constituency, to his province and of course, as the Leader of the Opposition has said so eloquently, to his family. He talked a lot; he had parts of his life that he was very proud of and which he diligently pursued, whether it was tea time, having a drink late in the evening or talking about his family.

His family came first for him, then his constituents and his province. He has served British Columbia in so many capacities that he clearly is a model and someone we can all do well to emulate. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. We honour him here by this presence. I say on behalf of all members of the government side of the House: we will miss him greatly.

J. Weisgerber: I too want to pay tribute to Fred. Fred Gingell was a truly decent, honourable legislator, someone we can all look up to and a model for anyone who wants to enter into this life. I think the previous speakers, both the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier, have spoken very well of and very well portrayed Fred as the kind of decent, caring, committed individual that he was.

I first met Fred just after the 1991 election. I met him over at the Royal Scot; he was sitting at a table having lunch with

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the Premier, who was then Minister of Finance. I was kind of taken aback; I didn't know what this was all about. I didn't understand the process of sitting down with the person for whom you were the critic and appearing to be having a very amiable lunch. I sat with him for a few minutes and first started to respect the fact that he was going to be someone who brought a different attitude, someone who was very clearly his own man, someone who approached things not necessarily as they always had been but in the way he felt was right.


It seems to me that he took that most notably into Public Accounts, and I believe the public accounts process in our province will be different in the future as a result of the actions of Fred Gingell. That's only one small indication of the tremendous contribution that a tremendous individual has made to our province. I too am pleased to have the opportunity -- but sad at the occasion -- to pay respects to a very great British Columbian, Fred Gingell.

G. Campbell: I move that the House do now adjourn.

The Speaker: Members have heard the motion. I would like to do that. I wonder if we would all like to rise and have a moment of silence before I put that motion.

Motion approved.

The House adjourned at 2:17 p.m.

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