Executive Council
March 1, 2017

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Premier Offers Condolences on Passing of Former Lieutenant Governor

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House today to offer condolences to the family and friends of James McGrath – former Member of the House of Assembly, Member of Parliament, federal Cabinet minister and Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. To honour him, flags at Provincial Government buildings will be lowered to half-mast until sunset on the day of his funeral.

Mr. McGrath was an exemplary parliamentarian and his body of work over the span of almost 40 years is truly remarkable.

Born in Buchans in 1932, Mr. McGrath spent time in the Royal Canadian Air Force before embarking on a career in politics and being elected to the House of Assembly in 1956. In 1957 he won the federal seat for St. John’s East and was ultimately appointed to the federal Cabinet in 1979 when he became the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans under Prime Minister Joe Clarke.

Later, in opposition, he served as Chairman of an All-party Special Committee on House of Commons Reform, and was an outspoken proponent for reform legislation concerning children's advertising.

Mr. Speaker, James McGrath became the province’s Lieutenant Governor in 1986 and served that role for five years. He is one of only a few Canadians to receive a lifetime membership in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and is also a recipient of the Churchill Society Award for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy. He received an honorary doctorate from St. Francis Xavier University in 1979.

Mr. Speaker, I hope Mr. McGrath’s family can find some solace in the fact that he was a great Newfoundlander and Labradorian who had a significant impact on his province and his country. I ask all Honourable members to join me in offering my deepest sympathies as they go through this difficult time and join me now in a moment of silence.

2017 03 01                              2:20 p.m.