March 30, 2017
The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Minister of Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Premier Ball Remembers Bill Rompkey
Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House today to remember Bill Rompkey, who passed away on March 21. Since his death, flags have been at half-staff here at Confederation Building.
While Bill was born in Belleoram, Fortune Bay, he became closely tied to Labrador after he and his wife moved there to teach in 1963 and where he ultimately became principal of Yale School in North West River. Bill was also the first Superintendent of Education with the Labrador East Integrated School Board. His love of Labrador is on clear display in “The Story of Labrador,” one of several books he authored.
Despite his 40 years in politics, Bill’s teaching career meant a lot to him and he considered himself first and foremost an educator. In 1980, he was named Memorial University’s alumnus of the year and later received an honorary doctorate.
Bill entered politics in 1972 when he was first elected to the House of Commons as the Liberal MP for Labrador – a position he held for 23 years after winning six elections. He served in cabinets under Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Turner and was appointed to the senate in 1995 by then Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Bill was regarded as a true bipartisan parliamentarian and was universally admired by his colleagues, regardless of political stripe.
As a parliamentarian, Bill was heavily involved in issues of national defence and security, chairing the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and in 1993 co-chairing the Special Joint Committee on Canada’s Defence Policy. Prior to that, he was a very active member of the Naval Officers Association of Canada and the Crow’s Nest, and was honoured by the Navy League of Canada for his efforts.
On behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, I offer my deepest condolences to Bill’s wife Carolyn, his children Hillary and Peter, his grandchildren Max and Ana and to all his large circle of family and friends. I ask my colleagues to join me in a moment of silence in his honour.
2017 03 30 2:15 p.m.