Former member of parliament and life-long New Democrat John Rafferty passed away over the Canada Day long weekend.
His wife, Pam Cain, confirmed his death on Facebook on Sunday evening. Rafferty, 65, died of cancer. He would have been 66 tomorrow.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement yesterday: "John Rafferty was dedicated to community and service, driven by empathy, and was generous with his tireless energy. He made the world around him a better, more hopeful place.
"On behalf of Ontario's New Democrats, I extend condolences to Pamela, and to all John's loved ones.
"All those who knew him, including those lucky enough to have been friends and colleagues with John in our NDP family, will remember fondly and miss deeply his caring nature, his abiding love of Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario, and especially his contagious sense of humour.
“John wanted to make life better for others—his family, his community and especially the most vulnerable among us. I hope all his loved ones find comfort now in knowing that he did that.”
Current federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said on Twitter yesterday he was saddened to hear the news.
“John was a fighter, determined to represent the people of Thunder Bay—Rainy River with integrity & purpose,” Singh tweeted.
“We're all better because of his service. My heart goes out to his family & loved ones during this difficult time.”
Rafferty won a seat in Parliament in 2008, representing Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
He would serve two terms as an MP before losing his seat to Liberal Don Rusnak in the 2015 federal election.