Leonard Barry Pashak, who was one of many first NDP MLAs to be elected in southern Alberta, died on Wednesday at age 83.
NDP Chief Rachel Notley mentioned in a put up on social media that Pashak was a proud consultant for his constituents in east Calgary throughout his two phrases.
“My deepest condolences to the Pashak household and to mates of Barry,” she wrote on Saturday.
Pashak was born in Calgary in 1937, and grew up within the neighbourhood of Mission. He accomplished his masters in sociology on the College of Calgary in 1971.
“He was a very, you already know, proud Calgarian. He cherished the town,” mentioned his son, Zak Pashak.
He did not like the concept that anybody can be oppressed.– Zak Pashak, on his father Barry Pashak
He taught math, sociology and political science at Mount Royal Faculty — now known as Mount Royal College — for greater than 25 years, earlier than his participation within the academics’ union nurtured an curiosity in politics.
Zak described his dad as analytical, well-liked and keen about social justice causes — from loudly voicing dissidence towards the Vietnam battle and later conflicts, to his help of labour rights and public housing efforts.
He mentioned he remembers throughout the Gulf Warfare, his father known as the U.S. embassy to share his ideas on the nation’s navy actions.
“He did not like the concept that anybody can be oppressed,” Zak mentioned. “I believe a part of what drove him in a common approach was caring about individuals and being a bit anti-authoritarian.”
After a collection of unsuccessful runs in each provincial and federal politics, he received his first time period in 1986, defeating Progressive Conservative candidate Moe Amery.
He, alongside Bob Hawkesworth, turned one of many first two NDP MLAs to be elected in Calgary. That election represented a breakthrough for the celebration — it was simply its second time period as official opposition, rising from two to 16 seats.
Hawkesworth mentioned there was a powerful bond of belief between the 2 colleagues of their opposition function, working to maintain the ruling celebration accountable.
“There have been two New Democrats to characterize the town and southern Alberta. We had our particular person critic duties, after which there have been 16 of us making an attempt to, within the Home, take the heartbeat of the province as a complete … I believe Barry and I each felt stretched with a view to do this work,” Hawkesworth informed CBC.
Throughout Pashak’s time in workplace, he served as critic for the vitality and training portfolios, and Hawkesworth mentioned Pashak did particularly sturdy work as chair fo the general public accounts committee.
“He did a terrific job highlighting the necessity for higher documentation, higher disclosure … the work we did in these years laid the groundwork for significantly better fiscal reporting than we had once we had been within the legislature.”
Pashak received a second time period towards Amery in 1989. However, after his district Calgary-Forest Garden was abolished in 1993, he ran for re-election within the redistributed district of Calgary-East — the place he was defeated by Amery.
That wasn’t the tip of his time in politics. From 2000 to 2001, Pashak served because the chief of the Fairness Occasion, a now-defunct experimental political celebration which aimed to develop all of its insurance policies via a web based discussion board.
Zak mentioned regardless of political variations, his father shared a powerful friendship with former Calgary mayor and Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein.
“They had been very completely different sides of the political spectrum, however they positive appreciated sharing a beer collectively,” he mentioned. “He wasn’t in there to simply vilify and battle, he was there to try to make constructive progress for his constituents, he actually did imagine in that mandate.”
Certainly one of Pashak’s lasting achievements was his advocacy for what’s now Worldwide Avenue — the part of seventeenth Avenue S.E. in Calgary identified for its various eating places and outlets.
Zak mentioned as a baby, he realized a lot about completely different ethnic and cultural communities by attending political capabilities along with his dad.
“He actually realized the significance of immigration to Calgary,” Zak mentioned, including that he believes his father was one of many first individuals within the metropolis to print marketing campaign literature in a wide range of languages, so everybody within the using might hear his message. “This was somebody who actually desires engagement locally.”
Premier Jason Kenney additionally shared his condolences. “I bear in mind him from the early Nineties as a great man who cherished serving his group,” Kenney mentioned on social media.
Roughly 10 years in the past, Zak mentioned his father largely misplaced his capability to talk as a result of a stroke. However he continued to play bridge as a technique to socialize throughout his last years.
Pashak is survived by his kids Barrett, Cathy, Matt, Natasha, and Zakary, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, in addition to his partner Wilda.