Bob Rae remembers Allan Blakeney, who died on April 16.
Canada has lost one of its great politicians and an outstanding public servant.
Allan was a great friend and mentor to so many, and I was privileged to know him well and have the benefit of his friendship, advice and counsel for nearly 40 years.
His razor-sharp mind, his social passion, his wry sense of humour and his great sense of the public good combined with a deep modesty and willingness to share his ideas with all who approached him.
I was lucky enough to be able to pay Allan a visit in hospital in Saskatoon just two weeks ago.
He was ailing badly but eager to share ideas and perspectives. We knew it would be our last conversation, and yet it was an uplifting and engaged moment: He started by saying of my recent book that "you missed a few things," and from hand-written notes made some points, reminding me of my first encounter when he was premier of Saskatchewan.
He was smiling throughout the discussion, and shared his passion for the future of the "broad democratic movement" that he saw emerging around the world. He reminded me of common friends we both loved and admired, and said some things to me personally that I shall always treasure.
Allan was a very great man, but was perhaps unaware of his impact on those around him. He said wistfully that emotion did not come easily to him, but he had a gift for friendship and wisdom that will remain with me always.
Our love to Anne and his family. He is now a man for the ages.