Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Friday, October 14, 2011
Read Alcock Dead at 63
Back in 1988, I ran for the provincial Liberal party in the Logan constituency. At the same time, another gentleman by the name of Reg Alcock ran under the same banner at the behest of Sharon Carstairs and won. I remember when seeing him that he appeared to be a giant.
He turned to federal politics in 1993. Upon Lloyd Axworthy's departure from Winnipeg-Fort Garry in 1988 for the new riding of Winnipeg South Centre, a rare opportunity existed where some of Axworthy's strong constituency support straddled two ridings.
The Liberals had narrowly lost the riding of Winnipeg South Center in 1988 and the longtime Liberal roots of a large portion of the riding and the continued activism of former Axworthy constituents helped Alcock take the riding from Progressive Conservative Dorothy Dobbie in 1993.
Alcock was a government backbencher for 10 years until Paul Martin appointed him to cabinet.
When I worked in the legislature, Alcock was known for big size and gruff nature. He was without doubt the most technologically savvy politician in Canada for many years. He was also at the forefront of policy development.
Like Lloyd Axworthy, there are few major projects in Manitoba today that he did not have a hand in getting started or seeing reach completion.
His defeat in 2006 in the Winnipeg South riding was probably the first time he seriously misjudged things. The quickly changing riding in terms of growth probably needed far more face time than he gave it. He had been a fixer for so long that he was called upon to shore up support elsewhere in the province.
At the time of his death, Alcock was where a lot of Liberals are after being defeated: teaching at a university. He, like Axworthy, did good work post politics.
Alcock leaves a wife and family behind.
He also leaves a city and province that are a little better than when he found them.
edit: Clarifying Axworthy's departure. October 15, 2011