A week ago, prominent St. John's lawyer, Liberal Party supporter and former Provincial Deputy Justice Minister and Deputy Attorney General Jim Thistle succumbed to a courageous battle with ALS at the age of just 61.
I first met Jim when he became a member of the Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi Liberal Association.
He was one of the most intellectual people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was brilliant, experienced, congenial, personable and dedicated.
He told me he was compelled to oppose Harper's brand of Conservatism and hence his engagement with the Liberal Party. He spoke to me about running but he never quite felt he had the profile and he found the candidate selection process unbecoming.
Through our many conversations over the years I learned that he had played a significant role in drafting the 1985 Atlantic Accord and related negotiations. He was a passionate federalist who believed in fairness, equality and a strong central government.
He believed in the province but abhorred the use of nationalism as a political tool. Emotion and passion could not be allowed to trump logic, reason and evidence based decision making.
I, like a lot of his admirers, had really hoped that he might seek the provincial party Liberal Leadership. Too many times than I can count, tories would approach me and say if he goes we are with him. He was trusted and admired.
Often we lamented about the lack of substance in many modern politicians, the higher calling of politics for the better good as opposed to serving an ego, or picking up a pay cheque and a silver plated pension.
Pretty much unknown to many of us, Jim carried out yeoman service to the province through government, his legal profession and volunteer activities.
He truly was a gentlemen and a scholar who was called away too early.