Former Canadian politician, diplomat and University of Toronto chancellor Michael Wilson has died.
The longtime former Conservative MP for the Toronto-area riding of Etobicoke Centre passed away Sunday at 81.
Wilson served as finance minister under Brian Mulroney from 1984 to 1991, and then as Canada’s ambassador to the United States from March 2006 until October 2009.
The University of Toronto confirmed his death in a post on its website Sunday night. “The University of Toronto community deeply mourns the loss of our Chancellor Emeritus, the Honourable Michael Wilson,” said U of T President Meric Gertler. “A proud and accomplished Commerce alumnus and a Trinity grad, he was our tireless advocate and our global ambassador.”
The University will fly its flag at half-mast until the funeral for Wilson.
“It is one of the great privileges of my life to have worked closely with Michael Wilson in the advancement of the University and the causes he cared about so deeply,” President Gertler said. “In his comprehensive excellence, his unassuming generosity and his quiet compassion, he will remain a model for us all. He bore the title, “the Honourable,” by virtue of the public offices he held. But the description came spontaneously to all who had the good fortune to know him.”
Wilson was a dedicated advocate for mental health, becoming chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2015. His advocacy was prompted by tragedy when his son, Cameron, took his own life after suffering from depression.
Canadian politicians including current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have posted their condolences on Twitter.
Michael Wilson’s dedicated service to Canadians – including his important work as Minister, Ambassador, and passionate advocate for mental health – will leave a lasting impact on our country. We’ve lost a truly great Canadian. My condolences to his family and friends.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 11, 2019
My thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Michael Wilson. Michael was a distinguished MP, Minister and diplomat, who negotiated the first NAFTA. More recently, he did outstanding work as a tireless mental health advocate and Chancellor of @UofT.
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) February 11, 2019