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Article

Tom Barber (1949-2016)

Published on 21/06/2016

We are very sad to report the passing of Tom Barber, a longtime friend of Maytree and a member of the board of The Caledon Institute of Social Policy since its founding. Tom was a lawyer in Ottawa specializing in civil litigation, sports law and arbitration. He was an active and engaged citizen chairing and serving on the boards of a number of community agencies, including the United Way of Ottawa-Carleton. He was a recognized leader in the legal community, receiving a number of awards from his colleagues.

When Maytree and Ken Battle established Caledon, the first person we called was Tom. He was helpful at the outset with good advice on creating Caledon and acquiring charitable status. More importantly over the years he was a steady presence offering wise counsel, practical perspective and encouragement. These contributions were always put forward supportively, constructively, humbly, and with Tom’s trademark good humour.

His insight into Caledon’s work was acute. At Caledon’s twentieth anniversary symposium he said, “Policy work, even when aimed at real solutions in real time, can often seem like toiling in the vineyard to produce a vintage which will only mature in a decade or two. Even when you believe how good that wine will be, the wait can grind you down.” He went on to say, “Caledon has kept its promise to Canadians to help create strong policy for the present and the future, no matter which party forms the government, and no matter who gets the credit.”

Those insights illustrate the value Tom brought to Caledon, and his steady presence helped us to keep our promises and our focus. We will miss his counsel and insight. More importantly we will miss his friendship, and we mourn the loss of a very good man.

Summary

Remembering a longtime friend of Maytree and founding member of the board of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy.

Topic(s)

Civic engagement