By Beeber, Al on February 20, 2020.
Blaine Allen Thacker, Q. C., former Member of Parliament for Lethbridge-Foothills and later the renamed riding of Lethbridge, died Monday in the city at the age of 79.
A Progressive Conservative, Taber native Thacker was first elected to Parliament in 1979, serving in the Lethbridge-Foothills riding until 1988. After it was renamed, he served as MP for Lethbridge until 1993 when he retired from politics.
Darell Pack, who served as Thacker’s parliamentary assistant after he graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1984, remembered the MP with fondness when he heard Wednesday of his passing.
“He was a great Canadian. And not just because he gave me my first job out of university, a great start to my professional career,” said Pack, a Raymond native.
“Blaine Thacker hired me as his parliamentary assistant right after I graduated from the University of Lethbridge. In the three following years I worked with Mr. Thacker, he taught me what it means to serve this great country,” said Ottawa-based Pack, who is director of Provincial Regulatory Affairs and Stakeholder Relations at Croplife Canada.
“He loved serving the people of Lethbridge-Foothills and did his best to make a difference every day. I owe him a great deal. In many ways he is responsible for the fulfilling career I have had and continue to have. I have had the privilege of serving Canadians in a small way from coast to coast. I will be forever grateful for his example, his kindness and dedication to Canada.”
Thacker, said Pack, will have a lasting legacy on the riding he served for a couple of reasons.
A major legacy, he said, “was the Blood Band irrigation project, as well as the Animal Disease Research Institute, I think that’s what it was called – now the National Centre for Animal Diseases Lethbridge.
“These successes demonstrated his ability to work across the aisle for the benefit of southern Alberta.
“He also had a very good working relationship with former Senator Joyce Fairbairn, proving that Liberals and Progressive Conservatives can find common ground,” added Pack.
“He also helped save the sugar beet industry in 1984-85 when special assistance was provided to farmers when prices were in the dumps,” he said.
During his career in Ottawa, Thacker served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport from 1987-89 and from 1989-91, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
In 1991, he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State (Agriculture.)
A lawyer by profession, he also served as party critic for Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Youth) and Environment (National Parks), according to the Parliament of Canada website.
In total, he served 14 years, five months and three days in office.
After Thacker’s retirement from politics, Enchant native Raymond Speaker won the Lethbridge seat for the Reform Party.
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