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Posted: July 27, 2020

Long-time local MP Jim Abbott has died

A local Conservative Party icon has died.

Wasa resident and former long-time Kootenay-Columbia MP James Abbott died Sunday, July 26. He was 77.

First elected in 1993 as a member of the Reform Party, Jim served Kootenay-Columbia proudly for 18 years, stepping aside in 2011. His first three terms were as a Reform Party MP and his final two terms in office were with the Conservative Party of Canada following a merger of the two parties.

A tireless and dedicated Member of Parliament, Abbott was a runaway winner in all five elections he took part in, with 52% to 67.8% vote ranges.

“We lost a giant today. It is with a heavy heart that I received the news of the passing of The Honourable James Abbott,” stated Rob Morrison, current Kootenay-Columbia MP. “Jim represented this area with a distinguished level of service and was respected at the highest levels of Government. On October 15, 2007 he was sworn in as a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, and with it received the title of “Honourable”. A fitting title for a leader who embodied the very definition of the word. He represented our area with a gentle spirit and was guided by an unwavering commitment to his Constituents. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“Jim Abbott was as fine a gentleman as you would ever meet. A fierce politician, a loving husband, father and grandfather and a man with a strong belief in God.  When I became MP in 2011 he mentored me and ensured that I got good people to work with in Ottawa.  He was in Ottawa the day I was sworn in and we stayed in touch with each other often.  I am proud to have him as a friend,” said David Wilks, District of Sparwood Mayor and former Kootenay-Columbia MP.

A local politician who came close to Abbott in terms of time in office and success in elections, retired BC Liberal Party MLA Bill Bennett, noted on Facebook today, “I have known no finer human being than Jim in my lifetime. He was so honest and caring. A wonderful family man, a true gentleman and a great MP. Beth and I send our sincere condolences to Jeannette and family.”

Lead image: Former BC Premier Christy Clark was pleased to see former multi-term Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott at a 2016 Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW file photos

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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