2001 Distinguished Service Award – Douglas M. Fisher

During a ceremony in Ottawa on June 5, 2001, the Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Daniel Hays, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Peter Milliken and the Chairman of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, Barry Turner, presented the Association’s third Distinguished Service Award to Mr. Douglas M. Fisher.

In his youth, Doug was schooled in Northwestern Ontario and majored in history and librarianship at the University of Toronto. He worked as a miner and a ranger before serving in Canada and overseas as a trooper in the 18th Armoured Car Regiment during the Second World War, from 1941 to 1945. After the war, he was a librarian at Queen’s University before becoming the first librarian for what is now Lakehead University.

Doug Fisher was a Member of Parliament from 1957 to 1965 for riding of Port Arthur, Ontario, representing first the C.C.F. and then the NDP. During his time in Parliament, Doug served on a number of committees, including the Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts. In 1962, while still in the House of Commons, he began working as a political columnist for the Toronto Telegram and interviewer-host at CJOH-TV in Ottawa, which he continuing after leaving electoral politics in 1965.

His accomplishments continued after his time in politics. In 1969, he co-authored a federal task report on sport. He was later appointed by the government to serve on the boards of three new sport organizations: Hockey Canada, Coaching Association of Canada, and Sports Information Centre. As director and then chairman of Hockey Canada, Doug helped organize the Canada vs. USSR hockey series in 1972 and 1974, and helped establish international “Canada Cup” hockey series in 1976. He was the Director of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame from 1974 to 1992, and co-authored “Canada’s Sporting Heroes”, which was published in 1974. In 1979 and 1980, Doug served as a one-man provincial commission of inquiry and reported into the state and the future needs of recreation and sport in Ontario.

He also continued to be involved in parliamentary affairs. From 1971 to 1973, he served as one of the three members on the Ontario Commission of the Legislature that examined issues related to the facilities and performance factors of the legislature including pay, pensions, procedure and improvement of services. In 1982, Doug served as a member and co-author on a committee of the Canadian Bar Association examining reform of Parliament.

Doug gave up his regular TV role in 1995, after 33 years, though he continues as a columnist, now for SUN newspapers. He has been a regular columnist of the Royal Canadian Legion’s publication, THE LEGION, since 1980.