Dr. F. J. (“Jim”) Hawkes, former Member of Parliament from the Alberta riding of Calgary West, was honoured by the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians Distinguished Service Award, which was presented by the Speaker of the Senate of Canada and the Speaker of the House of Commons during a reception on Monday, June 6, 2011 in Ottawa, in recognition of his years of parliamentary service, his contribution to and respect for the institution of Parliament and for his continued interest and activity in the promotion of education, human rights and parliamentary democracy in Canada and abroad.
Jim Hawkes served Canada as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for more than 14 years. Before entering the political arena he had a distinguished career of service, education and research, beginning with the YMCA, followed by Mount Royal College and culminating in a tenured professorship at the University of Calgary. Jim began his life in politics in 1976 as Program Director for Joe Clark, the new Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. In 1979, he was successfully elected as a Member of Parliament, representing the new constituency of Calgary West, a position he held until 1993. During his time as an MP, he had a reputation for inspiring young Albertans to get involved in politics, including current Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
During his time in Parliament, Jim served on numerous committees, quickly earning a reputation for his ability to find consensus and improve legislation. He notably co-chaired the Task Force on Technological Displacement and Manpower Training with Senator Nathan Nurgitz, and for several years he chaired the Standing Committee on Labour, Employment and Immigration. He also chaired the Special Committee on Electoral Reform and was very involved in the proceedings of the Special Committee on the Review of the Parliament of Canada Act. Jim was also a member of the Canadian Delegation to the United Nations, working with the Third Committee. In 1988 he was appointed Chief Government Whip, a position he held until leaving Parliament in 1993.
Since leaving office Jim has been very active in the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, serving for more than four years on the Board of Directors of its Educational Foundation. He and his wife, Joanne Hawkes, continue to visit schools, speaking to students about Canada’s parliamentary system.