Ed Broadbent, 1936-2024
Ed Broadbent died on Thursday, January 11, at the age of 87.
“Ed Broadbent was a champion of social justice, who believed in equality and equity, and fairness for everyone living and working in Canada. He will be missed,” said Canadian Health Coalition Chair Pauline Worsfold, RN.
The Broadbent Institute, which he founded in 2011, announced his death in a statement Thursday afternoon.
John Edward Broadbent was known to New Democrats as “Honest Ed,” “Mr. Decent” or simply “Ed.”
Here is Ed Broadbent in his own voice from the website of the Broadbent Institute.
“We understand that too much emphasis on markets can threaten important social programs and produce extreme levels of inequality, which excludes too many Canadians from making meaningful choices and enjoying a life of dignity…The vision of Canada I propose is richer, more compelling, and achievable. We know things can be better. As a social democrat, I see government pensions, universal health care, trade union rights, and comprehensive unemployment insurance as proof that economic resources can be collectively harnessed and allocated to create greater equality and hence enhance individual freedom and choice. And all of this can only flourish within the context of ecological sustainability.
Our hopes are not unrealistic. We are pragmatists as much as dreamers. And our fight must continue.”Ed Broadbent
Broadbent grew up in blue collar Oshawa, one of three children, to Conservative voting parents. Broadbent began his political career with the nascent NDP in 1968 when he won the riding of Oshawa—Whitby, after studying at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. He became a professor at York University, and the head of the Political Science department there in 1965.
Broadbent was the Member of Parliament for Oshawa-Whitby and NDP leader for 14 years through four elections stepping down as leader in 1989— and returned to the House of Commons later in life, persuaded to run again by Jack Layton.
Here is Ed Broadbent in an interview with Mary-Lou Findlay of CBC’s As It Happens upon re-election to Ottawa South in 2004.
From helping craft the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the NDP, now led by Jagmeet Singh, and the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau, to opposing the War Measures Act, to helping shape the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Broadbent fought for a fairer and more equitable Canada.
He reflected on his legacy in a new book, Seeking Social Democracy: Seven Decades in the Fight for Equality.
The Canadian Health Coalition joins with thousands of other Canadians in thanking Ed Broadbent for his decades of work building and protecting a fairer and more equitable Canada.