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Former Ontario Speaker Chris Stockwell dies

Ontario: Former Etobicoke politician Chris Stockwell has died.

Stockwell represented Etobicoke in the Ontario legislature for 13 years, holding a number of ministerial portfolios in the Progressive Conservative governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. He also served as speaker of the legislature from 1996 to 1999.

Interim Ontario PC Leader Vic Fedeli tweeted about Stockwell’s death Sunday evening.

“Very saddened to hear about the passing of former MPP, cabinet minister, Speaker of the House, and long-time Tory family member Chris Stockwell. Rest in Peace,” Fedeli wrote in his post.

A number of other provincial politicians also took to Twitter at the news of Stockwell’s passing.

“My heart breaks for @cstockwell_s’ family,” wrote MPP Lisa MacLeod. “He was a superb public servant, Speaker of the Assembly and a loyal Progressive Conservative. He was particularly kind to me as a friend and supporter. I will always remember him and forever miss him.”

A number of journalists and former colleagues remembered Stockwell as an effective speaker who did a good job of holding the entire legislature – including his own party – to account.

Former premier Bob Rae, who led Ontario’s NDP government in the early 90s, also tweeted his condolences.

“Very sorry to learn of Chris’s passing. He was a real character: funny, irreverent, and public spirited,” Rae wrote.

In addition to his time at Queen’s Park, Stockwell was also involved in municipal politics, serving as a controller in the former City of Etobicoke in the early 1980’s and then as a councillor on the former Metropolitan Toronto council.

Mayor John Tory issued a statement on Twitter calling Stockwell “such a feisty & determined man who always spoke up passionately for the things he believed in.

“His dedication to municipal & provincial politics continued his family’s commitment to public service. He’ll be missed & I extend condolences to his family tonight.”

Former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, who served with Stockwell on Metro Toronto Council, issued a statement Sunday remembering his former colleague.

“It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of my former colleague Chris Stockwell,” Lastman said in the statement. “From our days together on the Metropolitan Toronto Council to our dealings when he was an Ontario Cabinet Minister and when I was Mayor of Toronto, Chris was very passionate about serving the people who we were elected to represent.

“Chris was a tireless advocate for his beloved Etobicoke and served the public very well including a lengthy stint as Speaker of the Ontario Legislature. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family especially his father Bill who I also served with on Metro Council.”

According to reports, Stockwell was in his early 60s and passed away following a battle with cancer.

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