02.24.2013 02:36 PM


R.I.P.  What a giant that man was.

And, like every politician I’ve known from Windsor, he was a fighter and a winner.


  1. Cynical says:

    He was the Minister responsible for the agency my dad worked for, and he was highly respected even in a part of the world where Liberals were not popular. My father thought him the best Minister of Agriculture ever. High praise from a farmer in Southern Alberta.

  2. Bruce A says:

    What I remember of Whelan was him being asked a question by an Opposition Member years ago about going to Miami. The Opposition Member said it was Miami, Flordia.

    Turned out Eugene had been in Miami, Manitoba at a 4-H Club event or something of the kind!

  3. J.W. says:

    Can you imagine if the Liberal Party had asked Whelan to stand up in the House and stumble through some angry, distorted vicious partisan attack written by someone in the party war room, and then every morning get some “talking Points” to blather on about all day, and let the PMO run his Ag Department in detail day by day. Just imagine!

  4. G. Babbitt says:

    I am actually quite saddened by the Windsor Star’s obituary because I fear Mr Whalen’s intelligence and compassion will always be underestimated. The anecdote they cite from the 1984 leadership campaign makes him seem somewhat deluded and buffoonish. My recollection from that time was that Whalen ran primarily to support Jean Chretien and he knew could win delegates from areas that might be more likely to vote for Turner. And his line about being the best known politician in the world were delivered with such comic timing and precision that David Letterman would turn green. I also remember that the primary thing that this “unsophisticated hick from rural Canada” wanted to talk about during campaign was famines in Africa, months before Do they know its Christmas. Also who can forget “The banks have gold flake on their windows, while there are people don’t have corn flake in their cereal.”

  5. dave says:

    A story I got was that an attache at the USSR Embassy in Ottawa was close to Whelan. When new young Agriculture Secretary of USSR, Gorbachev visited Canada, that attache took Gorbachev to Whelan’s farm where Grobachev was shown how things on a working farm in Cananda happened. Apparently Whelan and Gorbachev had some time together talking shop. When Grobachev came to power in USSR, he appointed that attache (wish I could remember his name …that would add a bit of verisimilitude to my story here) to an agriculture position. They two worked, with others, the profound changes that the USSR went through under Gorbachev.

    I figure that history will show Gorbachev as being an important step forward in the 20th Century, and I think that his time with Eugen Whelan contibuted to his thinking about his own homeland. To me, then, Whelan is an important part of the 20th Century.

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