Canadian journalist, activist and former MP Simma Holt passed away on Friday at the age of 92.
Holt began her journalism career with The Vancouver Sun in 1944 where she developed a reputation as a tough investigative reporterand would remain there for 30 years until she was elected to Canada’s House of Commons as a Liberal in the 1974 federal election becoming the first Jewish woman ever elected to Parliament. However, she would lose her seat in the 1979 election to Ian Waddell of the NDP and would lose to Waddell again in a rematch during the 1980 election.
Holt was the author of one of my favorite books The Other Mrs. Diefenbaker: A Biography of Edna May Brower. Released in 1982, Holt documents the life of John Diefenbaker’s first wife who was instrumental and influential in his rise to the echelons of Canada’s Conservative Party until her death in 1951, six years before Diefenbaker became Prime Minister. Diefenbaker would re-marry and Edna Diefenbaker would be forgotten. Holt’s book did much to remedy it.
Later in life, Holt championed the cause of the Falun Gong when the City of Vancouver made efforts to stop their protests against the Chinese government.
This comment from her niece gave me a chuckle:
Before she died, the assisted living facility she lived in had a practice of putting out a notice whenever a resident died that always said that so and so had passed away peacefully. Simma left strict orders to me and a number of others that we were never to permit that to be said of her. I said ‘don’t worry, you’ve never done anything peacefully in your life’.
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