Alan Pope, former northern Ontario MPP, dead at age 77

Alan Pope, a former northern member of the Ontario Legislature and onetime Progressive Conservative minister of natural resources, died Friday at age 77.

Former MPP Gilles Bisson, who succeeded Pope in what was then Cochrane South riding, described him as a man who cared deeply for his family and always tried to hear from the other side in politics. 

“He believed in the Bill Davis style of approaching government and where you’re fiscally conservative, but you’re socially progressive,” said Bisson.

Pope was first elected to public office as an alderman in Timmins, serving in the role in 1973 and 1974.

In 1977, he was elected as a Progressive Conservative MPP and continued in the job until 1990. He served as a cabinet minister in the Bill Davis and Frank Miller governments. 

Pope ‘liked everyone’

Pope’s longest cabinet post was as minister of natural resources, from 1981 to 1985.

“He was very active in advancing reforestation for the forests of northern Ontario because at the time, there was a very weak regime in place about how forestry companies operated,” Bisson said.

Ray Auclair, a former Timmins councillor, told Radio-Canada that Pope was dedicated to public service.

“He liked everyone and did everything to help people,” Auclair said. 

He added that Pope was the first person to send him a letter of congratulations when he was elected to city council.

“Alan Pope was a special man, and we’re going to miss him,” he said.

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