Two years ago today the federal Liberals of Vancouver South were holding their annual summer barbecue. They were thrilled with their new leader as so seemed the country with Justin Trudeau riding high in the polls.
My brother-in-law Rich found out about the afternoon event which happened to be taking place in a park not far from where both of us lived. Neither of us were Liberals but the thought that maybe the crown prince might appear was an incentive, and the hot dogs even more so. In order to get a hot dog however, one had to supply an email address. Rich had the presence of mind to invent an email, whereas I, being slightly less devious, gave my work email.
The guest speaker for the event was the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, Dr Hedy Fry. The Honourable Hedy Fry was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and she has been re-elected six times, and I've never been able to understand why.
I first met Hedy Fry at a multicultural dinner event in the 1990s. At the time she was in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. She arrived in a chauffeur driven limo and made a grand entrance with much pomp and circumstance. She was terribly late and made no apologies. Her speech reminded us, several times, of the wonderful things she was doing in Ottawa for all of us out in the hinterland.
In 2001 Fry ventured into fantasy land with her bizarre accusation that racist cross burnings were taking place on front lawns in the city of Prince George. Ultimately, Fry had to apologise in the House, and to the good people of Prince George.
She's been out of Cabinet during all these years of Conservative government and the limo is nowhere to be seen. Hedy Fry is one of the most arrogant people I have ever met and certainly the most egocentric politician I've ever come across. She will be defeated in October by the excellent candidate: Constance Barnes.
When Fry came round to where we were sitting, Rich leapt up, shook her hand and asked to have a photo taken of the two them. This was my cue to take several pictures, though I wondered, why of all people, Rich would want his picture taken with Hedy Fry. She was delighted of course; the ego must be fed whenever possible. Rich had something else in mind.
The Honourable Hedy Fry was not amused.
At the time of this adventure, Rich was living past his doctor-predicted best-by date. He was living with an incurable cancer, relatively healthy, in good spirits and when not having hot dogs with me, Rich was travelling the world with his partner of almost thirty years, my sister Susan.
Rich was my dearest friend and confidant, and sometime co-conspirator. We shared a love of laughter, often at our own expense, a passion for world news and politics, and an appreciation for a nice Okanagan red. Rich was dedicated to his family and friends. He cared about the bigger picture and questioned the why of things. Rich was my brother-in-law, but I always thought of him as my brother.
Rich's cancer came back with a fury after he and Susan returned from a trip to India in the autumn of 2014. He passed away in January of this year. As the current election campaign heats up, I miss my brother even more. He would have loved it.
Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2015 by Jim Murray.