Former Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott passes away

Abbott served as the region’s federal representative for nearly two decades

Jim Abbott, who served as the region’s federal representative for nearly two decades, has passed away.

Former Member of Parliament Jim Abbott, who served the riding of Kootenay-Columbia for almost two decades, has died.

Abbott, 77, passed away Sunday, July 26. He is considered a cornerstone of the local Conservative movement, was an original member of the Reform Party of Canada when that party formed and broke into Parliament, and was well-respected across all party lines.

“If you do things out of an unselfish motivation, the reward — even though you’re not looking for a reward — will be far greater than the effort you put in,” Abbott told Black Press in an interview upon his retirement in 2011.

Abbott was first elected as a member of the Reform Party of Canada in 1993, the Reform Party’s break-out election. He was re-elected as a Reformer in 1997, and again in 2000, as a member of the Canadian Alliance Party, a merger of the Conservative Party and Reform.

He was re-elected again in 2004, with the newly amalgamated Conservative Party, and again in 2006, when the Conservatives took power with a minority government. Abbott’s last election was 2006. In each election, Abbott was elected with huge percentages of the local vote — as high as 68 per cent (in 2000) and as low as 52 per cent (2004).

Before retiring, Abbott was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation (Canada). On October 15, 2007, he was sworn in as a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, and as such was entitled to the style “The Honourable” for life. On June 30, 2010, being the representative of Canada, he went to the inauguration of President Benigno Aquino III in Manila, Philippines.

More to come.

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