Former MPP George McCague dead at 84

July 16, 2014   ·   0 Comments

George McCague, who represented the former riding of Dufferin-Simcoe in the Ontario Legislature for 15 years and is regarded as having been instrumental in seeing Honda locate in his home town of Alliston, has died. He was 84.

Mr. McCague was elected to the Legislature in 1975 after wresting the Progressive Conservative nomination for the riding from longtime representative Rev. A. W. (Wally) Downer, and sat as an MPP until his retirement in 1990.

“George McCague was my mentor,” said interim PC Leader Jim Wilson, who took over as the Tory standard-bearer from Mr. McCague in 1990, and was elected as MPP for the then-new riding of Simcoe-Grey that September.

“Like family, he took me under his wing at a very young age and taught me the value of public service.

“I consider myself fortunate to have been counted among his many friends and share in the sadness of this magnificent loss.”

Mr. McCague served as the chair of cabinet and the Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet concurrently for almost a decade. He also served as Minister of Transportation and Communications, Minister of the Environment and Minister of Government Services before his retirement.

Prior to his election to the Legislature, Mr. McCague served as town councillor, deputy-reeve, reeve and mayor of Alliston between 1960 and 1973. He served as warden of the County of Simcoe in 1966 and served again as mayor of the newly amalgamated town of New Tecumseth from 1992 to 1994.

He was the first chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and a founding member and the first chair of the board of governors of Georgian College.

Wilson started his political career as a driver for Mr. McCague, and during university and upon graduation, was an assistant to Mr. McCague when he was the Ontario Management Board Chair.

In retirement, Mr. McCague remained an active member of his community, coordinating the driver program for the Canadian Cancer Society of Simcoe County. He was also very active with St. John’s United Church, the New Tecumseh Improvement Society, the Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Nottawasaga Foundation.

It was while Mr. McCague was in government that Honda selected Alliston as the site of its Canadian assembly plant. The initial plant opened in 1986, a second in 1998 and a third – a $154-million engine plant in 2008.

Born on Dec. 29, 1929, in Essa Township, north of Alliston, he was a son of J.J.E. McCague who owned Glenafton Farms which was one of the best known dairy farms of its time. Educated at Burns Public School, Alliston High School and the Ontario Agricultural College, he worked as a sod and potato farmer and executive and owned a real estate company in Alliston.

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