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Hill Life & People

Thirty years in print: from The Hill Times’ photo archives

By Kate Malloy      
Comedian Rick Mercer and then-Reform Party MP Deb Grey, pictured in the late 1990s on Parliament Hill doing a shoot for CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which Mr. Mercer hosted at the time. The Hill Times photograph by Terry McDonald

Comedian Rick Mercer and then-Reform Party MP Deb Grey, pictured in the late 1990s on Parliament Hill doing a shoot for CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which Mr. Mercer hosted at the time. Ms. Grey, the first elected Reform Party MP who was elected in a byelection in March 1989 in Beaver River, Alta., loved motorcycles and took the funnyman for a tour on the bike in the rain for a bit on the show. Known for her quick quips and straight-shooting style, Ms. Grey was a high-profile MP during her time in federal politics. Mr. Mercer called her the “Iron Lady of the Conservative Movement.” She was the one to dub Don Boudria “Binder Boy,” and Jean Chrétien “the Shawinigan Strangler.” Reform Party leader Preston Manning named her deputy leader and she sat in the House as the lone Reformer until 1993 when the right-wing party elected 52 MPs. She continued to serve as the Reform Party’s deputy leader and caucus chair until March 2000 when the party was folded into the Canadian Alliance. When Mr. Manning stepped down, she stepped in as interim leader and became the first female leader of the official opposition until new leader Stockwell Day was elected to the House. She quit the Canadian Alliance in July, 2001, over Mr. Day’s leadership and joined 10 other Alliance MPs who formed the Independent Alliance Caucus, led by Chuck Strahl. Ms. Grey rejoined the Alliance when Stephen Harper was elected leader in 2002. In 2003, the Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives agreed to merge into the Conservative Party of Canada. Ms. Grey did not run again in 2004. She was later made an officer of the Order of Canada and shortly after retiring, she published her autobiography, Never Retreat, Never Explain, Never Apologize: My Life and My Politics. She chaired the Conservatives’ western campaign in 2006 and was later appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. She stepped down from SIRC in 2015.

Kate Malloy

Kate Malloy is the editor-in-chief of The Hill Times.
- kmalloy@hilltimes.com

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