In Memory of Brian McInnis

The Mayor and Members of Toronto City Council are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brian Francis McInnis on Saturday, March 20, 2010.

As the first day of spring brought the promise of new beginnings, our City saw the miraculous life of a great friend, courageous soul and tireless fighter for what is good in this life, come to a close as Brian Francis McInnis passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.

His loving wife, Minerva, his three sons Luke, Adam and Thomas, his parents Howard and Mary and the communities of East Toronto, to whom he gave so much, mourn this great loss.

Brian was truly an inspiration to all. His generosity, wit and charm knew no bounds and his life can be viewed as a living answer to the question we have all asked ourselves from time to time:

“Why should we sacrifice for our community, friends and family?”

Brian’s answer, as always, was:  “because it’s the right thing to do”.   

As a freelance photojournalist with the Montreal Gazette, Brian showed great compassion and respect for all of his subjects bringing out their humanity in his work. Moving on to Ottawa and beginning a career in Federal politics, Brian fought, often at great personal cost, for what he believed to be true and good.  He stood up against oppression and for the causes of national unity and human rights. Brian sacrificed the security of a senior post in the government of the day, in order to expose what he saw to be a great injustice.

Why?  Because it was the right thing to do.

In our community, as co-chair of the Toronto Energy Coalition, Brian stood strong against a proposed gas-fired power plant in the Port lands. When local businesses were under threat from the proposed construction of a massive Power-Centre in Leslieville, Brian organized thousands of residents to what became a winning cause.  Finally, working on campaigns at every level, including doing communications for Jack Layton during the last Federal election, at every step, Brian knew why he was there - because it was the right thing to do.

While his strength may have been tested daily during his nine-month battle with cancer, Brian’s family showed incredible fortitude as they steadfastly supported him, giving back the same kind of love and generosity they had seen from Brian throughout their lives together.

When asked by a friend of his father’s what was the greatest gift Brian had left behind for him, his eldest son Luke recently replied “…a strong moral compass”.  All of us who have been touched by Brian along his incredible journey share that gift.

It is because of him that we now all know the answer to the tough questions we face when standing up against injustice - you do it, because it’s the right thing to do.

The City Clerk is requested to convey, on behalf of the Members of Toronto City Council, our sincere sympathy to Brian Francis McInnis' friends and family.

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