Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to George Hislop, a leader and activist in the gay community who passed away on October 8. I was blessed to be able to be with him hours before he went on his next journey.
George Hislop was a friend and mentor to many people in the gay community. George was a founder of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto in 1971, one of Canada's first gay rights organizations. In 1980, George was the first openly gay candidate for elected office in Canada when he ran for Toronto city council. Although he was not successful, George inspired gay and lesbian political activists across the country.
George was a key figure in the protests surrounding the Toronto bath raids of 1981. After the death of his partner, Ron Shearer, George led the ongoing fight for equal CPP survivor benefits for gay and lesbian couples.
I will miss George enormously. George first taught me about the lesbian and gay community. He explained the issues, introduced me to the people in the community and offered his insight, as he did to so many. His strength, humour and dedication to the fight for equality have been inspirational to me and all of us.
Canada has lost a leader in the passing of George Hislop.