Michael Breaugh, a former provincial and federal representative for Oshawa, has passed away at the age of 78.
Premier Doug Ford shared his condolences to Breaugh’s family after his passing.
An obituary for Breaugh from the Courtice Funeral Chapel notes he passed away at Lakeridge Health on Friday, Nov. 22.
Breaugh was first elected as a New Democrat MPP in 1975, winning re-election in 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1987.
He ran for party leadership in 1978, finishing third.
In 1990, he left Queen’s Park to run for the city’s federal seat in a by-election to fill the hole left by legendary Oshawa MP and long-time federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent’s resignation.
Breaugh was successful, defeating Liberal candidate Cathy O’ Flynn.
He lost the seat in 1993 to Liberal Ivan Grose, part of an election where the NDP lost all of its Ontario seats.
Breaugh’s obituary described him as a leader with “careful listening, sentient reflection, a deep passion, and an abiding joy for the community he engaged with.”
Ward 5 city and regional councillor Brian Nicholson knew Breaugh very well.
He noted Breaugh had also served as an Oshawa city councillor and regional councillor before joining provincial politics.
Nicholson described him as a “really happy-go-lucky guy.”
“He approached issues with a positive attitude – he had passion and compassion combined. He was always looking to try and help people,” Nicholson told The Oshawa Express.
But this kindness wasn’t to be mistaken for weakness, he adds.
“If you went up against him and were trying to do things he thought were harmful, you were in for a fight,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson said one lesson he learned from Breaugh was to “never forget where you came from.”
“Your first job is to the people that elect you, it’s not the party, it’s the people that put you into office,” he states.
After his departure from politics, Nicholson said Breaugh worked as a consultant and lobbyist for local businesses, notably as a spokesperson for the manufacturing industry in Durham Region.
Breaugh also supported a number of local charities and was fiercely committed to his family.
Nicholson said even after any political defeats, Breaugh never lost his smile.
“He has a legacy of positivity,” the veteran councillor said.
According to his obituary, Breaugh was laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto on Dec. 1.