James Laxer - Official Family Obituary and Public Memorial Service Announcement
James Robert Laxer, Professor in the Department of Equity Studies at York University, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack in Paris, February 23, 2018. He is survived by his spouse Sandy Price, four children, Michael, Kate, Emily, and Jonathan, four grandchildren, Nathaniel, Julia, Benjamin, and Robert and siblings Linda and Gord. Jim was born in Montreal on December 22nd 1941 to Edna May (née Quentin), a social worker, and Robert Laxer, a psychology professor, both political activists. Jim grew up in a Communist household in Toronto during the McCarthy era, a history he chronicled in his memoir Red Diaper Baby. In the late 1960s, with economist Mel Watkins, and others, Jim played a central role in the founding of the left-wing nationalist movement within the New Democratic Party (NDP), that became popularly known as the "Waffle". In 1971, he ran for the leadership of the NDP and came in second behind David Lewis. After the Waffle disbanded, Jim became an influential academic, author, columnist, and television personality. He wrote over twenty books on the Canadian economy, Canadian politics, free trade, the oil and gas industry and Canadian history. In the 1980s, he hosted a current affairs show called The Real Story and was the host of the 1986 National Film Board documentary series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada, for which he won a Gemini Award. Jim's work and opinion pieces have appeared in many Canadian newspapers and magazines, and for several years he was a columnist for the Toronto Star. At the time of his death, Jim was in Europe researching his next book on Canada’s role in the Second World War. His teaching, writing, activism, and concern for greater equality and the future of Canada motivated him throughout his life. He was a loving and wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many, with a huge heart and a tremendous sense of humour. A service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held on Saturday, March 3 at 10am in the Great Hall at Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto.