Obits get political: ‘In lieu of flowers, please vote LIBERAL’
When John Bolan’s family sat down to write his obituary last week, they decided to give him one last chance to convince undecided voters to pledge their support to the Liberals in the upcoming federal election.
The lifelong Ontario civil servant died unexpectedly after surgery in Toronto on Thursday at the age of 78, and had spent most of his life as an ardent Liberal supporter. What better time to give him a platform than when all of his friends were engaged readers?
“In lieu of flowers, please vote LIBERAL,” his death notice in The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star read.
His wife, Bernice, said that since the notice appeared Saturday, she has heard from dozens of friends who are delighted with the political pronouncement. She said her husband kept his political leanings quiet at work – he spent his career at Ontario’s Ministry of Trade and Industry – but anyone who knew him understood where he stood politically.
“We didn’t know how to capture that in his obit,” she said. “Not only was he a Liberal, he just believed so strongly in the values of our country and of the political party. We were trying to think of some way to capture that, and we knew he disliked flowers. So what could we say in lieu of flowers? He would have absolutely loved this; it was the best thing we could have done.”
Mr. Bolan’s riding of St. Paul’s is currently held by Liberal Carolyn Bennett. William Molls is running for the NDP and Maureen Harquail is running for the Conservatives. Ms. Bolan said she hopes that her husband’s message will resonate with voters, and maybe win the Liberals a few extra votes.
“We always said if we could help Michael Ignatieff we would,” said Ms. Bolan, who was married to Mr. Bolan for 49 years. “And I can’t tell you the number of people who have enjoyed the notice. So many people have told me that they are Conservatives, but that they will vote Liberal just this once. He had a wonderful sense of humour – I’m sure he’d enjoy every minute of this.”
Mr. Bolan’s service was Sunday, and he was buried Monday morning. In addition to voting Liberal, the family welcomes donations to the cardiac centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.