Remembering Andy Scott
My thoughts are of Andy Scott today. And there are so many. The image that dominates though is of him holding court from his table at the market. We had some great chats there on Saturday mornings, he was such a greart stsory teller, but we would consistenly be interrupted by a steady parade of Frederictonians of every walk of life stopping to ask him about something, or thank him for some favour, or just the say hello. It was a testament to his popularity and the respect people had for him.
It was understandable because his priority really was to make this part of the world a better place for all. He knew the game of politics well, but more than that he was the epitome of what every politician should aspire to. His priority really was to serve, and he carried that out with a grace, and a sense of humour, but even more so with a respect for every person he dealt with.
And he did it tirelessly when he was an MP. His workweek was unbelievable. From very early mornings to late evenings when in Ottawa, then a late Friday night flight to Fredericton, early Saturday morning at the market, then back to Ottawa for another week.
A couple of friends and I flew to Ottawa a few years back to receive an award on behalf of our credit union, and I arranged for them to meet Andy on Parliament. It was late evening before he could, but I will never forget the time he took giving us the full tour of the parliament complex, ending with him hosting us for dinner in the parliamentary dining room. He spent hours with us, until late in the evening, this after a very long day and an early morning meeting scheduled for the next day. But it wasn't just that he was doing me a favour â€“ that's how he treated everybody.
On the political side, he had this amazing ability to build consensus. His election teams were the most diverse collection of individuals you could find anywhere. People who you were never expect to see in the same room, working together because they believed in Andy and what he was trying to accomplish. He was a leader.
And he never shied away from the tough issues, including the emotional ones â€“ the gun registry, same sex marriage, you name it and he was there, most likely holding one of his consensus building sessions on it.
Andy had the power of his convictions, and it carried him well. He was admired for so much but I think probably for this more than anything else. If you didn't agree he would take whatever time needed to try to bring you around, and most of the time he would. There's something infectious about someone who believes what he is standing for down to his core. That was Andy.
And that's why he was often involved up to his ears in issues that were close to his heart â€“ poverty reduction, aboriginal issues, literacy. So it was so natural for him to throw himself into promoting lifelong learning as his second career after politics.
He has left us too young, but after a full life of accomplishments and of making a difference.
My condolences to Denise and his sons.