Longtime senator Keith Davey, whose prowess as a Liberal organizer and campaign strategist earned him the nickname The Rainmaker, has died at age 84.


Keith Davey, shown talking with friends outside Notre-Dame Basilica at the start of the state funeral for Pierre Trudeau in Montreal on Oct. 3, 2000, has died at age 84. ((Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press))

Davey, who had Alzheimer's disease for a number of years, died on Monday morning surrounded by his family, according to Liberal Party sources.

In a statement of condolence Monday evening, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Davey "dedicated his life to public service and to the country he loved.

"He will be remembered as a man who loved his party, loved his politics, loved his family and loved his country," Ignatieff said. "His legacy inspires all those who serve Canada in politics and in Parliament."

Born in Toronto, Davey was national campaign director for the Liberals in federal elections stretching from the early 1960s to the 1980s. 

Named to the Senate by Lester Pearson in 1966, he served there for more than 30 years. He was later appointed an officer of the Order of Canada.

In 1969, Davey headed a special Senate committee on Canadian media, which sparked widespread debate on the rising concentration of media ownership at the time. 

In 1986, he published a memoir of his life in politics, titled The Rainmaker.

His oldest son Ian served as Ignatieff's chief of staff until 2009. Davey is also survived by his wife Dorothy and his two other children, Douglas and Catherine.