New Brunswick

Longtime politician Greg Thompson's life celebrated in St. Andrews

Hundreds gathered in Saint Andrews on Friday morning to attend the funeral for Saint Croix MLA Greg Thompson. 

New Brunswick intergovernmental affairs minister died Sept. 10

The funeral for Greg Thompson, the MLA for Saint Croix, was held at the All Saints Church in Saint Andrews on Friday. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Hundreds gathered in Saint Andrews on Friday morning for the funeral of Saint Croix MLA Greg Thompson. 

The veteran politician died of cancer on Sept. 10 after a long career in federal and provincial politics. 

Among those remembering his life were Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, Premier Blaine Higgs, former federal Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay and provincial politicians from all parties. 

Scheer stopped at the funeral while campaigning in Atlantic Canada for the Oct. 21 federal election. 

"He was always such a great source of wisdom in caucus — and compassion," Scheer said in an interview about Thompson. "His saying was, 'People don't care about you unless they know that you care.'"

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer was among the many politicians who attended the funeral. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Scheer said Thompson's service as minister of veterans affairs in the previous federal government proved that to be true.

"I always found that he brought that compassion forward every time I ever had to meet with him about a constituent that was having difficulty with Veterans Affairs."

In the eulogy, Thompson's daughter-in-law Jennifer Thompson said he had honesty, morality, determination, compassion and focus.

Greatest achievement

Thompson's political career took him far, she said. He served in Parliament and the New Brunswick Legislature and as a cabinet minister at both levels of government. 

But his greatest and proudest personal achievement was being a "husband, dad, and  papa," she said.

Thomson's first career was teaching high school history, she said.

"Greg was always very proud meeting many of his former students, whether on the campaign trail or in his constituency office. Greg had an impact on a lot of people."

Premier Blaine Higgs, who had made Thompson minister of intergovernmental affairs, said he'd known him for a long time and saw him as a mentor. 

"He was the kind of person that didn't speak a lot, but when he spoke you listened," he said in an interview. "And if he was really passionate about something, you knew it."

Provincial Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said he knew Thompson from when Vickers was a sergeant-at-arms in the House of Commons.

Premier Blaine Higgs called Thompson a mentor. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

"He is the finest cut of the cloth of New Brunswick, [the most] remarkable, polished, chivalrous, distinguished person that I've encountered," he said. "I have nothing but the greatest of respect for Greg Thompson."

Karen Ludwig, New Brunswick Southwest MP, talked about his longtime roots in the area.

"He was kind. He was gentle. He was a gentleman but fiercely ... a promoter of New Brunswick, and to do the right thing."

'You have kept all of your promises'

Near the end of her eulogy, Jennifer Thompson read an excerpt from Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / and miles to go before I sleep."

Then she said: "You have kept all of your promises Greg, and now you can sleep."

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