Former Ontario attorney general Ian Scott dies

Former Ontario attorney general and Liberal politician Ian Scott died in his sleep Tuesday morning at the age of 72.

Ian Scott, a formerOntario attorney general and Liberal member of the legislature, died in his sleep Tuesday morning at age 72.

First elected in 1985, Scott served the Toronto riding of St. George-St. David for seven years before resigning his seat. Scottwas attorney generalhis first five years in the legislature.

In the past decade, he had been struggling with the effects of a debilitating stroke.

"Ian Scott was an outstanding attorney general because he was an outstanding lawyer," said former colleague Sean Conway.

Scott took officein a watershed year for the Ontario Liberals, as the Progressive Conservative government was reduced to a minority and replaced by a Liberal-NDP coalition, ending more than 40 years of Tory rule.

Scott was one of the key people who negotiated with the NDP to form a coalition government, a move that allowed David Peterson to become premier.

Peterson then appointed Scott as attorney general for the life of his administration,from 1985 to 1990.

"I can tell you as a member of the Peterson government that outside of Premier Peterson himself, there was certainly no one more important to the intellectual energy of the Peterson government than he and Scott," said Conway, who served with the Liberals during the administration.

Scott held key cabinet posts. He served as minister responsible for native affairs, and laterduring the Bob Rae administrationwas the Opposition critic for intergovernmental affairs and native affairs.

Judicial reforms

As attorney general,Scott introduced Ontario's first Freedom of Information Act, brought in pay equity legislation and reformed the court structure.

Scott also created an independent panel to recommend judicial appointments to make sure the job went to the most qualified.

He alsoamended the Ontario Human Rights Code to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It was only after Scott retired from politics that he openly acknowledged his own homosexuality, something most insiders knew but the politician never talked about while in office.

In 1994, the same year he sufferedthe stroke, he received the Order of Canada to honour his many reforms to the administration of justice.