Friends and family of veteran broadcaster, politician and environmentalist Rafe Mair gathered in downtown Vancouver on Monday to remember the iconic political commentator who died earlier this month at the age of 85.
Mair’s portrait was displayed on an altar under a vase of roses at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral, where a bagpiper played to welcome attendees ahead of heartfelt eulogies from friends and family.
Among those who shared words was CKNW morning host Jon McComb, who now fills the same time slot that Mair once commanded to record ratings.
“Rafe brought his intellect, fearlessness, and that famous fire in his belly to the highly coveted CKNW morning talk show slot. It hasn’t been the same since,” said McComb.
“His listeners loved him. Along with a big audience and big commercial sales came higher and higher premiums for CKNW slander insurance,” McComb added, alluding to Mair’s feisty style and fearless approach to challenging those in the halls of power.
WATCH: Rafe Mair passes away at age 85
But while Mair was noted for holding politicians feet to the fire, he was also remembered as an advocate for mental health, McComb noted.
“Every year he held a depression screening day on his show where people would call in to talk to a psychologist privately off the air. We will never know how many lives were transformed or saved by Rafe telling his story and urging others to seek help.”
Mair served as a cabinet minister in Bill Bennett’s Social Credit government, before joining CKNW in 1984 where he built a massive audience.
Mair also led the B.C. opposition to the failed 1992 Charlottetown Accord, and later in life won respect as an outspoken environmentalist, known for his passionate activism against private run-of-river power plants and the Alcan hydroelectric dam.