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‘We’ve lost one of our most prominent citizens’: Aileen Carroll, longtime Barrie politician, dies

Carroll was a former politician and well-known community member in Barrie.
Carroll was a former politician and well-known community member in Barrie. CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson

Aileen Carroll, a former city councillor, Liberal MP and MPP in Barrie, Ont., passed away on Sunday at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

“Barrie is mourning the passing of the Hon. Aileen Carroll,” local mayor Jeff Lehman said on Twitter Monday.

“Aileen was a fiery and very funny person and inspiration to many. We’ve lost one of our most prominent citizens.”

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Carroll was a former politician and well-known community member in Barrie. She was born in Nova Scotia in 1944 and was the first woman to graduate from St. Mary’s University in Halifax in 1965.

She contributed to several organizations and ran a local business with two friends before getting elected to Barrie city council in 1995.

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Carroll subsequently served as the Liberal MP for the former Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford riding for nine years, before she was elected as the Liberal MPP for Barrie between 2007 and 2011.

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On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered his condolences to Carroll’s family and friends over Twitter.

“I join the people of Barrie in honouring her for being a strong champion for the region and [a] strong voice for Canada,” Ford said.

Former political opponent Patrick Brown, who’s now the mayor of Brampton, Ont., also paid his respects to Carroll on Twitter.

“Saddened to hear of the passing of former #Barrie MP Hon. Aileen Carroll. She was my predecessor as MP in Barrie,” Brown said.

“We fought two fierce elections against each other. I admired and respected her as an adversary.”

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Between 2001 and 2003, Carroll served as the federal parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister. Between 2003 and 2006, Carroll was the international cooperation minister and was responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency.

Between 2007 and 2010, Carroll served as Ontario’s culture minister and as the minister responsible for seniors.

“Aileen Carroll was a feisty, funny, smart woman,” former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said on Twitter.

“It was a pleasure to work with her in the McGuinty Cabinet. My heart goes out to her family and friends today.”

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In 2011, Carroll resigned from politics and started to focus on charitable initiatives, family and friends.

Carroll contributed to Hospice Simcoe, Habitat for Humanity, the Barrie Library, the Busby Centre, among others.

“Aileen accomplished many firsts — the first federal Cabinet minister from Barrie and serving at all three levels of government, including both provincial and federal,” Lehman said on Twitter.

READ MORE: Reflecting on a decade: Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman

“I worked with her closely for years and always admired her integrity, thoughtfulness and Maritime sense of community.”

Carroll’s family will hold a memorial on a to-be-determined date.

The family says those who want to honour Carroll’s memory can make a donation to the Barrie Food Bank or Care Canada.

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