Baldwin, Gerald William

Gerald William Baldwin, lawyer and politician, commonly known as "Ged" (b at Palmerston, New Zealand 18 January, 1907; d at Ottawa 16 December 1991). Recognized as the father of FREEDOM OF INFORMATION for the Canadian government, Gerald Baldwin came to Canada with his parents in 1912 and settled in VEGREVILLE, Alta where his father practiced law. Baldwin graduated from the UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA and in 1927 began practicing criminal law. In 1929 he set up practice in Berwyn, Alta, and in 1930 moved to PEACE RIVER. He gravitated to politics and in the Alberta provincial election of 1935 was the unsuccessful Conservative candidate for Peace River.

Ged Baldwin ran as a Progressive Conservative for Peace River in the federal election of 1957 and lost, but won in 1958 and in each subsequent federal election until retiring in 1980. During 1959-61 he lobbied successfully to have the Great Slave Lake Railway pass through his riding. During 1962-63 he was parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister DIEFENBAKER, and from 1968 to 1974 was official opposition house leader. In the mid-1970s he began a campaign for freedom of information in the Canadian government, periodically introducing a private member's bill. When Canada's ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT was passed in 1982, Prime Minister TRUDEAU publicly acknowledged Baldwin's contribution. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1985.