Senator Doug Finley, 'trusted advisor' to PM, dies after battle with cancer
Published Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:00PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 11, 2013 3:55PM EDT
Sen. Doug Finley has died after a public battle with colorectal cancer at the age of 66.
Finley, husband to Minister of Human Resources Diane Finley, died on Saturday in Ottawa, according to a statement from the Senate.
He is survived by his wife, his daughter from a previous marriage, Siobhan, and three grandchildren.
“Doug fought a hard and very public battle with cancer. His death is a loss to our family, our friends – and to the entire country," Diane Finley said in a statement.
“Although further details will soon be announced, I do ask that our family have some privacy as we prepare to formally bid farewell to a great man.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper described Finley as a “trusted advisor and strategist” and “a dear and valued friend.”
“When he learned he had cancer, Senator Finley faced this vicious opponent like the fighter he was,” Harper said in a statement released Saturday. “He continued to participate in Senate debates almost to the end, and shared information about his diagnosis and treatment with the public.”
In 2009, Harper appointed Finley to the Senate, where he represented Ontario South Coast.
As the former director of operations for the Canadian Alliance party, Finley was known as the driving force behind Harper's Conservative party leadership bid, along with his 2004, 2006 and 2008 federal Conservative election campaigns.
Finley was born in Exeter, U.K. on July 25, 1946 and his parents quickly moved him to Scotland, where he attended university.
He immigrated to Canada in the late 1960s where he began his professional career at Rolls-Royce Canada in Montreal.
He moved on to serve as president of Standard Aero, and senior vice-president of AvCorp Industries. Later in his career, he worked as general manager of Fernlea Flowers in Ontario.
In 2003, Finley was appointed director of political operations of the Canadian Alliance by Harper after running the Perth-Middlesex byelection campaign.
After the merger of Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative parties, Finley became a major force behind Harper’s successful leadership campaign, and was appointed director of political operations of the newly-formed Conservative Party of Canada.
This past Valentine's Day, Doug and Diane Finley appeared together on CTV’s Power Play, where he quipped about the many kilts at their wedding.
"Probably one of the few times in Ontario history, at least in those days, where the preacher, the bride and the groom all wore skirts,” he said. "Quite common now, but at least we had two sexes involved, you know."
Details about his funeral are expected to be announced shortly.