The Gleaner



In loving memory of Ian Watson. A devoted father, loving grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and dear friend to many.

On April 2, 2023, at the age of 88, he died peacefully, with his family by his side. Born in Howick Quebec (April 10, 1934), Ian was a lawyer before entering politics. He was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1963-1984, winning 7 successive terms to the House of Commons in the Quebec ridings of Chateauguay, Huntington and Laprairie.

Ian’s political longevity, spanning Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, and John Turner governments, was matched with a lifelong commitment to serving his constituents and a practical approach to solving problems across party lines through parliamentary committees he chaired and internationally through inter-parliamentary working groups.

Ian was an optimist, who believed in the power of politics to effect lasting, positive change in people’s lives.

He displayed a rare degree of independence as a backbench MP who was not afraid to speak out, at times controversially, on Indigenous education reform and land rights in the 1970s and the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict, presenting a Middle East Peace Plan through private member motions in each of 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. After politics, he became a founding member of the Middle Eastern Discussion Group, as well as founding the National Council on Canadian Arab Relations. His dedication and interest in world affairs never faded.

Ian was raised in an English-speaking, Protestant household in Howick, a small rural village south of Montreal. Ian’s father, Wilfred Watson, and his grandfather, were veterinarians.

Ian’s mother, Jean Beatrice Whillans, was a teacher. Her father was the Presbyterian minister at Georgetown Church in Howick for 45.5 years. The eldest of four boys (Mac, David, Donald), Ian grew up with farm chores to do, hunting, fishing, and revelling in the vibrant rural landscape of his youth.

The poverty he witnessed during the Great Depression and the horrors of WWII shaped Ian’s perspective, and sparked his avid interest in reading, history, and current events.

Ian was a graduate of Bishop’s University (B.A.-History) and McGill University

Law School.

Outside of his political life, Ian was a lover of nature, with a passion for foraging mushrooms, fiddleheads, and other wild edibles. An avid birder, gardener, and planter of Butternut trees, he also collected Canadiana Antique Furniture. He held a keen interest in preserving history, helping set up the Chateauguay Valley Historical Society in 1960.

He was predeceased by his wife, Monique Carle; his brother, Donald; sister-in-law, Martha; brother, David; sister-in-law, Margaret; and is survived by his brother, Mac; and wife, Rena. A proud father to Mark (Ellen), Chantal (Sean), Yannie (Art), Anik (Andre); and grandfather to Morgan, Erin, Kiefe, Sara, Sacha, Charlotte, Gaelle, Meghan, Yona, Tysen, and Bianca.

Special thanks to his caregivers and other professionals who supported him at home to the end of his life.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Parkinson research.

A Celebration of Life to be held the third week of August, 2023. Please contact for details.

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