Rafe Mair, former B.C. radio host and cabinet minister dead at 85

VANCOUVER — Former B.C. cabinet minister and well-known Vancouver radio broadcaster Rafe Mair has died at the age of 85.

A longtime colleague of Mair’s said that he’ll be remembered as a hard-hitting interviewer who was tough but fair.

Shiral Tobin, who produced his show on CKNW, said Mair’s doctor confirmed his death at around 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Tobin said Mair’s health had been declining for a number of years, but that he had continued to write articles and appear as a radio panellist until recently.

She said Mair fought for Indigenous rights, feminism, and the environment in his later years. He even gave up his pastime of fly-fishing over his growing concern for the welfare of animals.

Mair’s show on CKNW ran for almost two decades, and was known as one of the most popular radio programs in the province.

“He was one of the best broadcasters in B.C. history,” said Tobin. “He used his radio talk show as a bully pulpit on behalf of the people of British Columbia.”

Mair’s political career began in 1975, after years of practising law, when he served as a MLA for Kamloops as a member of the B.C. Social Credit Party.

He also served as a cabinet minister in a variety of positions during Premier Bill Bennett’s time in office.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm, who served as an MLA and cabinet minister in the legislature alongside Mair, said he was a strong and effective politician who no one could go up against without expecting a lively debate.

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