When Dad Met Svend Robinson...

The last sketch I did of my Dad, from a photograph...

Once when I was visiting my Dad in his care home, back in 1987 or 1988, he told me that some local politician had been by for a visit. Dad had never been particularly political, and didn't like or trust politicians very much.

I asked him what had happened. He told me that it was Svend Robinson who had come to visit.

"Did you talk to him?" I asked.

"Sure. He was talking to everyone. He came over to me and introduced himself. 'Hello. I'm Svend Robinson' he said. So I looked at him and said 'You're that queer fella, aren't ya?'"

Dad was smirking, proud of his little jab at Canada's first openly-gay politician.

I put my hand to my forehead in disbelief. "Jeez Dad! You didn't say that to him did you? What did he say?"

"He said he preferred to be called gay."


"We talked for a few minutes. He seemed like a good guy."

Dad looked off into the distance for a moment, thinking about the encounter with Svend Robinson, and I watched his smirk fade away, as his face became serious.

"You know," Dad said slowly, "he was the only one who came to see us." Dad meant that Svend had been the only politician who had taken the time to stop by and visit the residents at Carlton Lodge.

"Maybe I'll write him a postcard and say thanks."