It is with profound sadness, that we announce the passing of Laurie Gourlay, at his home on Thistledown Farm in Cedar on November 14, 2017. Laurie leaves behind Jackie, his one true love of 43 years, his six collies, family and friends.
Laurie was born in Hamilton, Scotland on October 20, 1953 and arrived in Canada during ‘Hurricane Hazel’ the following year.
Laurie received his Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, where he first met his wife. His achievements in life were many:
* As a world traveler, he had the good fortune to meet and interview many outstanding and influential leaders of the environmental, labour and social justice movements including: Petra Kelly, Maude Barlow, Mother Theresa, national and international political leaders.
* He was a lifelong defender of the environment and a community activist, initiating such groups as: The Thames Regional Ecological Association, London, Ontario, MISSI (Mid Island Sustainability and Stewardship Initiative), VICCS (Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society) and The Salish Sea Trust.
* Laurie was past President of SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) and the Nanaimo Chapter of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. He was a founding member of The Green Party of Canada.
* He worked as a legislative Assistant for several Members of Parliament in Ottawa and a constituency assistant for MLA Doug Routley, here on the island. He was an effective campaign manager in many Federal and Provincial elections.
* Laurie was an articulate speaker and was asked to share his ideas in forums, workshops and panels. He is referenced in the book ‘Our Common Future’, the World Commission on Environment and Development. He began a successful initiative to encourage cities and municipalities across BC to proclaim December 11th as a ‘Day For Our Common Future’.
* Other projects included the 30-year Turning 2000 Project, a proposal to extend the National Marine Conservation Area boundary to encompass Gabriola Island and the Nanaimo River estuary, a Buy Local-Buy Island campaign, Vancouver Island Flag Campaign, consideration for Vancouver Island to become the 11th province of Canada, as well as several submissions (starting in 1986) to have ‘natural boundaries’ and environmental considerations incorporated into electoral boundary revisions – before the federal Boundaries Commissions.
By far his most compelling endeavour was his application to have the Salish Sea recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He garnered more than 15,000 signatures for the initial campaign and was able to secure the full support of MP Rachel Blaney to sponsor the House of Commons Salish Sea World Heritage Site Petition E-1269.
He was an eloquent writer, penning entreaties and articles in many publications and newspapers like the Ladysmith Chronicle, Victoria Times-Colonist, Globe and Mail, the Nanaimo Free Press and a monthly column for the TAKE 5 Magazine.
Laurie was an energetic, dedicated, kind man and a ‘brother’ to many. As one mourner said ” The greatest sadness is that the World has been left with one less warrior for its well being, its future, its survival.”
In lieu of donations the family asks that you show your support by signing the House of Commons Petition E-1269.
The link can be found at: http://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1269