Good evening, everyone here.
I’m Eric Cline from Saskatoon. Donald Bobiash, currently Canada’s Ambassador to Indonesia, whose words and condolences I have brought on his behalf, and Huntley and I were close friends for the last forty-three years.
I have a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Not everyone can get into the U. of S. Law School. Don graduated from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Huntley earned a Ph.D. from MIT.
They did … “okay.”
Reading of Don Bobiash’s reflection
I have relayed Don’s words to you, and now my own. You will probably place a bit more faith in my words then those of Don Bobiash, because I am a lawyer, a former politician, and, now, a corporate executive … so, you know you can trust me.
Some people likely assume Huntley and I met through our long-time involvement in the New Democratic Party. In fact, we met before that, attending workshops for high-school newspaper editors when we were sixteen.
We hit it off from the “get-go.”
Some girls found Huntley attractive, with his tall lanky frame, in a sort of teenage John Kenneth Galbraith kind of way.
He was clearly very smart, and fun, and interesting. He knew lots of things. As Don said, he had an intense curiosity and a penetrating mind.
As a teen, he was already involved with human rights issues, and he introduced me to a lot of issues I’d never thought about, but which are important.
He was involved in the NDP, and he invited me to go to political meetings and conventions.
He was not a mainstream thinker, and he showed me that you don’t have to go along with “conventional wisdom.”
(I’ve been arguing with everybody ever since—thanks Huntley!)
He opened my eyes to a lot of things.
I spent sixteen years in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, including twelve years as a cabinet minister. I’ll never know whether I would have made the same choices if I’d never got to know Huntley. I didn’t come from one of the many NDP families in Saskatchewan.
Huntley was always very culturally aware, and would introduce you to, for example, Afghani food before the days when any of us knew where Afghanistan was.
So, he showed me a lot.
(I don’t want you to think it was all one-sided. I influenced his life as well, by demonstrating the benefits of tobacco, alcohol, and all-night partying.)
He treated everyone with respect, regardless of their station in life.
And, in addition to being a serious thinker, he liked to have fun. He had a tremendous zest for life, a passion for food, sports, friends, travel: all the good things in life.
He had an infectious laugh.
He was also the least self-conscious person I ever met. He would do what moved him, oblivious to anyone watching, or staring.
In his early twenties, Huntley had two outfits he wore to dances and social gatherings. One was a matching pants and shirt, both the same solid “Day-Glo orange” in colour. The other was also a matching pants and shirt, and was a solid bright canary yellow.
All polyester, of course!
What was he thinking?
His tall frame, so adorned, attracted attention as he gyrated across the dance floor in what I will only describe as his own inimitable style.
As Don Bobiash said, he “lived life to the fullest.”
As I thought of this, the words of a great country and western song came into my mind. We are from the West, after all. These words are abridged from the first verse of “I Hope You Dance,” written by Mark Sanders and Tia Siller and made popular by singing artist Lee-Ann Womack:
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You may get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger …
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out, or dance,
I hope you dance.