E. Davie Fulton, a former federal cabinet minister and B.C. Supreme Court judge, has died in Vancouver at age 84.
Mr. Fulton was elected seven times to the House of Commons as a Conservative MP for Kamloops.
He was justice minister in the government of prime minister John Diefenbaker and also held the attorney-general, citizenship and immigration, and public works portfolios.
He then went on to serve as a justice on B.C's Supreme Court from 1973 to 1981 until leaving to resume practising law.
Mr. Fulton died Monday at University of British Columbia Hospital. His brother-in-law Alex McCrae said Mr. Fulton became ill after returning from the Conservative convention in Quebec City last week.
Mr. McCrae said doctors discovered some internal bleeding and a lung clot. Mr. Fulton seemed to improve in hospital, but then began to deteriorate.
Federal Tory Leader Joe Clark said Mr. Fulton's passing leaves him with sadness.
"He was blessed with the intelligence and talents to excel in any field," Mr. Clark said in a news release yesterday, adding, "Canada could have no better citizen."
Edmund Davie Fulton might have, and maybe even should have, been prime minister of Canada. Yet fortune and his own shortcomings conspired against him to take him first out of the political mainstream and then to jail.
On pedigree alone he could almost demand the office. Two of his ancestors had been British Columbia premiers and his father had been a provincial attorney-general. He was a Rhodes Scholar and served in the war as a major with the Seaforth Highlanders.
After the war, he won the Kamloops seat that had been Liberal for 10 years. He delivered part of his maiden speech in French, the first English-speaking Conservative MP to do so.
In his early years in Ottawa, Mr. Fulton had a reputation as a bit of a stuffed shirt, with a trace of an Oxford accent and Oxford mannersims. He wore high starched collars, played darts and polo and in his off-hours drank.
When the Liberals introduced closure in 1956 to push through the legislation necessary for the trans-Canada pipeline, Mr. Fulton was conspicuous for his attacks. The same year, he opposed Mr. Diefenbaker for the party leadership.
Mr. Diefenbaker never forgave him or Donald Fleming, the other candidate who had sought the leadership. Although Mr. Diefenbaker gave both of them cabinet posts, they were destined to forever sit outside the Chief's inner circle.
"Dief thought I was disloyal," Mr. Fulton said in a 1989 interview. "He told me one day that I was disloyal. He was a man who, if you didn't agree with him in everything, you were his enemy."
Despite this, Mr. Fulton initiated some far-reaching legislation as justice minister, including prison reform and steps to patriate the British North America Act, devising the Fulton-Favreau formula in collaboration with the later Liberal justice minister Guy Favreau. "We were within an ace of doing it before [Quebec premier]Jean Lesage opposed it," he said.
He was later demoted to minister of public works by Mr. Diefenbaker. "I knew I had no future in Ottawa as long as Diefenbaker was in power," he said in 1989.
Mr. Fulton went on to become leader of the B. C. Conservative Party, but failed to make inroads. He returned to federal politics in 1965, winning back his old seat, only to lose it in 1968. He returned to Vancouver to practise law and in 1973 was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
He had been a drinker since his days at Oxford, but the pressures of being a judge took a toll.
"I found . . . the pressures during the first two or three years surprisingly great because of my concern for the individual," he said.
In 1979, he was behind the wheel of his car after drinking and caused two minor accidents. He apologized to the Chief Justice and the police, was fined $500 and was allowed to remain on the bench.
He abstained for a year but then a prostitute's published memoirs suggested that he was one of her customers. He sued for libel and took a leave of absence from the bench.
As the trial neared, the prostitute publicly apologized for mistaking another man for Mr. Fulton. However, these headlines were overtaken when Mr. Fulton was charged with drunken driving.
He was forced to resign from the bench and was sentenced to 14 days in jail with a $700 fine.
Out of jail, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and credited it with keeping him dry.
"I have good health and still have a contribution to make," he said in 1989.
Mr. Fulton leaves his wife, Patricia; three daughters, Catherine, Patricia and Cynthia, and four grandchildren.