Born in Vancouver on December 31, 1931, former CKNW talk show radio host, Social Credit cabinet minister and lawyer Rafe Mair died on October 9, 2017, at age 85, just before he was able to see a copy of his eleventh book, Politically Incorrect: How Canada Lost Its Way and the Simple Path Home (Comox: Watershed Sentinel Books 2017)

Mair, of North Vancouver, grew up in Kerrisdale, attended UBC and practiced law in the 1960s before making his name as a broadcaster and journalist. He practiced law for 15 years in Vancouver and Kamloops before entering politics for five years with the provincial government of Bill Bennnett. Since he began writing at age fifty, he won the Michener Canadian Media Award, the Hutchison Award for Lifetime Contribution to BC Journalism and was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame.

Around 2015 he stopped contributing to the online publication The Tyee after a ten-year stint and started writing for the Vancouver Observer on-line instead. He became active in civic politics since he moved to Lions Bay, located between West Vancouver and Squamish.

In 2015, he wrote I Remember Horse Buns, largely about growing up in and around Vancouver, "the best place in the world." It describes his youthful adventures around Howe Sound and Indian Arm, as well as Stanley Park and other coastal environs. "I deal a lot with what it was like to be a kid back during World War II," he wrote on his blog, "the standards we were expected to meet and what happened to us when we didn't meet them. The comic books we read, the slogans we heard, the radio shows, are all part of it. I also talk about some of the things that occurred on the national and international scene when I was a kid such as the now conveniently forgotten Gouzenko case in Ottawa which actually started the Cold War."

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Rafe: A Memoir
Still Ranting: More Rants, Raves and Recollections & Rafe: A memoir
Radio Daze: 25 Years of Winning Awards and Getting Fired in Canadian Radio


Politically Incorrect: How Canada Lost Its Way and the Simple Path Home (Comox: Watershed Sentinel Books 2017). Foreword by Mark Hume $26 978-0-9953286-2-4
I Remember Horse Buns (Promontory Press 2015) 978-1-987857-25-2 $14.95.
Radio Daze (Promontory Press)
What the Bleep is Going on Here? (Harbour, 2008)
Over the Mountains: More Thoughts on Things that Matter (Harbour, 2006)
Hard Talk (Harbour, 2005)
Rafe: A Memoir (Harbour, 2004)
Canada: Is Anyone Listening? (Key Porter, 1998)
More Rants, Raves and Recollections (Whitecap)
Rants, Raves and Recollections (Whitecap)
The Last Cast (Hancock 1995)

[BCBW 2017] "Journalism" "Fishing"


In what turned out to be the last year of his life, Rafe Mair was working on Politically Incorrect: How Canada Lost Its Way and The Simple Path Home. The book, which argues Canadian democracy is no longer working and offers a solution, has been published by Watershed Sentinel Books.

Sadly, Mair passed away on Thanksgiving Day while the book was at the printers. His wife Wendy Conway-Mair recalls his last months spent working on the book: "As Rafe lamented this past summer, 'this is my last kick at the can!' so with blood, sweat and tears he wrote, researched and edited, to leave this legacy for future generations. Strong-minded to the end, he wrote with passion about our failed Canadian democracy and his solutions for change, the loss of freedom in journalism, and the tragic demise of our environment, including the role of the powerful fossil fuel industry. I think he hoped that with the completion of this book he could rest somewhat in peace.";

As a politician, broadcaster, advocate and speaker of truth to power, Rafe Mair spent a lifetime fighting for British Columbia and was crucial to the public conversation in BC. Politically Incorrect is the last oeuvre from a passionately opinionated man who was continually learning and refining his viewpoint. It is part memoir, part history, part constitutional analysis and part pure Rafe - on federation, BC's role, the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, how Canada's "responsible government"; undermines democracy, and what to do about it - or, the "Mair Solution.";

In his foreword to Politically Incorrect, Mark Hume states, "Mair argues that by failing to come to grips with the underlying structural issues that still exist in Canada, the future of the nation is at stake.... 'If you believe, as the Pollyannas do, that all's well in this happy kingdom, you're reading the wrong book,' Mair says. He is hoping that Canadians still have a stomach for a debate on the way the country is governed ... If you are wondering how that might be done, Mair has got an earful for you. He always did have. All you have to do is tune in and turn up the volume, as Mair takes on a sacred topic nobody else seems to want to talk about. He is an older lion now than when he was a broadcasting giant, but the roar hasn't left him.";