Dan Heap, presente!


Dan Heap “on the march”.

They threw away the mold when Dan Heap left this earth on Friday. I do not expect to meet his likes again—as a politician or clergyman.


Imagine an Anglican priest picketing his own church for its failure to speak on the horrific genocide in the USA assault on Vietnam—over 2 million innocents killed. That was Dan in 1966. That was the first time i heard about Dan Heap.


Holy feces, Batman there are clergy like this?


Dan opened up new vistas on the gospel of peace and in my own city.


I first met him in the 70s when as a city councillor he was supporting Caesar Chavez. I called off basketball practice and took the team to City Hall for a rally on behalf of the California Grape pickers, I told him how much I appreciated his steadfast moral compass.


Then I learned that in the 60s as an Anglican priest he had. worked for 18 years in a paper box factory. He thought it a good way to show solidarity with workers and support the union movement.


Now we can’t even get Catholic priests or bishops to walk in the Labour day parade. But I digress.


Dan was intense, not a great speaker but his flame burned brightly for just causes—peace, immigration, poverty—he was always there working for the common good. people instinctively knew he was the real thing. Along the way he mentored people like Olivia Chow and the late Dan Leckie.


In 1982 in what was considered a safe Liberal seat Dan knocked off the Trudeau secretary Jim Coutts in the Spadina riding and spent 12 years in parliament.


Once i got him out of bed when the Feds tried to keep the valiant peacemaker Phil Berrigan out of Canada. One phone  call from Dan and Phil was let go.


After his years in Parliament he just kept on keeping on, always worshipping at Holy Trinity Anglican church next to our shrine to consumer excess, the Eaton Centre.


In 2006 Dan was going into the dark with Alzheimers and I happily attended his last eucharist as a clergyman.

One could never talk about Dan without mentioning in the same breath his amazing wife Alice who died in 2012.

They were a formidable justice couple.



How blessed to have such models in my own city.


1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Reblogged this on allanbaker and commented:
    A commentary on one of our true Christian leaders.

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