GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Ted McWhinney at Nanaimo as Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and, below, accepting the Aristotle Medal from the Greek Government.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Ted McWhinney at Nanaimo as Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and, below, accepting the Aristotle Medal from the Greek Government. Contributed

OBITUARY: Lismore-born Ted McWhinney’s life of distinction

HE was born in Lismore but went on to excel on the international political and academic stage.

Edward McWhinney, an eminent Canadian whose father Matthew and sister Evelyn taught at Lismore High, has died aged 91.

Born on May 19, 1924, Mr McWhinney was the young-est son of Matthew and Evelyn McWhinney, a distinguished family noted for academic and professional achievement in the classics, education and law.

He has been remembered by his Ballina-based sister as a person of stellar achievement and quality who valued his family.

During the Second World War, and though too young to vote, Ted, as he was known, became secretary to then NSW Premier Bill (later Sir William) McKell.

He enrolled in international and constitutional law at the University of Sydney and, in 1944, obtained permission to go to Canada for air force training.

At the end of the war he was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to attend Yale and, in 1950, was called to the New South Wales Bar.

In 1951, Ted married Emily Sabatzky, who was an economist and financial adviser with her own distinguished and pioneering career. They both became Canadian citizens, settling in Vancouver.

In the same year, Ted was appointed visiting lecturer in Law and Political Science at Yale, the first of many such achievements.

He held full Chairs at the University of Toronto's Law School and the Centre for Russian Studies at McGill University (where he was also Director of the Air-Law Institute), Indiana University (where he was Director of International and Comparative Law) and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

He taught at the University of Paris in Sorbonne, was a visiting professor at uni-versities in Heidelberg and Tokyo, and lectured throughout Europe and in Communist countries.

He was fluent in a number of languages including French, German and Russian.

Ted was also a special adviser of the Canadian delegation to the UN General Assembly for three years, a Crown Prosecutor, Royal Commissioner of Enquiry, Consultant to the Secretary-General of the UN, Constitutional and International Law Adviser to several Quebec Premiers, to the Premier of Ontario, to the Federal Government of Canada and to a number of foreign governments. He was a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague from 1985 to 1991.

At retirement age, he stood for Parliament and was elected as a Member for Vancouver Quadra in 1993.

Ted served two terms and held the roles of Parliamentary Secretary (Fisheries) and Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs).

The Lismore lad also wrote 30 books (two in French and one in German) and contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

One of the most colourful medals he was awarded was the Aristotle Medal from the Greek Government with the citation "for his contribution to the progress of science, free thought and intellectual development - values inextricably linked with Greek civilization throughout the years".

Emily McWhinney diedin 2011 just short of the couple's 60th wedding anniversary but Ted continued to pursue his academic and intellectual interests until he passed away after a brief illness.

He is survived by his elder sister Evelyn (Bunty) Stephan and his nephews Noel, Peter, Michael and Roger. Ted's brother Joseph was killed in a bombing raid over Germany in 1944.

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