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OC OM QC PhD (hc) LLD (hc) LLM BA
|Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party|
|Preceded by||Robert Bend|
|Succeeded by||Charles Huband|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Wolseley|
|Preceded by||Leonard Claydon|
|Succeeded by||Robert Wilson|
|Born||Israel Harold Asper
August 11, 1932
|Died||October 7, 2003
|Spouse(s)||Barbara "Babs" Asper|
|Children||David, Gail, and Leonard|
|Alma mater||University of Manitoba|
|Occupation||Lawyer, politician, media owner|
Israel Harold "Izzy" Asper, OC OM QC (August 11, 1932 – October 7, 2003), Canadian tax lawyer and media magnate, was the founder of the now defunct CanWest Global Communications Corp and father to its former CEO and President Leonard Asper, former director and corporate secretary Gail Asper, as well as Executive Vice President David Asper. He was also the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party from 1970 to 1975.
Life and career
Israel Asper was born to a Jewish family in Minnedosa, Manitoba, the son of musicians who had emigrated from the Ukraine. Asper attended the University of Manitoba. In 1957 he received his law degree from the University of Manitoba, and was called to the bar shortly thereafter. He founded the firm of Asper, Freedman & Co. in 1959. In 1970 he wrote The Benson Iceberg: A critical analysis of the White Paper on Tax Reform in Canada.
Also in 1970, Asper was elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party (defeating university professor John Nesbitt). Asper represented a right-libertarian strain within the party. In the Manitoba election of 1973, he promoted a laissez-faire economy, and advocated the elimination of the welfare state. He also advocated the public financing of election campaigns, to ensure that politics would not be dominated entirely by monied interests. His Liberals won only five seats, and Asper was elected in Wolseley by only four votes. He resigned as party leader and MLA in 1975, though he continued to support the Manitoba Liberal Party in later years.
His media empire started with the Winnipeg television station CKND-TV in 1975. CanWest grew to encompass the Global Television Network, the daily newspaper National Post and over 60 other Canadian newspapers.
Asper was noted for his fierce loyalty to Manitoba, refusing enticements to move east to Toronto. The faculty of management at the University of Manitoba renamed itself the Asper School of Business in 2000. He was also a noted philanthropist, making major donations to the arts and education; in 2001 he donated $5 million CAD to the St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation in Winnipeg. Asper became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.
- Peter C. Newman (2008). Izzy: The Passionate Life and Turbulent Times of Izzy Asper, Canada's Media Mogul. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55468-089-4.