Philippe Gigantès

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The Hon.

Philippe Gigantès
Senator from De Lorimier, Quebec
In office
Appointed byPierre Trudeau
Preceded byRaymond Eudes
Succeeded byJoan Fraser
Associate Minister of Culture (Greece)
In office
Appointed byConstantine II of Greece
Preceded byTBD
Succeeded bypost abolished by Greek military junta of 1967–1974
Personal details
Philippe Deane Gigantès

(1923-08-16)August 16, 1923
Salonica, Greece
DiedDecember 9, 2004(2004-12-09) (aged 81)
Montreal, Quebec
NationalityGreek 1923-1965 Canadian 1970-2004
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Sylvie Bedard Gigantès
ChildrenEleni, Claire and Eve Marie
ResidenceMontreal, Quebec
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Professionjournalist, author

Philippe Deane Gigantès (August 16, 1923 – December 9, 2004) was a veteran of the Second World War, journalist, war correspondent, POW of the Korean War, author, television commentator, Greek minister of culture, and Canadian senator.

War and journalism[edit]

Gigantès served in the British Royal Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he became a journalist, working for the London Observer, in Greece, North Africa, and South Asia, from 1946 to 1961.

Whilst covering the Korean War he was taken prisoner, and spent 33 months in a North Korean prison camp. During this time he was interned with George Blake.[1] After his release he wrote the book I was a Captive in Korea and returned to his career in journalism. He became the Washington correspondent for the London Observer and The Globe and Mail.[2]

From the 1965 to 1970s was a journalist, who left Greece for Canada via US and then landed in Canada in 1965.[3] During the 1970s he was speech writer and top aide to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.[4]

Greek Minister of Culture[edit]

After his career in journalism he worked as a United Nations official and then as Secretary-General to King Constantine II of Greece. In 1964 he was appointed to the post of associate Greek Minister of Culture and left before the 1967 coup. He later resumed his career in the media as a television commentator[2] from 1965 to 1970s.

Academic career and Canadian civil servant[edit]

From 1965 to 1968 completed his Bachelor of Arts, Master and PhD at the University of Toronto.[5]

After his graduation he served as Dean of Arts at Bishop's University and Dean of Arts and Science at University of Lethbridge.[5]

In the 1970s he served with the Official Languages Commission and the Treasury Board.[5]

Canadian Senator[edit]

In 1980 he ran for MP in the Canadian riding of Broadview-Greenwood, but was defeated by Bob Rae. In 1984 while working as an editorialist at the Montreal Gazette he was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Pierre Trudeau, for whom he had worked between 1978 and 1980 as a researcher then head of the Liberal Caucus Research Office. He served in the Senate until his 75th birthday in 1998.

While in the Senate he served on many committees but was particularly proud of his work as chair of an adhoc committee on the future of work. His report of this work was published by Parliament under the title Only Work Works and in French under the title "Il n'y a que le Travail qui Vaille.

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 1980: Broadview—Greenwood
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Bob Rae 12,953 40.37
Liberal Philippe Gigantès 10,601 33.04
Progressive Conservative Michael Clarke 7,677 23.92
Libertarian Walter Belej 352 1.10
Rhinoceros Vicki Butterfield 196 0.61
Communist Ed McDonald 164 0.51
National Don Hayward 53 0.17
Marxist–Leninist Dorothy-Jean O'Donnell 53 0.17
Independent Milorad Novich 40 0.12
Total valid votes 32,089 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 270
Turnout 32,359 70.04
Electors on the lists 46,204


He was the author of 15 books including I Should Have Died,[2] Is the Free Trade Deal Really for You? (1988) and Power and Greed: A Short History of the World (2002).

In his book Nice Work: The Continuing Scandal of Canada's Senate, journalist and author Claire Hoy wrote that Gigantes, during a filibuster in the Senate, read one of his books into the record; another senator suggested that he did this to get the work translated into French by parliamentary staff responsible for Hansard.


Gigantès died on December 9, 2004 of prostate cancer in Montreal. He left behind his wife Sylvie, three daughters Eleni, Claire and Eve Marie, two grandsons and a granddaughter. His ashes were scattered in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea near Kefalonia, Greece.[4]


  1. ^ Roger Hermiston (2013) The Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake, Aurum Press, London, ISBN 978-1-78131-046-5
  2. ^ a b c Deane Philip, I Should Have Died, published by Atheneum, New York (1977), biography on the inside cover
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Former Liberal senator Philippe Gigantes dies". CBC News. December 9, 2004. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  5. ^ a b c,1321631

External links[edit]