Rafe Mair

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Rafe Mair
Rafe mair 80th.jpg
Rafe Mair speaking at his 80th birthday roast. Photo by Gus Curtis, guscurtisphotography.com
Born (1931-12-31) December 31, 1931 (age 85)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Lawyer, political commentator, formerly radio personality and politician

Rafe Mair (born December 31, 1931), is a Canadian lawyer, political commentator and former radio personality and politician in British Columbia, Canada.

Mair was born in Vancouver and grew up in the neighbourhood of Kerrisdale. He became an avid fisherman and grew his interest in public affairs due to his mother's work at The Province newspaper.[1]

Mair entered the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1949 and went on to law in 1953. He practiced law in Vancouver until 1968, when he decided to make the move to Kamloops.

Political career[edit]

His political career began in 1975, when he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the British Columbia Social Credit Party representing the riding of Kamloops. He held that seat until retiring from politics in 1981; the seat was taken over by Claude Richmond. Mair served as a cabinet minister in the government of Premier Bill Bennett under a variety of portfolios including health and education. During the patriation of the Constitution of Canada, he was BC's chief delegate on constitutional matters.

Media personality[edit]

In 1981, he left government and has since served as a radio talk show host in Vancouver. In the early 1990s, he gained national notoriety and support alike for his role as an outspoken opponent of both the Meech Lake and Charlottetown constitutional accords.

Despite high ratings, his show was cancelled by CKNW in 2003, and he was subsequently hired at CKBD (600 AM), an oldies station, to start a morning talk show. This job ended in late 2005. In the Fall of 2005 he became a regular commentary guest on Omni Television's prime time current affairs program, The Standard (seen in Vancouver on CHNU-TV). Mair contributed three commentaries a week until January 2006 when the Commentary segment of the program was axed. However, he has continued his relationship with The Standard, guest-hosting the program from time to time. He remains active as a regular columnist for a chain of community newspapers, the online magazine The Tyee and often appears nationally as a political commentator for several outlets including CBC Radio.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled in Mair's favour in Rafe Mair v. Kari Simpson, his appeal against a provincial court decision that he had defamed social activist Kari Simpson in his editorial in 1999.[2]


Mair is an avid fisherman and he has become an outspoken critic of salmon farming in BC. This often puts him at odds with former political colleagues and makes him allies with former political enemies such as the New Democratic Party of British Columbia.

Although he has traditionally been considered a political conservative, Mair's views have always been moderate on certain issues, notably the environment and social welfare. Disillusioned with the three mainstream federal parties, he has lately become a significant supporter of the Green Party urging people to vote for them in recent federal and provincial elections. Though he shies away from endorsing entire parties, he still supports individual candidates, most recently including New Democrat candidate Svend Robinson in Vancouver Centre.[3]

For the British Columbia general election of 2009, Rafe Mair publicly stated that he voted NDP. Though he has written about a great many reasons why he thinks former BC Premier Gordon Campbell failed British Columbians, his biggest concern is that the BC Liberals are destroying the publicly owned utility, BC Hydro, and is giving British Columbia's water rights to international corporate interests.

Mair was the spokesperson for a group organized to fight private run-of-the-river hydroelectric developments named Save Our Rivers.[4]

Mair is a Type II diabetic and publicly announced his experiences with depression in 1995 while working as broadcaster.[5]

Mair authored several books on Canadian politics, including his memoirs and a regular columnist at the online newsmagazine The Tyee.[6]

Mair is currently a principal contributor to The Common Sense Canadian, a news and opinion site with a British Columbia focus.[7] He currently hosts a program called The Search with Rafe Mair on Joy TV.[8][9]

Selected works[edit]


  • 1977 - Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Anniversary Medal
  • 1993 - B.C. Association of Broadcasters "Broadcast Performer of the Year"
  • 1995 - Haig-Brown Award for Conservation work
  • 1995 - Received prestigious Michener Award from the Governor-General of Canada for courageous journalism, the first radio broadcaster to do so (nominated on two other occasions)
  • 1997 - BC Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association “Media Person Of the Year”
  • 1997 - National Canadian Mental Health Association Media Person of The Year (shared with Pamela Wallin)
  • 1998 - BC Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association "Media person of The Year"
  • 2003 - Bruce Hutchison Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Jack Webster Foundation
  • 2005 – Inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame
  • 2005 – Named by readers poll of Georgia Straight (78,000 responses) as best talk show host in Vancouver

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Raif Mair Profile". historyproject.law.ubc.ca. UBC Faculty of Law. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Smith, Charlie (June 28, 2008). "Rafe Mair wins landmark case in Supreme Court of Canada". Georgia Straight. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Endorsements page, Svend Robinson website
  4. ^ Save Our Rivers website
  5. ^ Mair, Rafe (October 11, 1995). "Depression no cause for shame". Vancouver Courier. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Rafe Mair page at The Tyee (listing of articles)
  7. ^ The Common Sense Canadian
  8. ^ Joy TV
  9. ^ Retrieved July 12, 2010. Veteran broadcaster Rafe Mair brings The Search to VisionTV

External links[edit]