Royce Frith

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The Honourable
Royce Frith
Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
In office
Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Preceded by Fredrik Stefan Eaton
Succeeded by Roy MacLaren
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
In office
September 30, 1991 – September 1, 1993
Preceded by Allan MacEachen
Succeeded by John Lynch-Staunton
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
In office
November 1984 – September 1991
Preceded by Dufferin Roblin
Succeeded by Gildas Molgat
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate of Canada
In office
April 1980 – September 1984
Preceded by Dufferin Roblin
Succeeded by C. William Doody
Canadian Senator for Glen Tay, Ontario
In office
April 5, 1977 – August 29, 1994
Appointed by Pierre Trudeau
Personal details
Born (1923-11-12)November 12, 1923
Lachine, Quebec
Died March 17, 2005(2005-03-17) (aged 81)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political party Liberal
Alma mater University of Toronto
York University
University of Ottawa
Occupation Lawyer, diplomat

Royce Herbert Frith, CM QC (November 12, 1923 – March 17, 2005) was a Canadian diplomat, public servant and politician.[1]

He received a BA from the University of Toronto, an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Dipl. d’études supérieures (droit) from the University of Ottawa. He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1949. An amateur actor and performer, Frith found time to act in plays, perform on the radio, and sing and play several instruments.

Frith first came to prominence as a member of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in the 1960s. He served as a legal advsisor to the Commissioner of Official Languages from 1971 until 1977 when he was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Pierre Trudeau. He sat in the Upper House as a Liberal and served in various positions including Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian Senate and led the Liberals' filibuster against the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax forcing Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to use an obscure section of the Constitution to appoint extra Senators and ensure passage of the measure.

Frith left the Upper House in 1994 to become Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Frith had a very high profile and used his flair for public performance to his advantage, particularly during Canada's Turbot War with Spain in which he played a crucial role in rallying British public opinion behind Canada. Frith also ensured the retention of Canada House in Trafalgar Square as the site of the Canadian high commission when the government had considered abandoning the location in order to save money. Frith returned to Canada in 1996 and resumed his law practice.

In his last years, Firth was a lawyer with the firm Ladner Downs in Vancouver and went into the office daily until just a few weeks prior to his death. He served on various boards including the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Frith has also served on the governing bodies of the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and the Vancouver Symphony. In 2000 he was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.


  • Frith, Royce (1991). Hoods on the Hill: How Mulroney and His Gang Rammed the GST Past Parliament and Down Our Throats. Toronto, ON: Coach House Press. ISBN 9780889104303. OCLC 796996447. 
  • —; Kuchar, Len (1993). The show must not go on. Montreal, QC: Robert Davies Publishing. ISBN 9781895854213. OCLC 30484876. 


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Allan MacEachen
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
John Lynch-Staunton
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Fredrik Stefan Eaton
Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Roy MacLaren