Simon Reisman

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Simon Reisman
Born(1919-06-19)June 19, 1919
DiedMarch 9, 2008(2008-03-09) (aged 88)
Alma materMcGill University
Occupationfederal civil servant
Known forNegotiator for the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement

Sol Simon Reisman, OC (June 19, 1919 – March 9, 2008[1]) was a Canadian civil servant, and the country's chief negotiator for the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Kolman and Manya Reisman, Reisman graduated from Baron Byng High School[1] before receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science in 1941 and a Master of Arts degree in 1942 from McGill University.[2] He was a veteran of the Second World War, having served in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany with the Royal Canadian Artillery.[3] After the war, he studied at the London School of Economics.[3]

In 1946, he entered public service joining the Department of Labour. Reisman was a member of Canada's delegation to the inaugural session of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the late 1940s.[3] He made major contributions toward the drafting of the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact.[4] Reisman rose to senior positions in the public service, including deputy minister in the Department of Finance and the Department of Industry before retiring in 1975.[3] Following the election of Brian Mulroney, Reisman sent the new prime minister a memo advocating free trade negotiations with the United States.[3] Mulroney accepted Reisman's plan and, in 1985, tapped him to lead Canada's trade negotiations with the United States.[3]

Reisman was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978[5] and received the Outstanding Public Service Award in 1974.[3]

He was married to Constance Carin for 65 years. They had three children,[1] Joe, Anna, and Harriet, and nine grandchildren.[1] He is uncle to Heather Reisman of Indigo Books of Toronto.

He died at Ottawa, Ontario on March 9, 2008, at the age of 88.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Death notice". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04.
  2. ^ "Canadian Who's Who". University of Toronto Press.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Greenway, Norma (2008-03-10). "Tough-talking former trade negotiator Simon Reisman dies". CanWest News Service. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  4. ^ Simon Reisman Obituary
  5. ^ "Order of Canada citation".[permanent dead link]