Eugene Alfred Forsey
The Hon. Eugene Alfred Forsey (1904 - 1991)
O.C., P.C., M.A. Ph.D., D.C.L., LL.D., D.LITT., F.R.S.C.
Second Chancellor (1973 to 1977)
The late Eugene Forsey was regarded as one of the foremost experts on the Canadian constitution and was a member of the Canadian Senate from 1970 to 1979. He was named to the Privy Council in 1985. Senator Forsey was born in 1904 in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and was educated at McGill University and Oxford University where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was an astute political scientist, author and “peerless writer of letters to the editor”.
Although he was involved at various times with all of the major political parties, Eugene Forsey is best remembered as an outspoken federalist. In the 1930s, he drafted the Regina Manifesto, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)'s founding declaration of policy, and ran for public office four times for the CCF. He served as a lecturer in economics and political science from 1929-1941 at McGill, and held the post of director of research for the Canadian Labour Congress from 1942 to 1966.
From 1966 to 1969, Senator Forsey directed a special centennial project, A History of Canadian Unions, 1812-1902, and served on a committee that founded Labour/Le Travail. He taught Canadian government and Canadian labour history at Carleton University and the University of Waterloo. He was the author of several books including: Economic and Social Aspects of the Nova Scotia Coal Industry (1926); The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth (1943); Freedom and Order (1974); The Canadian Labour Movement 1812-1902 (booklet 1975); How Canadians Govern Themselves (booklet 1979); Trade Unions in Canada 1812-1902 (1982), and co-author of Social Planning for Canada (1935), and Towards the Christian Revolution (1936).
Senator Forsey was a member of the Board of Broadcast Governors, President of the Canadian Political Science Association and a recipient of honorary degrees from 14 Canadian universities, including from Trent. He was appointed as a member of Trent University’s first Board of Governors in 1966, and served as an honorary Board member until his death in 1991 at age 86. His lively presence and commitment to ideals made him a much-loved member of the Trent community.