Duncan Fischer: The County loses a tireless fighter
With sadness, we report the death on January 25 of County resident Duncan Fischer, following an illness of several months. Duncan was one of the leaders in the anti-wind turbine movement in the County. We extend sincere condolences to his wife Bernadette and other family members. There will be no funeral. A memorial is being planned, to held in Calgary, where Duncan and Bernadette have family.
From Garth Manning, a Director of CCSAGE: “In the absence of our Chair, permit me on behalf of all of us at CCSAGE to express our shock at the unexpected news of Duncan’s death. We have lost a principled man of great integrity and many accomplishments, along with outstanding common sense and a wonderful sense of humour. We were privileged to know him.”
Here is the Duncan Fischer story, as told by The Times in its January 28 edition:
“I have a love of South Marysburgh that has gotten deeper and richer over the past 40 years,” said Duncan Fischer. He made the comment in the context of a run for seat on County council. Yet he had a long and deeply profound connection to his community that propelled him to work and use his considerable skills to protect and preserve the County.
Duncan passed away on Sunday.
He wasn’t born here but the County is where he came to unwind. In 1968 he met a County girl, Bernadette Johnson in Inuvik in Canada’s Arctic. She was a registered nurse, he a young airline staffer. A year later they were married in Picton.
The couple settled in Alberta where Duncan rose in the ranks of the airline. In time he was named president of Canadian Regional Airlines guiding a company with annual revenue of about $400 million, operating about 50 aircraft and 2,500 employees. As head of Canadian Regional, Fischer oversaw the day-to-day operations of the airline which acted primarily as a feeder service to the hubs served by Canadian Airlines International.
Duncan and Bernadette raised four children.
The Fischer’s visited and vacationed in the County often. Then, in 1990, with an eye on retirement, Duncan and Bernadette built a cottage on South Bay. Six years later he resigned and the Fischers settled full-time to the County.
He wasn’t the kind of person inclined to take things easy in retirement. He immersed himself in the community—organizing, recruiting and managing an array of initiatives including battling industrial wind energy developers and what he saw as poor financial administration at Shire Hall.
He was an energetic and determined foe of industrial wind energy developers. He viewed the prospect of 400 foot high industrial structures as intrusive to his rural community. He worried too about the mounting evidence of the impact of these machines on the health of those living nearby. He saw them as a threat to the South Marysburgh economy.
“I believe their shouldn’t be any turbines in South Marysburgh until population health studies are completed,” said Fischer in 2010, “Municipal decision making taken away by the Green Energy Act must be restored in Prince Edward County so that we can have a say as to what happens in our neighbourhood.”
He was among the founders of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) and later the County Coalition to Protect Prince Edward County (CCSAGE).
He was equally concerned by the inefficiency and mismanagement he perceived in local government. He hoped to apply some of the principles he had learned in running a multi-million dollar business to the governance of the municipality. He worked closely with the advocacy group Concerned Citizens of Prince Edward County.
In 2010 he ran for a seat on council finishing second behind Barb Proctor.
“We need go back to some simple business practices and principles—more performance and productivity measurements for each department and then implement some best practices from other municipalities.”
Duncan Fischer worked to preserve South Marysburgh because he believed in his heart it is a special place.