MLA, Saint Croix
Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs
Our friend Greg passed away on September 10, 2019.
Greg Thompson was raised on a dairy farm outside St. Stephen; Guernseys providing the milk. Greg, his parents, older brother and two younger sisters lived in one side of the homestead and his grandparents lived in the other. Greg remembers his Grandmother being a great listener. He says with a smile- "Well, she listened to me."
Boyhood pastimes included pond hockey in the winter, ball in the summer along with hunting and fishing. Dennis Stream was nearby with plentiful trout, alewives and salmon.
"Go and catch some fish for supper," was a familiar instruction for Greg and his siblings.
After graduating from school and spending five years in the pulp and paper industry, Greg went to St. Thomas University, earned his degree and taught school for four years.
Greg also enjoyed his years in automobile sales in St. Stephen with well-known and respected local car dealer Ralph Moffitt.
"Ralph told me to be ready for a crisis every 15 minutes," Greg recounts. "He made sure I got used to pressure and believe me, it was good preparation for dealing with political issues."
Greg has served the community through membership on several boards and commissions, among those are Lincourt Manor and the Charlotte County Hospital and provincially on the alcohol and drug dependency commission at the invitation of Dr. Everett Chalmers.
When asked to highlight some public servants who have earned his admiration, Greg Thompson points to Leland McGaw. "Leland is a straight-shooter who truly wanted to help people as their MLA."
He also singles out former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, saying: "He was exceedingly kind to me, especially during my bout with non-hodgkins lymphoma."
Greg says there have always been pets in his life and for the last 50 years or so he and his wife Linda have always had a dog around. The current king of the castle is Sophie, a west highland terrier who barks with a Scottish accent.
Over the 2019 New Year holiday, Linda made the Thompsons the adoptive family of a black cat that crossed their paths.
Greg says the cat had been around for months living outside while Linda worried over it. However, on Jan. 8, Linda offered the cat a can of Connors Brothers sardines whereupon the cat came in and has remained ever since. In telling the story, Greg mentions his own Connors Brothers favourite, namely 'Boneless Herring Fillet Seafood Snacks in Lemon and Cracked Pepper'.
When it comes to gardening, Greg admits his rural upbringing has not resulted in a green thumb. "The plants don't respond to me. I can plant the seeds, but when they grow the plants prefer Linda even though she was an urbanite."
Greg reflects with pride and fondness, his time as MP for Southwestern NB. While a member of opposition he was elected the Chairman of the Canada-United States Inter Parliamentary Group, a position usually held by a member of government.
"I put my name in and I won. My name along with Charlie Hubbard, Paul Zed and a person or two from the NDP were on the ballot. It was a great honour to be chosen to represent my peers on all sides."
When he is asked about his appreciation for art, Greg expresses a fondness for the wartime artists like Molly and Bruno Bobak and Alex Colville.
Greg relates the story of an event honouring wartime artists while he was Minister of Veterans Affairs.
"Bruno and Molly Bobak were staying in the Chateau Laurier and he sketched the parliament buildings from his hotel window. He then presented me with the sketch, which I treasure. We have it framed and on display at home."
The Thompsons have two sons, Greg Jr. and Christian.
Greg says after having travelled extensively for work, he and Linda are not big travellers now, with their main destination for any travel being Alaska where their youngest son lives.