TORONTO — Eugene Whelan, a folksy farmer in a green Stetson who spent a dozen years as Canada’s flamboyant minister of agriculture, has died at the age of 88.
Kirk Walstedt, a longtime friend and former colleague, told The Canadian Press Whelan died Tuesday night from complications from a stroke.
Whelan had emergency surgery in February 1997 to replace part of his aorta and repair his heart valve, but Walstedt said his friend of about 60 years had ‘‘recovered quite nicely from that.‘‘
Whelan served as the Liberal MP for Essex-Windsor in southwestern Ontario from 1962 until 1984. He served as agriculture minister under then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from 1972 through 1984, except for nine months in 1979-80 when the Conservatives took office.