David Kilgour
David Kilgour (cropped).jpg
Kilgour in 2008
Secretary of State (Asia Pacific)
In office
January 15, 2002 – December 12, 2003
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
MinisterBill Graham
Preceded byRey Pagtakhan
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)
In office
June 11, 1997 – January 14, 2002
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
MinisterLloyd Axworthy
John Manley
Preceded byChristine Stewart
Succeeded byDenis Paradis
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada
Chairman of Committees of the Whole
In office
January 18, 1994 – April 27, 1997
SpeakerGilbert Parent
Preceded byAndrée Champagne (1993)
Succeeded byPeter Milliken
Member of Parliament
for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
(Edmonton–Beaumont; 2004)
(Edmonton Southeast; 1988–2004)
(Edmonton—Strathcona; 1979–1988)
In office
May 22, 1979 – January 23, 2006
Preceded byDouglas Roche
Succeeded byMike Lake
Personal details
David William Kilgour

(1941-02-18)February 18, 1941
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedApril 5, 2022(2022-04-05) (aged 81)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyIndependent (2005–2006)
Other political
Progressive Conservative (1979–1990)
Liberal (1990–2005)
RelativesGeills Turner (sister)
Alma materUniversity of Manitoba
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • author

David William Kilgour PC (February 18, 1941 – April 5, 2022) was a Canadian human rights activist, author, lawyer, and politician. He was also a Senior Fellow to the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

Kilgour graduated from the University of Manitoba in economics in 1962 and the University of Toronto law school in 1966. From crown attorney in northern Alberta to Canadian Cabinet minister, Kilgour ended his 27-year tenure in the House of Commons of Canada as an Independent MP. Upon retirement, he was one of the longest serving members of parliament and one of few who had been elected under both the Progressive Conservative and Liberal banners.

Member of Parliament

Kilgour was originally elected as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1979. However, his first attempt at election, in the 1968 federal election in the riding of Vancouver Centre as a Progressive Conservative was unsuccessful. He ran again as a Tory in the 1979 election in Edmonton, and was a member of parliament for about 27 years. In April 1990, he was expelled from the Tory national caucus after criticizing the Mulroney government's policies.[1] He sat as an independent for several months before joining the Liberals.[citation needed]

In the Liberal government, he served as the Deputy Speaker (1993–1997) and Chairman of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons, Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (1997–2002), and Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) (2002–2003). In the Conservative governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council, the Minister for CIDA, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Minister of Transport.[2]

As a Secretary of State, Kilgour was continuously vocal on many human rights violations around the world.[citation needed] In 2001 while visiting Zimbabwe, Kilgour was vocally critical of Mugabe's farm-invasions policy and pushed for increasing international pressure.[3] In December 2004, he was among the Ukrainian election monitor delegation of the federal run-off elections.[citation needed]

In April 2005, he received media attention when he speculated about quitting the Liberal Party because of his disgust with the sponsorship scandal, saying that the issue made Canada look like "a northern banana republic". On April 12, 2005, he announced that he would sit as an independent MP. He also cited Canada's lack of action on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, as reasons for quitting. He asserted that he has no plans to move back to the Conservatives, and stated that he had no plans to run for re-election.[citation needed]

From 1979 to 1988, he represented the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, but with shifting constituency lines moved to the Edmonton Southeast in 1988, and then again to Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont in 2004 which he represented until he retired from politics at the 2006 election.[citation needed]

Because of the unusual structure of the 38th House of Commons, in May 2005, David Kilgour's lone vote had the power to bring down or support the government. He used this influence to urge the Martin government to send peacekeepers to Darfur. He was an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network. Then-Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed to send humanitarian support but in the end, no peacekeepers were sent.[4]

Electoral history

1968 Canadian federal election: Vancouver Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Ron Basford 25,426 56.10 +16.02
New Democratic William Deverell 11,151 24.60 +1.54
Progressive Conservative David W. Kilgour 8,326 18.37 -9.43
Republican Gerard Guejon[5] 420 0.93
Total valid votes 45,323 100.0  
Liberal hold Swing +7.24

Democracy activism

While being a lifelong practicing Christian, Kilgour has worked on issues such as inter-faith dialog, personal freedoms, and democratic government throughout his career.[6] In Parliament, he was active in prayer groups while at venues and publications across the country he has spoken specifically on religious themes and politics. Commonly, his topics have been on global religious and political persecutions.[7] He served as a fellow of the Queen's University Centre for the Study of Democracy; a director of the Washington-based Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD), and co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran, and has hosted an Iran pro-democracy rally attended by approximately 90,000 in France in 2009.[8]

His personal religious beliefs landed him in the news in 2003 when he abstained from the same-sex marriage bill and was reprimanded by then Prime Minister Chrétien.[9][non-primary source needed]

Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China

Main articles: Organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China and Persecution of Falun Gong § Organ harvesting

In 2006, allegations emerged that a large number of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed to supply China's organ transplant industry. With David Matas he released the Kilgour-Matas report,[10] which stated "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six-year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and "we believe that there have been and continue today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners".[10] In 2009, they published an updated version of the report as a book.[11] They traveled to about 50 countries to raise awareness of the situation.[12]

In 2012, State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China, edited by David Matas and Dr. Torsten Trey, was published with essays from six medical professionals,[13][14][15][16][17][18] Ethan Gutmann, David Matas and an essay co-written by Kilgour.[19][20][21][22] Ethan Gutmann interviewed over 100 witnesses and estimated that 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners were killed for their organs from 2000 to 2008.[23][24][25][26]

Personal life and death

Kilgour was married to Laura Scott, with whom he had five children.[6] He died on April 5, 2022, in Ottawa at the age of 81, from lung disease.[27]




Throughout his parliamentary career, Kilgour has been awarded a wide range of awards, including: the Kaputiman Award from the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations; the Special Award from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Alberta Provincial Council); an Outstanding Service Award from the Edmonton Sikh community; the Religious Liberty Award from the International Religious Liberty Association in Washington, D.C., Liberty Magazine and the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and as Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Soviet Jewry, he was recognized by B'nai Brith Canada for his effort and commitment to bringing the plight of the Soviet Jewry to the attention of Canadians.[28][non-primary source needed]

In May 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.(Hon)) degree from Knox College, University of Toronto.[29] Kilgour, a Presbyterian, was recognized for his commitment to human rights in Canada and abroad and particularly his challenge to the international community to respond to the plight of Darfur, as well as in Burma, and Zimbabwe. For their organ harvesting work, Matas and Kilgour won the 2009 Human Rights Award from the German-based International Society for Human Rights and were nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.[12]


He is the brother of Geills Turner, who is married to former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner. Kilgour and his sister are the great nephew and niece of John McCrae, the soldier and poet who wrote In Flanders Fields, and also the great nephew and niece of John Wentworth Russell, who painted the portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, which hangs in the House of Commons.[citation needed]


He appeared in Red Reign: The Bloody Harvest of China's Prisoners (2013),[30] Davids and Goliath (2014),[31] and was interviewed in Free China: The Courage to Believe. He is also briefly in the 2012 documentary film "Death by China."[non-primary source needed]

See also


  1. ^ Seeking Attention Macleans
  2. ^ "KILGOUR, The Hon. David, P.C., B.A., J.D. (LL.B.)". Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Meldrum, Andrew (October 28, 2001). "Mugabe hounds anti-racist". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ "CBC Kilgour or Darfour". July 12, 2005. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005.
  5. ^ Vancouver Sun, June 26, 1968, "Republicans Claim Win", p. 15
  6. ^ a b Petrou, Nick (April 7, 2022). "Principled MP David Kilgour split from the Conservatives then from the Liberals". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  7. ^ "Talks on Religion". david-kilgour.com.
  8. ^ "How Canada can help in Iran". July 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Kilgour on 'Traditional Marriage'". November 26, 2003.
  10. ^ a b David Kilgour, David Matas (July 6, 2006, revised January 31, 2007) An Independent Investigation into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China (free in 22 languages) organharvestinvestigation.net
  11. ^ David Kilgour, David Matas (2009) Bloody Harvest, The killing of Falun Gong for their organs Archived October 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine p. 232 seraphimeditions.com
  12. ^ a b Santin, Aldo (February 20, 2010). "Crusader up for Nobel Prize, Lawyer lauded for investigating abuses in China". Winnipeg Free Press.
  13. ^ G Danovitch articles, US National Library of Medicine
  14. ^ AL Caplan articles, US National Library of Medicine
  15. ^ J Lavee articles, US National Library of Medicine
  16. ^ G Ahmad articles, US National Library of Medicine
  17. ^ T Trey articles, US National Library of Medicine
  18. ^ M Fiatarone Singh articles, US National Library of Medicine
  19. ^ "State Organs: Introduction" Archived May 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine seraphimeditions.com
  20. ^ Rebeca Kuropatwa (September 19, 2012) "New Matas book reveals transplant abuse" Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Tribune
  21. ^ Mark Colvin (November 27, 2012) "Parliament to hear evidence of transplant abuse in China", Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  22. ^ David Matas, Dr. Torsten Trey (2012) State Organs, Transplant Abuse in China Archived February 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine seraphimeditions.com p. 144
  23. ^ Jay Nordlinger (August 25, 2014) "Face The Slaughter: The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, by Ethan Gutmann" Archived June 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, National Review
  24. ^ Viv Young (August 11, 2014) "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem" New York Journal of Books
  25. ^ Barbara Turnbull (October 21, 2014) "Q&A: Author and analyst Ethan Gutmann discusses China’s illegal organ trade" The Toronto Star
  26. ^ Ethan Gutmann (August 2014) The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem "Average number of Falun Gong in Laogai System at any given time" Low estimate 450,000, High estimate 1,000,000 p 320. "Best estimate of Falun Gong harvested 2000 to 2008" 65,000 p 322. amazon.com
  27. ^ Boisvert, Nick (April 6, 2022). "David Kilgour, longtime MP who quit 2 different parties for ideological reasons, dies at 81". CBC. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  28. ^ "David Kilgour's Biography". david-kilgour.com.
  29. ^ "David Kilgour passes away; Knox College expresses condolences". April 9, 2022.
  30. ^ "Red Reign trailer", (4 minutes) youtube, July 30, 2013,
  31. ^ "Davids and Goliath" (part 1 of 5), (14 minutes) youtube, November 28, 2014
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien Sub-Cabinet Posts (2) Predecessor Title Successor Rey Pagtakhan Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)(2002–2003) Christine Stewart Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)(1997–2002) Denis Paradis