Remembering Ron Kelly
Knowing Ron Kelly was knowing what a good and caring person he was; how committed he was to social justice in that he talked and walked the commitment.
I first met Ron in the 1980s when we were both involved in NDP activities but it wasn’t long before I realized he was in the social justice movement in many other ways: union and general labour causes and other groups addressing social inequities. Ron was involved in the very first on-the-ground grass roots efforts to bring about proportional representation in PEI in the late 1980s. He continued to be involved in that group to this day. Affordable public transportation was another campaign where one would encounter Ron. Co-operatives: I believe he was one of the founding members of a co-op store in Charlottetown. In fact, Ron was a strong proponent of public ownership of many key services so you can bet he was on board for public health care and housing. Ron’s roots were in Summerside so it is a bittersweet irony that Ron has left us just as his hometown is in the midst of celebrating 100 years of municipal ownership of its electric utility.
A specific skill that our Ron had was his ability for detail and analysis, at times to the bafflement of the rest of us. It was Ron we turned to for advice on policy. It was Ron who was the constitutional expert for the NDP PEI and other organizations. If anyone could filter out “grey areas” it was Ron.
Ron contributed much to the discussion of legal personhood for people with disabilities. His participation in the PEI Supported Decision-Making Coalition and as a member of a supported decision-making circle was based on a firm belief in the right of every person to dignity and self-determination.
He was concerned about matters abroad too and was an active member of Trade Justice PEI recently appearing on Compass talking about the problem of corporate ownership of patents for COVID vaccines.
Yet throughout everything he was calm, respectful and could be relied on to still troubled waters. Not to go unnoticed was his great sense of humor, puns being one of his “specialties” ; that and his love of and musical gifts.
Good bye, dear friend, you will be sorely missed.
Forever in solidarity in memory of the social justice movement ,
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