Former Liberal cabinet minister Joe Comuzzi dead at 88

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Former longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister Joe Comuzzi died at the age of 88 on Dec. 31, his family confirmed to CBC News on Sunday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Former longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister Joe Comuzzi died at the age of 88 on Dec. 31, his family confirmed to CBC News on Sunday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Former longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister Joe Comuzzi has died at the age of 88, his family confirmed to CBC News on Sunday.

Comuzzi died on New Year's Eve, his family confirmed. The cause of death wasn't immediately known.

In 1988, Comuzzi was first elected to the House of Commons for the Thunder Bay-Nipigon riding — which later became Thunder Bay-Superior North — serving as Liberal MP from 1988 to 2007, when he was kicked out of the party for backing the Conservative budget.

He briefly sat as an Independent before crossing over to join the Conservative Party the same year. He retired in 2008.

During his tenure, he was the Liberal minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

"He served in many portfolios over his twenty years in political life. Highlights include: Co-Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Canada-US Relations; Chair: Canadian Section, United States International Joint Commission; and Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada," his daughter Mary-Catherine Comuzzi said in a statement to CBC News.

"In whatever capacity he held, he always remained a fearless advocate for the people of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario," she said.

Liberal Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu, who was elected three times in Thunder Bay-Superior North, tweeted her condolences on Sunday.

"Sad to hear of the passing of former Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Joe Comuzzi. My condolences to the Comuzzi family," Hajdu said.

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