Carl Beigie OWN R.I.P. 1940-2010

Written by  //  March 8, 2010  //  Absent Friends, People Meta  //  4 Comments

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‘Gentle intellectual giant’ was an authority on U.S.-Canada relations
By Alan Hustak
Carl Beigie

Carl was a very, very special friend, whom our entire family loved dearly.
Our hearts are very heavy today, lightened only by the many wonderful memories of happy times spent in his company, debating, discussing and sometimes just talking. How he loved to do all three! He was indeed a gentle intellectual giant and gifted teacher, with endless patience for those of us whose minds did not move as quickly and easily as his, although little for those who were pretentious (a nice way to say that he did not suffer fools gladly). In reply to an honest question, he was always courteous, making the questioner feel that he or she had really gone to the heart of the matter with a brilliant query. We are sure that he behaved exactly the same way with Captains of Industry and Ministers of the Crown.
We witnessed his ability to inform and instruct on countless Wednesday Nights and many other social occasions, but we particularly treasure the memories of him in action in the classroom, gently encouraging and pulling the best from his students. He so loved teaching and it was evident in every moment that he was in front of a class, or chatting quietly with the groups that always clustered around him during breaks; in turn he was greatly admired and loved by his students. We felt so privileged that he allowed us to (unofficially) audit some of his courses.
The Wednesday Night Salon was conceived and built around Carl after he moved to Toronto and was commuting to teach at McGill. Initially, these evenings consisted in a few people from the investment world gathered around the dining room table to hear his views on the economy and markets – though he always said that he really disliked talking about the market. Gradually, and often with his gentle insistence, the circle expanded to include people from many, many disciplines who could talk about anything from anthropology to Zambia, satisfying his ‘policy wonk’s” need to understand all the forces at work in the economy. One of his wonderful quotes was that it was at Wednesday Night, from Margo Somerville (see below), that he first learned that sperm had rights.
We have sorely missed him in the past few years, hoping against hope for good news of a miraculous recovery. However, as that was not to be, we are at least relieved that his passing was peaceful and with his wife, Kathy, beside him.
Next week, we will drink a heartfelt toast to Carl and dedicate that Wednesday Night to enjoying our memories of him with his many friends; but he is and always will be an influential presence every Wednesday Night.

I want to thank you for your generous words on Carl’s behalf. It feels so right to remember him as he was at his best. Carl struggled with his stroke condition for 9 years and he did it with courage and resolve. It was very difficult for him, and gradually, he did not fully realize what he had lost. These past two years were the most difficult for Carl, and since Christmas, he really wanted to have this over with.
Carl was diagnosed with a rare disease called Binswanger Disease. It is a cruel disease that attacks the brain and this disease moves gradually, thus the 9 years. Carl eventually could not remember McGill, his professional life, and even that he had grandchildren. Imagine this from the “great communicator”. To the end, he was a gentleman, rarely complaining, and accepting his fate. I was with him when he died and even in death, Carl was brave and met it head on just as he did in life.
To everyone who writes in Carl’s guest book, I thank you. When our family reads all the generous notes, we remember Carl as he was at his best, and it helps us at this sad time.
Thanks to everyone at his loved Wednesday Night.
Kathy Beigie

CARL EMERSON BEIGIE American-born Carl pursued PhD studies in economics at MIT in the mid-1960s focusing on the Canada-US Automotive Agreement. Carl began his career on Wall Street but his expertise and interest in Canadian economics drew him to Canada in 1970 where he has been a proud resident ever since. Carl became a Canadian citizen in 1981. He always felt Canada fostered a culture of humanity that appealed to him as an economist and citizen. In the 1970s, Carl became widely known in Canada as the founding executive director and president of the C.D. Howe Institute in Montreal. Under Carl’s stewardship, the institute pursued research on short-term economic policy with emphasis on international trade and major federal budgetary issues. The institute ranked as one of the most influential economic policy groups in Canada. Much of the work attracted attention in Ottawa and was highly regarded by MPs and those in government service. Carl wrote several publications while at C.D. Howe including his 1972 ‘The Canada-US Auto Pact’ and his 1979 book ‘Inflation is a Social Malady.’ In the 1980s, Carl worked in the Toronto Financial District as chief economist at Dominion Securities and McLean McCarthy. He appeared frequently on television to comment on budgetary issues and economic policies. He became increasingly engaged in politics serving on the Council of Economic Advisors to the P.C. Party. Carl was a born teacher and throughout the 1970s and 1980s he was a member of the Faculty of Management at McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 1988, Carl became academic director of the Executive MBA program at the University of Toronto. In the 1990s, Carl pursued teaching as a full-time vocation, returning to the much-loved setting of Montreal and McGill University. Carl was drawn to communicating about economics, giving numerous talks throughout Canada and the world. He was a prolific writer during his career with more than 30 publications to his credit. In May 2001, while still quite active as a teacher and economist, Carl suffered a major stroke. He retired to his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake with his wife Kathy who helped him live out the rest of his years with dignity and peace. Carl had always taken great pride in his self-reliance, intellectual energy and productivity. The debilitating effects of his stroke were a challenge for Carl which he met with courage and quiet resolve. Carl, his siblings, his wife and two sons could not have been more grateful for the patient and generous help of the many health professionals and support workers in the extended Niagara Region. The caring and humane Canadian character, which initially drew Carl to this country, was a great source of comfort to him during his time of greatest need. Carl once wrote, ‘People alive today are becoming so adamant about having their wants satisfied now that it takes a rare politician to reflect for more than a brief moment on the needs of the yet unborn.’ When he was alive and at full capacity, Carl strove to help Canadians look to the future and to make his new country a better place. Carl is survived by his wife Kathy, his sons Darin and David and David’s wife Sue as well as his grandchildren Aidan and Matthew, brother Robert, sisters Jackie and Barbara. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service to celebrate Carl’s life will be held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 342 Simcoe Street, Niagaraon-the-Lake on Saturday March 20th, 2010 at 11:30. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to The Juravinski Cancer Centre Dr. Mark Levine Fellowship through MORGAN FUNERAL HOME 415 Regent Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Online guest register for condolences

In 2008, the C.D. Howe Institute, Canada’s leading nonpartisan public policy think tank, celebrated its 50th anniversary. In that half-century, the Institute has made a lasting and vital contribution toward improving Canadians’ standard of living by fostering sound economic and social policy. Carl is prominently mentioned in the brief history of the organization, published on their website
The 1970s — Honouring the Legacy of C.D. Howe
Heading up the newly reconstituted organization was brilliant young economist Carl E. Beigie. In his youth a preacher in his native United States, Beigie became the eloquent public face of HRI. With a talented group of researchers that included Gail Cook, Judith Maxwell, Joshua Mendelsohn, Caroline Pestieau, Richard Shaffner, and Gennifer Sussman, Beigie greatly expanded the scope of HRI’s research. Energy, fiscal policy, labour policy, and monetary policy were just some of the new areas in which the Institute’s expertise began to be applied.
Another new area was constitutional issues. Responding to growing concerns over the rising tide of nationalism in Quebec, in the late 1970s and early 1980s HRI published, in both English and French, a major series of studies called “Accent Québec,” which took a comprehensive look at the structure of Quebec’s economy.
The 1980s— Building A National Presence
The Institute began to expand its national presence by establishing a Western Regional Committee to involve members in Western Canada more closely in its research and advisory activities. A Quebec Committee was also set up in 1981 to help the Institute’s members in Quebec become more involved in the Canadian public policy debate.
A highlight of the decade was the work of the Howe Institute Policy Analysis Committee (HIPAC), formerly the Canadian Economic Policy Committee. Under the dynamic chairmanship of H. Anthony Hampson, HIPAC promoted the interaction of Institute members with economics staff and government officials in the analysis of Canadian economic policy. This interaction, and HIPAC’s role in shaping the Institute’s research agenda — in particular its annual Policy Review and Outlook — gave the Institute’s policy recommendations added relevance and bite.
In 1982, after more than 20 years in offices in Montreal’s Sun Life Building, the Institute moved its headquarters to Toronto. Shortly after the move to Toronto, Carl Beigie handed the reins to Executive Director Wendy Dobson, whose force and dynamism guided the Institute through the early to mid-1980s. Joining the Institute on its move to Toronto was the talented young economist Edward A. Carmichael and, in 1983, Dobson persuaded the renowned Richard G. Lipsey to join its economics staff. In 1986, Maureen Farrow, an economist well respected in the investment community, became president.

Comments and tributes from some of Carl’s Wednesday Night friends and admirers.

— I used to drive him to his hotel each Wednesday Night and we had many interesting exchanges. He was a knowledgeable, intelligent human being, probably not replaceable by too many – if any – successors.
Herb Bercovitz

— Very sad. I always enjoyed Carl’s sense of life and his quick wit- he was probably the one who first popularized- in the best sense- economic commentary for the public..
Richard Schultz
James McGill Professor and Chair
(McGill) Department of Political Science

— That’s really sad news. Carl was a “force of Nature” including at so many Wednesday Nights. It’s hard to imagine he is no longer with us. If you are in contact with his son, please pass on my deepest sympathy.
Kindest regards,
Margaret Somerville AM, FRSC, DCL

— How very sad, another era passes. I am glad that it was peaceful, and shall always remember him in full vigor, at the heights of his potential, with a smile and an inexhaustible willingness to instruct….everyone!
Margaret Lefebvre

— I am very sorry to hear about Carl’s passing. Of course I recall he was the whole origin of Wednesday night, so this is something of a milestone. It brings back memories of the early days. Thank you for letting me know.
(Professor) June (Riley), Financial economist and teacher

— Sad passing. A kind and generous spirit and a wonderful economist who did a tremendous amount for Canada.
(Professor) Guy Stanley

— I’m sorry to hear that Carl Beigie has passed away. He was an articulate, informed, communicator.
Kevin Dougherty (Montreal Gazette)

— I have met numerous wonderful people at your home, and Carl was one of them. Some just leave us way too soon.
Susanna Eyton-Jones

— Thank you for the sad news of the passing of Carl Beigie. I remember him very vividly from our early Wednesday Night meetings as well as from McGill, where he taught the North America and Global Economy course which, incidentally, was taught by Guy Stanley a few times and the last few years by myself. A very nice man who had the strength of his opinions and could articulate clearly and forcefully his views on economic, political and social issues. Too bad his health cut his life short. He has been missed by all of us.
Please … pass on my condolences to his Family.
I know how close he was too both you and David and how much both of you cared for him and loved him and treated him as a member of your own Family.
My Best & Warmest Sympathies,
(Professor) Ken Matziorinis, John Abbott and McGill

— This comes as a shock as I remember the fantastic discussions we had together at your house a few years ago.
André Audet

— I worked briefly with Carl at the time he had a ‘stint’ with Walwyn Stodgell and remember him fondly.
If you speak to his family, would you kindly extend my condolences and my admiration of this man.
John (Yiani) Evdokias
Visavis Investment Counsel Inc.

— Sorry to hear about Carl Beigie, I really liked him.
He was a bright, sweet, gentle man.
Roslyn Takeishi

— Sad news indeed! I had no idea he has been ill for “many years”. I remember some wonderful evenings at your place when he was such a strong presence.
Donna (Logan)
Former Associate Managing Editor, Montreal Star; Founding Director and Professor of Journalism, University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

— My first Wednesday Night he was there and his presence made quite an indelible impression on me. May he rest in peace.
Marina Boulos-Winton
CEO, Foundation of Greater Montreal

— I remember Carl well from the evenings he spent gently and at times, humorously, instructing us on the economics of the world. … and I often wondered what he would have advised us on the recession, the stimulus package and all these other aspects which currently drive us to distraction.
His contributions in many areas were numerous, of course, but you know that. I am sorry he suffered intermittent strokes which I know he would have felt so debilitating and, if memory serves of his attitudes from time to time, so very annoying
His friends of Wednesday Night were very fond of him and held him in greatest esteem as well, of that I can assure you.
Stephen Kinsman

— Condoléances! Sad to learn that a special Economist “a giant in size & thinking” passed away — true he was from USA but you might as well put the stamp of “Made in Canada” for his endeavours. I bumped into him at the Sun Life building where he was heading a think tank on Economics and I got to know him better at the Wednesday Night Salon. No doubt you will open a page of condoléances for him on your website and a special night in tribute to Carl Beigie is due anytime — I will be pleased to join.
Again to his family and closest friends at the Wednesday Night Salon….condoléances.
Sam Totah

David Beigie []
Sent: March 5, 2010 12:24 AM
Subject: Carl Beigie 1940-2010
David, I know how much my father enjoyed his times with your family and friends.
I thought you should know that my dad passed away this evening in Niagara-On-The-Lake. He had been ill for many years after several strokes. I can tell you that he passed away very peacefully tonight with his wife Kathy by his side.
Regards – David (Beigie)

4 Comments on "Carl Beigie OWN R.I.P. 1940-2010"

  1. Jim Courtney March 18, 2010 at 9:05 am ·

    As a member of the first UofT EMBA class for whom we were fortunate enough to have him for an instructor, I often think of what I learned from him, and not simply the macro economics, but also his personal interpretations and experiences. For instance, he was frustrated that, in 1984, on a recent trip to Calgary, the people he was visiting wanted to know the price of oil in 1995.

    But he did forecast the backlash we are currently seeing these days with respect to excessive and “unearned” executive bonuses.

    A great asset to our learning and the Canadian economics scene.

  2. PHYLLIS BEIGIE March 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm ·


  3. Jill (Samis) McCutcheon January 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm ·

    Dear David and Diana: My it has been a long time. This morning, for some reason, I decided to “google” Carl Beigie to see what he has been up to. I haven’t spoken to him for many years. He was a great mentor to me and a good friend to me at a time in my life when I really needed both. Somewhere along the line, my friendship with Carl led me to your home, to partake in your hospitality and of course, this involved participating in more than one of the Wednesday night experiences.
    I was saddened to learn that Carl had passed last March and I was particularly saddened to learn that he had struggled so much in the last years of his life. I regret that I did not reconnect with him.
    I do not know if you remember me. I was a young economics/law student – Jill Samis.
    You have my very sincere condolences, as tardy as they may be, on the loss of your friend Carl.

  4. Virginia Hoge Mead January 5, 2016 at 4:48 pm ·

    I am trying to find Kathy Beigie. I knew Kathy and Carl as students at Muskingum College, Ohio.
    As a music professor, I taught Kathy and we became very close friends. I lost track of her when she and Carl moved to New York and then, Canada. I have found out about Carl’s passing and I am
    trying to find where Kathy is. I found his obituary on the internet and even wrote to the Presbyterian
    Church where is funeral was. Today, I found this Web site and the beautiful tributes to Carl and Kathy.
    I am hoping that someone will see this and help me get in touch with Kathy. Thank you!’
    My email is
    Virginia Mead 16900 Lexington Blvd. #2326 Sugar Land, Texas 77479

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