Silver Donald Cameron passes away at age 82

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Silver Donald Cameron

D’ESCOUSSE: Award-winning author, environmental activist and long-time local volunteer Silver Donald Cameron passed away this morning at the age of 82.

An Order of Canada, Queen’s Jubilee Medal and Order of Nova Scotia recipient in 2012, Cameron passed away in Halifax after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Cameron was a former journalist, university teacher, playwright and documentary filmmaker. He was a columnist for provincial and national newspapers.

Cameron both taught and was the writer-in-residence at several schools throughout Canada. He began teaching English at the University of New Brunswick in the late 1960s, where he helped start an alternative news magazine, The Mysterious East, which ran for three years.

A Vancouver native, Cameron came to the Strait area in the late 1960s as a journalist covering a strike by trawlermen at fish plants in Canso, Mulgrave and Petit de Grat which later culminated in his novel The Education of Everett Richardson.

In 1971, Cameron purchased a home along the waterfront in D’Escousse, which became his residence for decades with his wife, the late Lulu Terrio-Cameron.

It was from his home on Isle Madame’s northside where Cameron wrote some of his most memorable novels including Wind, Whales and Whisky, which detailed a voyage on his sail boat the Silversark. As in the case with almost all of his writing, the communities, characters and stories of Isle Madame were a frequent part of the novel.

But not just willing to rest on the laurels of his celebrated literary career, Cameron became deeply involved in the effort to overcome the collapse of the groundfishery in the early 1990s, which resulted in the closure of the Richmond Fisheries plant in Boudreauville, and the loss of hundreds of jobs from Isle Madame.

Cameron was an original board member of Development Isle Madame Association, and one of the founders of Telile: Isle Madame Community Television, which continues to this day.

Even after Isle Madame was able to contain the economic and social damage from the loss of its main employer, Cameron stayed involved in the community, remaining on the board of Telile until the community television station moved locations more a decade ago.

In recent years, Cameron devoted himself to environmental activism, creating an environmental website, The Green Interview, where he spoke to people like Jane Goodall, David Suzuki and Nova Scotia teenage scientist Stella Bowles about green issues and moving toward a more sustainable future.

Despite remaining a long-time supporter of the New Democratic Party, in last fall’s federal election, Cameron’s staunch environmentalism led him to publicly support the Green Party.

Cameron’s last book Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes, will be available in August. The book details the death of Philip Boudreau in June 2013 in waters off Petit de Grat.

Cameron argues that the Boudreau killing was a direct reaction to credible and dire threats that the authorities were powerless to neutralize. He asserted that this is a story not about lobster, but about the grand themes of power and law, security, and self-respect. Cameron raises the disturbing question of whether there are times when taking the law into your own hands is not only understandable but the responsible thing to do?

Last year, Cameron was appointed Cape Breton University’s first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment.

Cameron was married author and a frequent contributor to The Reporter, Marjorie Simmins, with whom he remained until his passing.