Top diplomat Martin Collacott served in dangerous posts


Hardworking, cool headed, a true gentleman, Martin Collacott was a diplomat who took on some of Canada's most difficult and dangerous posts in Asia and Africa without flinching. Over a period of 30 years, he served as Canada's ambassador to Syria and Lebanon; was first secretary and counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Lagos, Nigeria; our high commissioner in Sri Lanka and our first ambassador in Cambodia after the bloody civil war there wiped out a fifth of the population.

In retirement, Mr. Collacott continued working. In 2010, he launched the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, with associates including Herbert Grubel, an economist at Simon Fraser University, David Harris, an expert on security, James Bissett (another former ambassador) and Margret Kopala, a writer on public policy. He wanted people who were not influenced by self-interest. "We were not aligned with any stakeholder groups," explained Margret Kopala. "We believe that the best approach is to reduce immigration to get things more manageable. Martin always took a measured approach, but we were never against immigration as such."