Graham Fraser, Scot of the Year 2018
It was back in 1993 that we initiated our Annual Scot of the Year Award to honour individuals with a Scottish connection who have achieved distinction through their contribution to Canadian society or the international community at large and at our 2018 event during which we paid tribute to this year's recipient: Graham Fraser, Canada's sixth Commissioner of Official Languages, a former Canadian journalist and a writer whose Scots ancestry can be traced to the north of Scotland. We were delighted to receive congratulatory letters from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland which were read out at the event.
Graham is the son of Blair Fraser, a respected newspaper and magazine reporter of the mid-20th century who sadly drowned on a canoe trip in 1968. Graham attended Upper Canada College and later studied at the University of Toronto where he obtained a BA in 1968 and an MA in History in 1973. During his career as a journalist, Fraser wrote for Maclean's, The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, The Toronto Star and Le Devoir.
Graham's unusual abilities as a journalist writing in both of Canada's official languages gave him natural qualifications to be Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages. In early 2006 he published a book, Sorry, I Don't Speak French, which reviewed the successes and failures of Canada's policy of official bilingualism. It was largely on the basis of the book and of Fraser's bilingual work experience that he was appointed Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages in September 2006.
His wife Barbara Uteck was Private Secretary for the Governor General of Canada from 2000 to 2006 and lived at Rideau Cottage behind Rideau Hall.