Dave Martin - R.I.P. (1954-2011)

Dave Martin passed away, Friday, September 9, 2011. He was my friend and my colleague. He was a lot of people’s friend and colleague.

I first met Dave in 1979. He and his partner, Irene Kock, were among a handful of people who responded to a call for people to participate in the occupation of the Darlington Nuclear Reactor site.

I lead the training session of his “affinity group”. He’s been part of my affinity group ever since. We weren’t close then – but our lives just kept intersecting as we followed our separate paths. 

His path, of course, was advocating a soft energy path for Canada. If they awarded doctorates in an advocacy, Dave would have received one. He and Irene renovated their home not to put in an Italian tile bathroom, but a nuclear energy resource library.
Their submissions to the Atomic Energy Control Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are legendary for their attention to detail and meticulous research. 
Dave was committed to using knowledge, logic and hard work to convince Canadians nuclear power is not the answer. He demonstrated over and over again that the claims of nuclear power advocates simply weren’t accurate.

I called Ralph Torrie, a guy who Dave and I considered a teacher. In the late 1970s Ralph showed Dave and I that being arrested simply isn’t enough. You need to have knowledge and reasoned argument. In the end Dave became our teacher too. “David was steadfast, reliable and determined.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and was one of those people that lifted up those around him.  He was a rock,” recalls Ralph.

"Dave was a warm generous friend who, in his activism, cloaked intense passion with impeccable logic," said Gordon Edwards, a close friend and colleague of Dave.

Last fall I was privileged to speak at an event organized to honour Dave – sort of wake he could attend. In hindsight, it was kind of coming-of-age event for everyone there. I attended with my daughter who had volunteered to be my date. Looking at the crowd while I spoke, remember seeing faces that used to be young and full of fire in their eyes.
But just like Dave, who even though his light was fading, we all still had fire in our eyes. I was glad my daughter was there to see it.

The last time I spent with Dave was in Denmark. Both boomers, we are getting on and, like the old geezers we are, we enjoyed reminiscing about old times, defeats and victories. At the end of Copenhagen Climate Conference we old guys preferred a chicken shawarma, chips and good conversation to the dancing and loud music the more youthful delegates were enjoying.

Thanks Dave for all your work, your insight and your friendship. We will miss you greatly.

R.I.P. Dave.

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada


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