Robert A. Young (1950-2017)

4th September 2017

Michael Keating remembers his friend and colleague Prof Bob Young who has passed away. Prof Young was a member of the Centre's advisory board and a tireless supporter of our work. 

It is with profound sadness that we note the death of Professor Robert Young of the University of Western Ontario. Bob was a friend and supporter of the Centre on Constitutional Change from the outset and a regular visitor until his last illness. He was a personal friend of mine for some thirty years, a colleague at Western for eleven years, and a source of endless ideas, knowledge and practical wisdom.

Bob was a leading figure in the study of public policy in Canada but his association with the Centre arose from his work on secession. As a bilingual Anglophone Montrealer, he had grown up with the rise of the national movement in Quebec. He authored the definitive book on the Quebec case around the referendum of 1995 and later extended this to comparative work. The Scottish referendum of 2014 naturally attracted his attention and he was much in demand to draw lessons from the Quebec experience. He was an advisor to the ESRC Scotland programme and a member of our advisory board, and visited Scotland on several occasions. While strictly neutral on the issue, he did not hesitate to make his views known when one side used his earlier work to draw what he saw as misleading conclusions.

Bob always had something interesting to say, whether in print, in a seminar room or relaxing over a beer. His wisdom, wit and enthusiasm will be much missed.

Michael Keating

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post by Michael Keating
University of Aberdeen
4th September 2017
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