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Activist Tooker Gomberg missing, presumed dead

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Activist Tooker Gomberg missing, presumed dead

BY SUSAN AITKEN
CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX (CP) - Tooker Gomberg - an environmental activist, failed Toronto mayoral candidate and high-profile thorn in the side of Alberta Premier Ralph Klein - was missing and presumed dead today.

Police said it appears Gomberg jumped off the middle of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge just after midnight in the early hours Thursday morning.

"We have a missing person report in relation to a 48-year-old man. We normally don't identify individuals, so officially I can't say this is who it is, but unofficially it is Mr. Gomberg," said Sgt. Don Spicer of the Halifax Regional Police.

"All indications are he jumped off the bridge but we've not found a body so we have to treat it as a missing person at this time."

Police found a helmet and bicycle on the bridge.

Rebecca O'Brien, a friend of Gomberg and his wife, Angela Bischoff, said Gomberg suffered from depression on and off for the last three years.

"It was depression that took his life. And his wife wants to refrain from the details of how the depression took his life," said O'Brien.

She said Gomberg had moved to Halifax from the Toronto-area in September when Bischoff was hired by a local group to improve the bicycle transportation system.

Gomberg volunteered at the Ecology Action Centre but became more and more despondent.

"He said he lost his chutzpah," O'Brien said.

When Bischoff, his partner of 17 years, returned from a social outing Wednesday, she found a suicide note, O'Brien said.

Environmental groups in Halifax, Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are planning memorials for him.

Gomberg, an avid cyclist, founded one of Canada's first curbside recycling programs in Montreal and headed Edmonton's EcoCity Society.

He was also elected to and served on Edmonton city council and cut a colourful figure as executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters.

Gomberg became famous for his vociferous and unconventional sense of political theatre.

Last spring, he was arrested at a rally protesting the war in Iraq when he used a megaphone without a permit.

In 2002, he was dragged out by police from Toronto's tony Empire Club after shouting down Klein during the premier's speech on why Alberta doesn't like the Kyoto accord.

In that year's Ontario municipal election, he ran for mayor of Toronto - and ended up as Mel Lastman's closest challenger, although the incumbent won 80 per cent of the vote.

A few months later, he locked himself in a vault in Klein's Calgary constituency office, saying the Klein government had failed to act on a decade-old report on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

In June 2000, Gomberg protested at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary and in March of that year he and other Greenpeace members chained themselves to a 447-tonne piece of oilsands equipment being shipped to Suncor Energy Ltd. in Fort McMurray, Alta.

That same year, he organized a group of protesters who threw pennies at the head of Imperial Oil during the company's annual general meeting to make the point it would cost only pennies per share to reduce greenhouse gases.

In 1990, when Klein was Alberta's environment minister, Gomberg led a group of placard-waving activists up on the stage at a hearing into a northern Alberta pulp mill and accused Klein of betraying the environment.

In Edmonton, a spokeswoman in Klein's office said he wished to extend his sympathy to Gomberg's family.

"The premier always recognized that Tooker was a man who was extremely dedicated to his environmental causes and had some colourful ways of advocating for the issues he believed in," said Marisa Etmanski.

Gomberg's term on Edmonton city council was marked by his advocacy of bicycling. He once aggravated his fellow councillors by chaining his bike to Edmonton's new City Hall.

Edm Ald. Allan Bolstad, who served with Gomberg, said, "Tooker seemed so indestructible.

"That's one of the things that makes it so difficult for me to accept what I am hearing today."

Brian Mason, now a provincial legislature member, also served with Gomberg on city council.

He called him a man of conviction who walked or pedalled his bike or rode on public transit rather than drive a polluting vehicle.

He wore clothes of natural fibres, he recycled, he composted and he gardened.

"I have never seen anyone who walked the talk like Tooker did," he said. "He lived what he preached."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Co...999&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968705899037
 

R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
Didn't he push for and get some really advanced recycling system while on city council in Edmonton? It doesn't say anything about that in the article.
 

starr

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
Brian Mason, now a provincial legislature member, also served with Gomberg on city council.

"I have never seen anyone who walked the talk like Tooker did," he said. "He lived what he preached."

Agreed.

Rest in Peace. :(
 
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Casey

TRIBE Member
Did the "I am a big fat alcoholic" stunt reach Toronto news? Man, that was drama at it's finest.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Presumably you're talking about Ralph on his rampage shouting get a job or something.

Oh yes. We know all about you Albertans.
 

Casey

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog
Presumably you're talking about Ralph on his rampage shouting get a job or something.

Oh yes. We know all about you Albertans.
It was hilarious, yet sad and embarrassing.
 
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sugar

TRIBE Member
This is so sad :(

When he was campaigning for mayor several years ago, I rode on the Tooker streetcar campaign thingy. It was going down Spadina when I was waiting for the streetcar, and they let me get on and ride for free. I got a video of his election platform and everything.

So sad :(
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Sad.

Tooker tried to make a difference, and because his efforts were miniscule in comparison to the complicit complacent capitalism of most of us, he took his life.
 

Muad'ib

Well-Known TRIBEr
Depression is one of the scariest things a person can face, it is sad that it got the better of him.

RIP:(
 
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deep

TRIBE Member
rest in peace, but I don't understand the logic in wearing a helmet on your bicycle if you're going to commit suicide
 

mercure

TRIBE Promoter
Aww, Tooker...:(

I remember him from the 2000 Mayor's race when he was trying to convince a group I was involved in to support his campaign. And I saw him around at various environmental activist things. Truly someone who had the courage of his convictions. A sad way to end.
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Originally posted by deep
rest in peace, but I don't understand the logic in wearing a helmet on your bicycle if you're going to commit suicide
By law, you have to wear a helmet, so it would suck to get pulled over just before you got there.

"Well, officer, I was just on my way TO KILL MYSELF, THANKS FOR ASKING..."
 

jus me

TRIBE Member
I remember when he came by our high school to give a speech and answer questions when the mayoral race was on.

I ended up voting for him.
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
holy shit!!! that is terrible news. i sat with tooker at a fundraising dinner once and i have always admired his spirit.

rest in peace. :(

if anyone knows details of the toronto memorial service, please post them.
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by R4V4G3D_SKU11S
Didn't he push for and get some really advanced recycling system while on city council in Edmonton? It doesn't say anything about that in the article.
kev, are you sure it wasn't montreal?

from the article: "Gomberg, an avid cyclist, founded one of Canada's first curbside recycling programs in Montreal and headed Edmonton's EcoCity Society."

thats really sad news. we need more people with strong convictions like Gomberg willing to put themselves out there. rest in peace.
 
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