Sudden death investigation at home of former Ontario health minister
FILE - Ontario Health Minister David Caplan responds to media questions on listeriosis at a news conference Thursday, Sept.4, 2008 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, July 25, 2019 9:37AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 25, 2019 5:59PM EDT
A sudden death investigation is underway at the home of late former Ontario health minister David Caplan after a man was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.
Emergency crews were called to Caplan’s home in the Lawrence Avenue and Don Valley Parkway area on Wednesday night for a report of a male suffering from burn injuries.
Police said the injuries stemmed from an incident that occurred in the home’s garage.
The man was pronounced dead a short time later.
An official cause of death has not yet been released.
A neighbour told CP24 he was watching a movie Wednesday night when he saw a fire truck and ambulance at Caplan’s home.
News of Caplan’s death emerged Thursday morning, with politicians of all stripes expressing shock and sadness Thursday at his death who they all described as a dedicated and hard-working public servant.
Premier Doug Ford offered his condolences via Twitter to the Liberal politician's family and friends, thanking Caplan for his service to the province. Several others in Ford's cabinet also paid tribute.
Health Minister Christine Elliott called the news “tremendously sad,” while Lisa MacLeod, the minister of tourism, reminisced about their many years serving together.
“When he left politics, we on occasion would grab a coffee,” MacLeod said in a tweet. “He was a good public servant, a kind soul and he is gone much too soon.”
Caplan was 54.
His former press secretary, Steve Erwin, said it was a “tough day” for many of those who had worked for the politician.
“He was such a decent guy, even when political life wasn't always fair to him personally. Way too young, and way too early since there's way too many jokes we had left to share. I will miss you terribly, David Caplan,” Erwin said.
“He really was someone who had friends of all political stripes...We don't see enough of that in this hyper-partisan era.”
Caplan's Liberal colleagues praised the politician they called a member of their family.
“David cared deeply about his community and was a strong voice for his constituents. His passion was public service,” interim Liberal leader John Fraser said in a statement. “David will be greatly missed by his Ontario Liberal family. Our heart goes out to his wife, Leigh and two sons, Benjamin and Jacob, during this difficult time.”
Liberal politician Michael Coteau said he knew Caplan as a “hard-working, caring man” with deep ties to the community in Don Valley East, the riding Caplan represented and Coteau currently holds.
“He knew people by name, spent a long time at the door trying to solve people's problems, and was always a hard worker for the community we served,” Coteau said in a statement.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also offered her sympathies on Twitter, saying Caplan had died “far too young.”
Caplan was first elected in 1997 and served in Dalton McGuinty's cabinet when the Liberals rose to power in 2003.
He was forced out as health minister in 2009 over the eHealth scandal in which millions of dollars went to consultants with government ties, and over expense account abuses. Many felt Caplan had been treated unfairly, particularly since most of the abuses at the agency took place under his predecessor.
Caplan, who also served as infrastructure minister, remained in office until 2011, when he and several other prominent Liberals chose not to run for re-election.
His mother, Elinor Caplan, was also a veteran politician, both federally and at the provincial level - where she, too, served as health minister.
--With files from The Canadian Press