Michael Perry, 2023 John Pearce award honoree, presents the 2018 John Pearce Award to Stan Choptiany.
The late Michael Perry of Fredericton, 2023 recipient of Transport Action Atlantic’s John Pearce Award for outstanding public transportation advocacy, is shown at left in this file photo presenting the 2018 award to Stan Choptiany, former mayor of St. Andrews NB. PHOTO – Ted Bartlett

A life-long and dedicated transportation advocate has been posthumously named as recipient of Transport Action Atlantic’s John Pearce Award for 2023. The announcement was made at TAA’s annual general meeting on June 15.

Michael Perry of Fredericton, who was serving as TAA’s secretary at the time of his unexpected passing in November 2022, had been deeply involved with the association and its predecessor Transport 2000 for nearly three decades.

“Michael was particularly committed to enhancing public transit and passenger rail, and was a relentless crusader for the cause,” says TAA president Tim Hayman. “He seized every opportunity to promote convenient, affordable and sustainable public transportation for all Canadians.”

Michael was born in wartime England on May 14, 1942. At the age of six he emigrated with his parents, making a rough North Atlantic crossing to Montreal on the CP liner Empress of Canada. A self-described “army brat”, he spent many of his formative years in the Maritimes, living in both Halifax and Fredericton. His working career was as a teacher and administrator in the Ontario school system. His passion was education for all – especially his children and grandchildren.

A frequent critic of the inadequacies of Fredericton Transit in recent years, he had also been deeply involved in efforts to develop a rural transportation service in Charlotte County. He resided in St. Andrews when that initiative began, and played a key role in developing a business plan, which had it been implemented as intended would have had great potential for success.

The John Pearce Award was created by TAA to commemorate the association’s long-time former and founding president, who devoted more than 40 years to public transportation advocacy.  It is awarded annually to an individual or group to recognize an outstanding contribution, consistent with Mr. Pearce’s life-long passion.

“Michael always made our meetings better for his presence,” commented TAA board member Ashley Morton, who was instrumental in the creation of the award in 2017. “I wish he had had more time with us, to make our meetings, and the world in general, better by his participation.”

Other board members and colleagues are remembering Michael for his graceful elegance, kindness, listening ear, and exhaustive knowledge of transportation. 

“Michael kept meticulous records, was a leader at all membership and board meetings, and a true spokesperson for Transport Action Atlantic and our goals at every opportunity,” says TAA’s long-serving former treasurer Don MacLeod. “On a personal note – and we only met face-to-face twice a year – I always looked forward to having a chat; he was a great supporter of this chapter financially, and understood fully the problems and difficulties facing public transportation locally, regionally and nationally.”

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