About Erik Hersholt Nielsen, also named as "Yukon Erik"
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Birth: Feb. 24, 1924 Regina Saskatchewan, Canada Death: Sep. 4, 2008 Kelowna British Columbia, Canada
Canadian Politician. He served as Member of Parliament for Yukon for 29 years and was Deputy Prime Minister 1984 to 1986. His nicknames were "Yukon Erik" and "Velcro Lips" in reference to his stonewalling of questions. Born in Regina, he was the older brother of actor Leslie Nielsen. Erik served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He flew 23 sorties with Lancaster bomber 101 Squadron plus another 33 missions as a pilot officer and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After leaving the military in 1951 and with a law degree from Dalhousie University, he set up a practice Whitehorse, Yukon. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1957 as a member of the Progressive Conservative party and never lost in subsequent elections from 1958 to 1984. Sworn to the Privy Council in 1979, he was Minister of Public Works in the brief Joe Clark government. In 1983 Mr. Nielsen was named Leader of the Opposition and later as Government House Leader. Under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mr. Nielsen also served as Acting Fisheries Minister, Minister of Defence and Deputy PM. He tendered his resignation from cabinet in June 1986 in fallout from the Sinclair Stevens conflict-of-interest scandal. In early 1987, he resigned his seat in parliament but continued in various public service appointments, including Chairman of the National Transportation Agency. He retired in 1992 to pursue private business interests. His autobiography, "The House Is Not a Home", was published in 1989. Erik Nielsen died at home of a heart attack at age 84. (bio by: Milou)