Neil Swan
In Memory of
Dr. Neil McQuinn Swan
1937 - 2020
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Obituary for Dr. Neil McQuinn Swan

Dr. Neil McQuinn Swan

On Thursday July 23rd peacefully at home in Ottawa after succumbing to liver and lung cancer. Loving husband of Rosemary and loving father of Philip and Wendy Snyder (Roger). Loving grandfather of Alastair, Kira, Cassia and Gwen. He is survived by his sister Carol Clarke (Robert).
Neil was born in Bradford, UK. He completed degrees at the London School of Economics, New South Wales University, Sydney Australia and the University of Pennsylvania where he received the John Polk Carey award for his doctoral dissertation.

He was a professor at Queens University from 1967-1974 where he was known to have received standing ovations from his students.

As a director at the Economic Council of Canada, he researched regional disparity in Newfoundland to help create opportunities for people living there. He studied Canadian immigration to help better inform government policy on these matters and proved that immigration did not lead to job loss but rather was healthy for the Canadian economy and especially good for the immigrants themselves.

In Kenya he led a team sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency to identify policies to improve long term development prospects and reduce the poverty suffered by the Kenyan people.
He led teams in the development of microsimulation models for both the Canada Pension Plan and Sweden to understand how changes in benefits and demographics affect the sustainability of the pension systems.
Throughout his career he learned to speak French, Spanish, Swedish, and Portuguese.
After retiring, he enjoyed teaching economic courses at Queens University and volunteered to help students learn to love math and writing as much as he did.

In his final years he studied deficits and national debt. Neil wanted everyone to understand how personal debt and national debt are very different: personal debt is debt owed to others but national debt is largely debt we owe ourselves. . What is good policy for one is often not good policy for the other. He fears that politicians and media conflate these two concepts and that government policies are frequently misdirected by people’s personal experiences with, and ideas about personal debt.

Thank you to all those who wrote letters to Neil before his death. It comforted him immensely to know that his family, friends and colleagues cared so deeply. He appreciated hearing about how he made a positive mark on their lives. He deeply cherished all of his friendships. He loved and was immensely proud of his wife, his children, and his four grandchildren.

Neil will be cremated. To best protect his friends and family, Neil asked that no funeral be held for him at this time.
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