Chris Stockwell

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Chris Stockwell
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by New riding
Succeeded by Donna Cansfield
Constituency Etobicoke Centre
In office
Preceded by Linda LeBourdais
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Etobicoke West
Personal details
Born (1957-03-09) March 9, 1957 (age 57)
London, Ontario
Political party Progressive Conservative
Occupation Political consultant

Chris Stockwell (born March 9, 1957) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 2003, and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. Before entering provincial politics, he had been a member of Toronto city council. Stockwell's father, Bill Stockwell, was also a prominent municipal politician.



Stockwell was elected as a city of Etobicoke controller in 1982, and held the position until his election to the Metropolitan Toronto council in November 1988. He represented Lakeshore-Queensway, in the Etobicoke region, and also served as chair of the Metro O’Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts during this period.


Stockwell was elected to the Ontario provincial legislature in the 1990 provincial election, defeating incumbent Liberal Linda LeBourdais by about 4,000 votes in Etobicoke West.[1] The New Democratic Party won the election, and Stockwell sat on the opposition benches for the next five years.

Shortly after being elected to the legislature, Stockwell applied for severance for his past municipal service. He was eligible for $10,817 in severance pay. He said he was just trying to show how stupid the municipal severance plan was and he claimed that he was just going to donate the money to charity. He said, "My rationale for filing was to prove what a fraud this thing is. Now it looks like I am a greedy bastard. Every one of those suckers are getting it. I'm no oinker. I have always kept my spending down, but now it looks like I was caught red-handed."[2]

The Tories won a majority in the provincial election of 1995, and Stockwell was easily elected in his own riding.[3] Despite his experience, he was not appointed to cabinet by the new Premier, Mike Harris. He soon developed a reputation as a maverick, representing centrist conservative views in a party dominated by right-wingers.[citation needed]

Stockwell was elected Speaker of the Assembly on October 3, 1996, after Al McLean was forced to resign from the position.[citation needed] He was not Mike Harris's preferred choice for the position (the Premier supported Margaret Marland)[citation needed] but won with support from members in all three parties. Stockwell won a reputation for independence in the Speaker's chair, and was not afraid to criticize members of his own party.

Stockwell played a key role in the anti-megacity filibuster of 1997, where the Opposition parties proposed thousands of amendments identical except for a few words. He ruled against the government when they moved that the legislature did not need to vote on each amendment, but in their favor when they suggested that the identical text did not need to be read aloud each time.

In the provincial election of 1999, Stockwell's personal popularity was such that he was able to win an easy re-election in the redistributed riding of Etobicoke Centre.[4] On June 17, 1999, he was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Labour.[5]

Despite Stockwell's reputation as a Red Tory[citation needed], he implemented a number of right-wing policy directives as Labour Minister. He was largely credited with shepherding through the legislature a bill to increase the maximum work-week to 60 hours, and also promoted the Harris government's "Workplace Democracy Act", which made union organization more difficult. In addition to the Labour portfolio, Stockwell also served as Commissioner of the Board of Internal Economy for a few months in 2001.

Stockwell was a candidate to succeed Mike Harris in the 2002 PC leadership campaign. During this campaign, he claimed that the right-wing initiatives of Harris's "Common Sense Revolution" were necessary in 1995, but no longer made sense in 2003.[citation needed] He won little support from party insiders, and placed last with four per cent of the vote. He supported Ernie Eves, the winning candidate, on the second ballot.

On April 15, 2002, Eves appointed Stockwell as Government House Leader and Minister of Environment and Energy.[6] The Energy and Environment portfolios were broken up on August 22, 2002, with Stockwell keeping Environment.

On June 17, 2003, he resigned from cabinet in the wake of a controversy concerning the misuse of expenses.[7] All expenses were referred to the provincial Integrity Commissioner who at that time was the Honourable Coulter A. Osbourne, a former Ontario Supreme Court judge. He undertook an exhaustive review.

In his first report dated January 31, 2003, covering the period from June 26, 1995 to December 31, 2002, the Honourable Coulter A. Osbourne concluded:

"I am satisfied that the expenses which I have reviewed, net of reimbursements made, are allowable expenses (see section 15 of the Act)."

On June 9, 2003 he stated:

“I am pleased to report that all expense claims made for the period January 1st to March 31st met with the requirements of the Act and the Rules Governing the Expenses of Cabinet Ministers, Opposition Leaders and other persons.”

On June 3, 2004 covering the period April 3, 2003 to March 31, 2004 the Commissioner again stated:

"I am pleased to report that all requests for reimbursements were complied with and all expense claims reviewed were subsequently approved." [8]

On July 25, 2003, Stockwell announced that he would not run in the 2003 election.[9]

He is currently employed as a political consultant.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Elizabeth Witmer Minister of Environment and Energy
[note 1]

Jim Wilson
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Janet Ecker Government House Leader
John Baird
Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Jim Flaherty Minister of Labour
Brad Clark

Candidacy for Toronto City Council[edit]

In 2013, Stockwell was one of several candidates for appointment to Toronto City Council to replace Doug Holyday in Ward 3.[10] The Etobicoke Community Council recommended him to the city council as its preferred candidate for the appointment;[10] however, October 10, 2013 the final city council vote selected Peter Leon.[11] In September 2014, Stockwell registered as a candidate for Toronto City Council in Ward 4 in Etobicoke.

Electoral record (partial)[edit]

Ontario general election, 1999: Etobicoke Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Chris Stockwell 25,518 54.12 $49,034
Liberal Agnes Ugolini Potts 19,035 40.37 $41,081
     New Democratic Party Bonte Minnema 1,309 2.78 $1,896
Family Coalition Dan McCash 389 0.83 $31
Green Christopher J. Morton 375 0.80 none listed
     Natural Law Party Geraldine Jackson 316 0.67 $0
     Ind. (Marxist-Leninist) Elaine Couto 209 0.44 $26
Total valid votes 47,151 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 414
Turnout 47,565 64.55
Electors on the lists 73,691



  1. ^ Renamed to Minister of Environment on August 22, 2002.


  1. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12. 
  2. ^ Royson, James (October 16, 1990). "Only claimed pay to expose 'fraud' Stockwell says". Toronto Star. p. A2. 
  3. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 3, 1999. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Ontario Cabinet". The Spectator (Hamilton, Ont). June 18, 1999. p. C8. 
  6. ^ "Ont-Cabinet". Toronto, Ont: Canadian Press NewsWire. April 15, 2002. 
  7. ^ "Chris Stockwell resigns from Ontario cabinet". CTV News. June 17, 2003. 
  8. ^ (Office of the Integrity Commissioner - Commissioner's Reports)'s-reports
  9. ^ "Ontario Tory Chris Stockwell to quit politics". CTV News. July 25, 2003. 
  10. ^ a b "Community council recommends Chris Stockwell for Ward 3 seat". CBC News. October 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Peter Leon to replace Doug Holyday in Ward 3". Toronto Star. October 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]