Ed Broadbent

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For the British general, see Edward Broadbent (British Army officer).
The Honourable
Ed Broadbent
PCCC
Ed Broadbent.jpg
Leader of the New Democratic Party
In office
July 7, 1975 – December 5, 1989
Preceded by David Lewis
Succeeded by Audrey McLaughlin
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Oshawa
Oshawa—Whitby (1968-1979)
In office
June 25, 1968 – February 1, 1990
Preceded by Michael Starr
Succeeded by Mike Breaugh
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Ottawa Centre
In office
June 28, 2004 – January 23, 2006
Preceded by Mac Harb
Succeeded by Paul Dewar
Personal details
Born John Edward Broadbent
(1936-03-21) March 21, 1936 (age 78)
Oshawa, Ontario
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Yvonne Yamaoka (1961-1967, div.)
Lucille Broadbent (1971-2006, dec.)
Residence Ottawa
Alma mater Trinity College, Toronto
Profession Politician, Professor, Pilot

John Edward "Ed" Broadbent, PC CC (born March 21, 1936) is a Canadian social democratic politician and political scientist. He was leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) from 1975 to 1989. In the 2004 federal election, he returned to Parliament for one additional term as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre.

Life and career[edit]

Broadbent was born in Oshawa, Ontario. His father Percy Edward was a General Motors clerk, his mother Mary Welsh an Irish Catholic homemaker. Ed is the middle of three children. He studied philosophy at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, graduating in 1959 first in his class.

Broadbent trained as a Pilot Officer in the RCAF's University Reserve Training Plan.

In 1961, he married Yvonne Yamaoka, a Japanese Canadian town planner whose family was interned by the federal government in World War II. They divorced in 1967. On September 22, 1988, when the Mulroney government apologized for the internment, Broadbent brought up Yamaoka's experiences during his remarks in the House of Commons.[1]

In 1971, he married a young Franco-Ontarian widow, Lucille Munroe; he had no children with her but did become the stepfather to Lucille's son Paul Broadbent, who is a defence policy specialist with the Ministry of Defence in London, England; the couple also adopted a baby girl, Christine. He has four grandchildren.

He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto (1966), and his Ph.D. thesis was titled The Good Society of John Stuart Mill.[2] He is a former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and is currently Fellow in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University, Canada.

Politics[edit]

He was a university professor when he ran and won election to the Canadian House of Commons from Oshawa—Whitby in the 1968 general election, defeating former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Michael Starr by 15 votes. In 1971, he ran for the leadership of the party but lost to David Lewis at the NDP leadership convention. He won the 1975 leadership election to succeed Lewis, and led the party through four elections.

In his early years as leader of the party, Broadbent was criticized for his long and complex speeches on industrial organization, but he came to be known as an honest and charismatic politician in person. He was one of the first Canadian politicians to stage a large number of political events in the workplace. During his tenure, the NDP became the second party in much of western Canada.

The NDP finished with 30 seats in the 1984 campaign, just ten behind the Liberal Party led by John Turner. Several polls afterward showed that Broadbent was the most popular party leader in Canada. Broadbent was the only leader ever to take the NDP to first place in public opinion polling, and some pundits felt that the NDP could supplant Turner's Liberals as the primary opposition to Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives.

Nonetheless, he was not successful in translating this into an election victory in the 1988 federal election, since the Liberals reaped most of the benefits from opposing free trade. However, the NDP won 43 seats, a record unchallenged until the 2011 election, in which the NDP won 103 seats and Jack Layton became the leader of the opposition.

On the international front, while Willy Brandt was President of the Socialist International, Broadbent served as a Vice-President from 1979 to 1989. He stepped down after 15 years as federal leader of the NDP in 1989 at the Winnipeg Convention, where he was succeeded by Audrey McLaughlin. In the decade following Broadbent's retirement from politics, the federal NDP declined in popularity. It would not come close to the popularity it enjoyed under Broadbent until Layton took over the leadership in 2003.

Broadbent was director of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development from 1990 to 1996. In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 2001.

Broadbent spent a year as Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford, in 1996-7. At Layton's invitation, he returned to politics in 2004, with the aid of a humorous and popular video clip,[3] to successfully run for Parliament in the riding of Ottawa Centre, where he now lives. He easily defeated Liberal candidate Richard Mahoney, a close ally of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Broadbent and Jack Layton at a 2008 election rally in Toronto

In the NDP shadow cabinet, Broadbent was Critic for Democracy: Parliamentary & Electoral Reform, Corporate Accountability as well as Child Poverty.

On May 4, 2005, he announced that he would not seek re-election in the 2006 federal election in order to spend time with his wife, Lucille, who was suffering from cancer. She died on November 17, 2006.

Partial election results[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2004: Ottawa Centre
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
New Democratic Ed Broadbent 25,734 41.05% $75,600.35
Liberal Richard Mahoney 19,478 31.07% $77,325.72
Conservative Mike Murphy 11,933 19.03% $37,895.42
Green David Chernushenko 4,730 7.54% $24,313.40
Marijuana Michael Foster 455 0.72%
Independent Robert Gauthier 121 0.19%
Communist Stuart Ryan 90 0.14 $379.63
Canadian Action Carla Marie Dancey 76 0.12%
Marxist–Leninist Louis Lang 67 0.10%
Total valid votes 62,684 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 270
Turnout 62,954 70.35%

Retirement[edit]

In November 2008, Broadbent and former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien came out of retirement to help negotiate a formal coalition agreement between the Liberals and the New Democratic Party, which would be supported by the Bloc Québécois. The coalition was formed in a bid to replace the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and would have been the first in Canada since World War I.[4]

On June 17, 2011, he announced the creation of the Broadbent Institute to explore social democratic policy and ideas. The Institute's purpose is to "explore social democratic policy and ideas." It provides a vehicle for social democratic and progressive academics, provides education and trains activists. It is independent of the New Democratic party.[5]

On September 12, 2011 he endorsed Brian Topp for leadership of the NDP.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
David Lewis
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
1975–1989
Succeeded by
Audrey McLaughlin
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Electoral District created in 1968 known as Oshawa—Whitby until 1979
Member of Parliament For Oshawa
1968–1990
Succeeded by
Mike Breaugh
NDP
Preceded by
Mac Harb
Liberal
Member of Parliament For Ottawa Centre
2004–2006
Succeeded by
Paul Dewar
NDP