Frank Klees

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Frank Klees
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
In office
October 10, 2007 – June 12, 2014
Preceded by Riding Created
Succeeded by Chris Ballard
Constituency Newmarket—Aurora
In office
June 3, 1999 – October 10, 2007
Preceded by Riding Created
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Constituency Oak Ridges
In office
June 8, 1995 – June 3, 1999
Preceded by Charles Beer
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Constituency York—Mackenzie
Personal details
Born (1951-03-06) March 6, 1951 (age 63)
Landau, West Germany
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Aurora, Ontario
Occupation Businessman
Religion Evangelical

Frank Klees (born March 6, 1951) is a Canadian politician who was the Progressive Conservative member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Newmarket—Aurora north of Toronto from 2007 to 2014. He was a candidate in the 2009 Progressive Conservative leadership election, placing second behind victor Tim Hudak.

Early life[edit]

Klees was born in Landau, West Germany. His parents were Danube Swabians, German pioneers whose ancestors settled in parts of eastern Europe that would later be known as Hungary and Yugoslavia. At the age of five, Klees came with his family to Canada by boat and settled in Leamington, Ontario.

Business career[edit]

Klees first ran for the Ontario legislature in the 1975 provincial election in a traditionally Liberal riding, narrowly losing to Liberal Remo Mancini in the southwestern riding of Essex South. He lost to Mancini a second time in the 1977 election, and did not run as a candidate again until 1995. He remained active as a party member.

He worked as a businessman the intervening years, beginning in the financial services sector with the Canada Life Assurance Co. He then became an entrepreneur, and started a sports agency which represented professional athletes. Klees also co-founded the Municipal Gas Corporation in 1990, and served as its executive vice-president until 1997. When he sold the business, it had grown to a significant enterprise with 55,000 customers.

Klees sat on the board of the controversial Universal Energy Corporation, a natural gas and electricity retailer which has been fined by the Ontario Energy Board on several occasions and frequently criticised by its own customers as being a scam.[1] When Universal was bought out by Just Energy he was presented a seat on the board of their Exchange corporation.[2]

Political career[edit]

From 1992 to 1994, he was third vice-president and policy chair of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Klees was first elected to the legislature in the election of 1995, defeating former Liberal leadership candidate Charles Beer in York North. He was easily re-elected in the 1999 provincial election after being drawn into the new riding of Oak Ridges, and on June 17, 1999 joined the cabinet of Premier Mike Harris as Chief Government Whip, Deputy House Leader and Minister without Portfolio.

In 2000, Klees was preparing to run as a candidate for the leadership of the new Canadian Alliance, but withdrew because one of his key financial backers insisted on a last-minute deal to make a significant funding commitment conditional on Klees throwing his support to one of the other candidates on the second ballot.

Klees stepped down from his ministerial position on July 30, 2001 for what he described as personal reasons. After returning to the backbenches for a year, he was reappointed to cabinet on October 3, 2002 as Minister of Tourism under Harris' successor, Ernie Eves. On February 25, 2003, he became Minister of Transportation, and served in that position until the defeat of the Eves government in the October 2003 election.

Klees was re-elected in 2003 (one of 24 Progressive Conservatives elected) and was a candidate in the 2004 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership election which took place on September 18, 2004. He was endorsed by Tory MPPs Jerry Ouellette, Ted Chudleigh and Bill Murdoch, and groups such as the Conservative Youth Coalition. The other candidates in the race were Whitby-Ajax MPP Jim Flaherty and former Rogers Communications CEO John Tory.

Klees made healthcare his biggest priority in the campaign. He was the only candidate to openly endorse a semi-privatized health care system. Other key issues of his campaign were school choice, physical education in the school system, OHIP statements, and foreign-trained doctors applying for employment.

He was eliminated from the contest after placing third on the first ballot; Tory subsequently won on the second ballot. Klees increased his profile during the campaign, and is currently the Progressive Conservative Critic for Education and Citizenship & Immigration in the Legislature as well as a member of the Justice Committee.

Klees did better in the 2009 leadership race, placing second behind the winner, Tim Hudak. The single biggest campaign contribution of $32,000 was made by OPTUS Capital Corporation, owned by Universal Energy Corporation's founder and CEO Mark Silver. It accounted for 20% of the total contributions. [1]

Klees lives in Aurora, Ontario. He was elected in the newly created provincial riding of Newmarket-Aurora in the Ontario general election, 2007. He was re-elected in the 2011 Ontario election; he did not run in the 2014 election.[3]

2011 Speaker Election[edit]

On October 25, 2011 the Toronto Star revealed that Klees had turned down an appointment to Tim Hudak's shadow cabinet because he planned to run for Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The minority Liberal government was one seat short of forming a majority and if Klees had been elected Speaker, he would have given the government a working majority as the speaker usually votes with the government in motions of non-confidence.[4] The move was met with derision from other Conservatives with one MPP telling the Toronto Star: “This is the equivalent of crossing the floor... The Liberals better support him, because Frank doesn’t have a lot of friends in our caucus today.”[4] Klees withdrew his candidacy on October 29, 2011 due to lack of support.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Steele, Andrew (June 1, 2009). "Watching the detectives - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  2. ^ http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/private/board.asp?privcapId=30823371
  3. ^ Benzie, Robert (January 21, 2014). "MPP Frank Klees won’t seek re-election". Toronto Star. 
  4. ^ a b Ferguson, Rob; Benzie, Robert (October 25, 2011). "Klees to run for speaker, throws Tories into disarray". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ Benzie, Robert (October 29, 2011). "Klees aborts controversial run for speaker". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Provincial Government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Norm Sterling Minister of Transportation
2003
Harinder Takhar
new post Minister of Tourism (Ontario)
2002–2003
Jim Bradley
Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
n/a Minister without Portfolio
1999–2001
n/a