John Williamson (Canadian politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Williamson
John Williamson MP.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for New Brunswick Southwest
Assumed office
May 30, 2011
Preceded by Greg Thompson
director of communications, Prime Minister's Office
In office
August 27, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Preceded by Kory Teneycke
Succeeded by Dimitri Soudas
Personal details
Born (1970-01-30) January 30, 1970 (age 45)
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Political party Conservative

John Williamson (born January 30, 1970) is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 election.[1] He represents the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest as a member of the Conservative Party.


Williamson graduated from McGill University with a degree in economics and political science. He later went on to receive a Master’s degree in economic history at the London School of Economics.

Before politics[edit]

He joined the National Post as an editorial writer and was a founding member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He is a past national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

In 2009, Williamson was appointed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications and was responsible for overseeing government-wide communications. He stepped down in 2010 in order to prepare his campaign after deciding to run for elected office, and was succeeded as director of communications by Dimitri Soudas.


Williamson is an outspoken MP who sometimes speaks up against his own government policies, such as C-30,[2] a bill that ignited some controversy about online anonymity.

Williamson is also responsible for creating public calls for an oil pipeline to Saint John, New Brunswick, that would carry Alberta oilsands crude to the east for refining.[3] As well as creating a federal "Sunshine" list[4] that would publish the salary information of public servants who earn over $100,000 per year, as is done in some provinces.

In April 2012 Williamson visited Toronto restaurant owner, Naveen Popalardy, who was charged by Toronto Police with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance (a reference to the thrown spices) after allegedly defending his property from a repeated thief using spices from his kitchen. Williamson was quoted[5] as saying "Like a lot of Canadians, when I heard this story I was outraged and concerned that once again the Toronto Police had targeted the wrong individual" referring to the previous case of David Chen who had been charged when he apprehended a thief who had been stealing from his Chinatown store.[6]

On June 1, 2012 a story about Williamson's dismay in regard to International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda's travel expense claims surfaced in a CBC article.[7] Williamson stated that he had brought the claims up in a caucus meeting but would not specify what he said due to caucus confidence. A member of his staff did, however, mention it could be taken in context of Williamson's past days as the National Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

In March 2013 Williamson joined several backbench Conservative MPs in speaking to a Point of Privilege launched by MP Mark Warawa to the Speaker. Williamson advocated to increase the freedom of individual MPs to speak in the House of Commons by encouraging the Speaker to recognize any MP who wishes to make a Member's Statement and also to pose a question in Question Period. The practice of the Speaker up to that point had been to recognize MPs who were allocated speaking spots by each party's leadership.[8]

Williamson has said Alward should schedule the Senate vote for the same day as the 2014 provincial election. "I worry that if we wait until 2016, we're going to miss an opportunity, when the next Senate vacancy after that won't be until 2020, and that's an awfully long time," Williamson said.[9]

He also supported Bill C-461, a controversial private member's bill that would have enacted a law that would publicly disclose the names and salaries of every federal employee earning in excess of $188,000. In a speech supporting the bill, Williamson stated that he thought the threshold should be even lower, and set at the rate of pay of MPs, which was $157,000 at the time.[10]

On October 1, 2014, Williamson made a statement in the House of Commons criticising the incoming Liberal provincial government in New Brunswick over its moratorium on shale gas development.[11]

Long-gun registry[edit]

On April 5, 2012, the Conservative majority in the Canadian Senate voted to scrap the long-gun registry. In a speech in the House of Commons, Williamson quoted Martin Luther King: "Free at last, free at last", accompanied by cheers by other Conservative MPs. This comment dismayed many, who thought it inappropriate to paraphrase the words of a man who was killed by a rifle.[12]