Leader of the Opposition (Ontario)

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For the Leader of the Opposition in other parliamentary systems, see Leader of the Opposition.

The Leader of the Opposition in Ontario is usually leader of the largest party in the Ontario legislature which is not the government. The current official opposition is formed by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party; Jim Wilson is the current Leader of the Opposition.

Ontario's first Leader of the Opposition was Edward Blake of the Ontario Liberal Party who held the position from 1869 until 1871 when he became Premier of Ontario (Archibald McKellar had previously led the Liberal Party in the legislature for two years, but was not formally recognized as opposition leader).

  • Archibald McKellar (Liberal) 1867-1869 was not formally recognized as opposition leader, but led the Liberal Party in the legislature.
# Leader Party Took office Left office
    1. Edward Blake Liberal December 1869 December 1871
    2. Matthew Crooks Cameron Conservative December 1871 1878
    3. William Ralph Meredith Conservative October 1878 October 1894
    4. George Marter Conservative October 1894 April 1896
    5. James Whitney Conservative April 1896 January 1905
    6. George William Ross Liberal February 1905 January 1907
    7. George Graham Liberal January 1907 August 1907
    8. Alexander Grant MacKay Liberal August 1907 1911
    9. Newton Wesley Rowell Liberal December 1911 1917
    10. William Proudfoot Liberal February 1918 October 1919
    11. Hartley Dewart Liberal 1919 October 1921
    12. Wellington Hay Liberal March 1922 June 1923
    13. William Sinclair 1 2 Liberal August 1923 June 1934
    14. George Henry Conservative July 1935 December 1938
    15. George Drew Conservative/Progressive Conservative 1939 1943
    16. Ted Jolliffe CCF August 1943 June 1945
    17. Farquhar Oliver Liberal July 1945 June 1948
     - Ted Jolliffe (second time) CCF July 1948 November 1951
     - Farquhar Oliver 3 (second time) Liberal 1951 April 1958
    18. John Wintermeyer Liberal April 1958 August 1963
     - Farquhar Oliver 4 (third time) Liberal October 1963 September 1964
    19. Andy Thompson Liberal September 1964 November 1966
    20. Robert Nixon Liberal February 1967 September 18, 1975
    21. Stephen Lewis NDP October 28, 1975 April 29, 1977
    22. Stuart Smith Liberal June 1977 September 1981
     - Robert Nixon 5 (second time) Liberal January 25, 1982 February 21, 1982
    23. David Peterson Liberal February 1982 June 1985
    24. Frank Miller Progressive Conservative 1985 1985
    25. Larry Grossman Progressive Conservative 1985 1987
    26. Bob Rae NDP 1987 1990
     - Robert Nixon 6 (third time) Liberal November 20, 1990 July 31, 1991[1]
    27. Murray Elston 7 Liberal 1991 1991
    28. Jim Bradley 8 Liberal 1991 1992
    29. Lyn McLeod Liberal 1992 1996
    30. Dalton McGuinty Liberal 1996 2003
    31. Ernie Eves Progressive Conservative 2003 2004
    32. Bob Runciman 9 Progressive Conservative 2004 2005
    33. John Tory Progressive Conservative 2005 2007
     - Bob Runciman (second time) 10 Progressive Conservative 2007 2009
    34. Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative 2009 2014
    35. Jim Wilson11 Progressive Conservative 2014

1The Liberals were recognized as the Official Opposition following the 1923 election by the governing Conservatives, despite the fact that the United Farmers of Ontario had more seats. According to historian Peter Oliver, this was an arbitrary decision without basis in precedent or law. Conservative Premier G. Howard Ferguson used as justification an announcement by UFO general secretary James J. Morrison that the UFO would be withdrawing from party politics, though Oliver argues that this was facetious logic. UFO parliamentary leader Manning Doherty protested the decision, but to no avail. (source: Peter Oliver, G. Howard Ferguson: Ontario Tory, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977), p. 158.)

2From 1930, the Liberal Party was led by Mitchell Hepburn, but Sinclair continued as Leader of the Opposition as Hepburn did not seek a seat in the legislature until the 1934 general election which made him Premier.

3 Until 1954, the Liberals were led from outside the legislature by Walter Thomson with Oliver as acting Leader of the Opposition. Oliver led the party in his own right (for a second time) from 1954 until 1958.

4 Interim Leader of the Opposition following the personal defeat of Wintermeyer in the 1963 provincial election until Thompson's election as leader.

5 Interim leader of the party and Opposition following the resignation of Stuart Smith.

6 Interim leader of the party and Opposition following the personal defeat of Premier David Peterson in the 1990 election.

7 Elston became interim leader when Nixon resigned from the legislature to accept a federal appointment. Elston stepped down in November when he decided to be a candidate at the Liberal leadership convention.

8 Interim leader between resignation of Elston and election of McLeod.

9 John Tory was chosen as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party on September 18, 2004, but did not hold a seat in the legislature. On September 28 the party announced that Bob Runciman would act as interim Leader of the Opposition until Tory entered the legislature. Tory was elected to represent Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey on March 17, 2005 and was sworn in as an MPP and leader of the opposition on March 29, 2005.

10 As Ontario PC leader John Tory did not win a seat in the 2007 election, he appointed Runciman as interim Leader of the Opposition. (Tory had been running in the Don Valley West riding.) After spending more than a year outside the legislature, Tory sought a seat in the March 5, 2009 by-election in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.[2] He lost this by-election, and thereafter resigned as party leader, being replaced by Hudak.

11 Wilson served as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative party following the resignation of Tim Hudak.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do?locale=en&ID=412
  2. ^ "McGuinty calls byelection in Tory's riding", CTV Toronto, February 4, 2009.