Peter Shurman

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Peter Shurman
Ontario MPP
In office
2007–2013
Preceded by Mario Racco
Succeeded by Gila Martow
Constituency Thornhill
Personal details
Born (1947-11-18) November 18, 1947 (age 67)
Montreal, Quebec
Political party Progressive Conservative
Children 2
Residence Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Alma mater Sir George Williams University
Occupation Broadcaster, entrepreneur

Peter Shurman (born November 18, 1947) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2007 to 2013 who represented the riding of Thornhill. Prior to his time in the legislature, he was a radio talk show host on CFRB in Toronto.

Background[edit]

Shurman was born in Montreal, Quebec. He attended Sir George Williams University, now Concordia University, and apprenticed in communications with Standard Broadcasting, holding various positions with the company's Montreal AM and FM stations, CJAD and CJFM, including general manager.[1] Shurman left university without completing his BA degree and started out in technical maintenance, progressing through a number of positions including program announcing, reporting, sales, and management. He moved to Toronto in 1983 and eventually became Standard Broadcasting's President of Radio at age 36.[1]

Shurman left Standard Broadcasting in 1987. His activities immediately thereafter included buying 14 radio stations for a total of $22.5 million in less than one year for third parties; undertaking an assignment to grow a minor Toronto paging company, into one of the area's largest and most important operators in only eighteen months; applying for an FM radio licence in Toronto in 1990. When the licence was not granted, he purchased an ailing telephone answering service, The Receptionists Ltd., and renamed it Universal TeleResponse Corporation. UTR became a multi-million dollar enterprise handling 7x24 communications for FP/Fortune 500 companies.

After 22 years in the radio broadcasting business, Shurman became CEO and principal shareholder in 1991 of Universal TeleResponse Corporation (UTR), a call centre in North Toronto.

In 2003, Shurman sold UTR and remained for one year as part of the sale agreement before returning to broadcasting. He was a talk radio host for CFRB until announcing his intention to run in the 2007 Ontario provincial election.

Politics[edit]

In 2007, Shurman ran for the Progressive Conservative nomination for the riding of Thornhill and was challenged by Norm Gardner.[2] John Tory, the party leader at the time requested that Gardner step aside for Shurman. Shurman then successfully campaigned as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the Ontario general election, 2007 becoming the MPP for the riding of Thornhill. His election provided focus for the issue surrounding public funding of private faith-based schools, a major issue in Thornhill which has a large Jewish (35%) population.

Towards the end of 2008, York University (a university that is close to Shurman's political riding) was effectively shut down due to a call for a strike by Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903. Shurman became involved with a student anti-strike group, York Not Hostage and was successful in bringing significant pressure to bear on the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty.[citation needed] Back-to-work legislation was presented to the Legislature which was recalled from winter break to pass it and bring an end to the strike.

Shurman subsequently brought a resolution to the floor of the Ontario Legislative Assembly condemning Israeli Apartheid Week on Ontario campuses. The resolution, debated in late February 2010, passed unanimously. Shurman also co-sponsored two private member's bills with Liberal and NDP members. One proclaimed May as Jewish Heritage Month in Ontario and the other created Italian Heritage Month in the province every June. Both of these bills became law and the affected communities celebrate annually.

During his tenure he served as the Opposition Critic for Economic Development & Trade, Francophone Affairs and was Vice-Chair of the Legislature's Standing Committee on Public Accounts. He served as PC Caucus Finance Critic until September 8, 2013 when he was removed from the position after a "heated exchange" with party leader Tim Hudak in which Shurman refused to repay a housing allowance he had received for a Toronto apartment . Shurman was permitted to do this under the rules as he had moved his principal residence from his riding to Niagara-on-the-Lake which is more than 50 kilometres away from the provincial capital.[3] It was later reported that Shurman had proposed to Hudak that he run in a Niagara area riding, in or near his new home, in the 2011 provincial election but Hudak insisted he run in Thornhill because he was concerned that the seat would otherwise be lost.[4] Hudak refused to admit to media that he was aware of the accommodation arrangement which Shurman noted had been discussed with Hudak in early 2011. In the October 2011 election, Shurman ran and held his Thornhill seat against a challenge by former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber, running as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate.

In December 2013, leaks to media suggested an impending resignation would be tendered by Shurman - December 9th, 2013. Shurman received a letter dated December 3rd and delivered by hand to his office on December 8th by senior staff of Progressive Conservative leader, Tim Hudak. The letter admonished Shurman for claiming mileage from his Niagara-on-the-Lake home to Toronto as an expense, something specifically cleared by the Legislative Finance Department. Shurman dismissed Hudak's accusation as nonsensical and politically motivated and labeled it 'bogus'. He did announce (on December 9th) that he would resign his seat effective December 31. In a letter to his constituents, he said, "The decision is entirely my own and results from lengthy reflection and discussion with family... I have concluded that continuing with my political career would be a mistake for me."[5][6]

Peter Shurman continues to reside in Niagara-on-the-Lake and is engaged in consulting activities and broadcasting.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fasten your chinstrap: Former CJAD broadcaster takes seat in Ontario legislature". The Gazette (Montreal). October 15, 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Nomination headaches dog Tories". Toronto Star. June 26, 2007. 
  3. ^ Morrow, Adrian (September 8, 2013). "Shurman dropped as Ontario PC finance critic after billing taxpayers for second home". The Globe and Mail. 
  4. ^ "Peter Shurman was discouraged from running in riding where new home was". Toronto Star. September 10, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman announces resignation". Toronto Sun. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Tory MPP Peter Shurman resigns amid another spending controversy". Globe and Mail. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]