Phil Gillies

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Phil Gillies
MPP for Brantford
In office
Preceded by Mac Makarchuk
Succeeded by Dave Neumann
Personal details
Born (1954-05-07) May 7, 1954 (age 60)
Hertfordshire, England
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Brantford, Ontario
Profession Advertising executive

Philip Andrew Gillies (born May 7, 1954) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1981 to 1987 as a Progressive Conservative, and was a cabinet minister in the government of Frank Miller.


Gillies was educated at Queenborough in Kent, England. After moving to Ontario, he completed his education at the University of Western Ontario and worked as an advertising executive.


He ran for the Ontario legislature in the 1977 provincial election, but lost to New Democratic Party candidate Mac Makarchuk in the riding of Brantford.[1] In 1977 and 1978, Gillies worked as research assistant to Ontario Premier Bill Davis.[2] He ran again in the 1981 election, and defeated Makarchuk by over 3,000 votes.[3]

Gillies served as a backbench supporter of the Davis government, and endorsed Larry Grossman for the party leadership in January 1985. When Miller became the Premier of Ontario on February 8, 1985, he named Gillies as a minister without portfolio.[4]

The Progressive Conservative Party was reduced to a tenuous minority government following the 1985 provincial election. Gillies himself was narrowly re-elected in Brantford, defeating NDP candidate Jack Tubman by 1,141 votes.[5] He was promoted to Minister of Skills Development on May 17, 1985[2][6] but accomplished little before the Tories were defeated in a non-confidence motion in the house two months later.

In opposition, Gillies served as his party's critic for skills development, labour and the environment. Gillies took an interest in labour and human rights issues, and was one of the first PC MPPs to work for LGBT rights in Ontario.[7] He was defeated in the 1987 provincial election, finishing third against Liberal candidate Dave Neumann.[8]

Gillies ran communications and advertising for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the 1990 provincial election in support of new party leader Mike Harris.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Frank Miller
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Phil Gillies Minister of Skills Development
1985 (May - June)
Also Responsible for Youth
Greg Sorbara
Provincial Government of Bob Rae
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Title Successor
' Minister without portfolio
1985 (February - May)
Responsible for Youth

Later life[edit]

After leaving politics, Gillies became a vice-president of the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton.[2] He later worked as a consultant for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the Royal Bank of Canada and other corporations and non-profit organizations,[2] and came out as gay.[9] He has served as a director of Orchestra London, the Brant Social Development Council, the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, and the Enos Foundation, and serves on the advisory council of Proud Politics. Gillies currently works on endangered species issues for the WildAid Conservation Society.[2]

In 2011, Gillies helped spearhead a national campaign to have shark fin banned in Canada. He led his hometown of Brantford to become the first municipality in North America to ban the trade and possession of shark in through a by-law passed on May 24, 2011.[10] This led to the introduction of similar legislation in Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga and other Canadian cities.

Gillies ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Brant in the 2014 election,[11] but was not re-elected to the legislature.

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 1987: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Dave Neumann 14,919 41.29 $35,227
     New Democratic Party Jack Tubman 12,112 33.52 $33,914
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 9,104 25.19 $42,033
Total valid votes/Expenditure limit 36,135 100.00 $46,944
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 219
Turnout 36,354 68.88
Electors on the lists 52,776

Ontario general election, 1985: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 13,444 41.65 $40,482
     New Democratic Party Jack Tubman 12,303 38.11 $23,157
Liberal Herb German 6,533 20.24 $14,378
Total valid votes 32,280 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 162
Turnout 32,442 64.87
Electors on the lists 50,013

Ontario general election, 1981: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 12,847 45.35
New Democratic Mac Makarchuk 9,588 33.84
Liberal Herb German 5,896 20.81
Total valid votes 28,331 100.00
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 129
Turnout 28,460 59.43
Electors on the lists 47,887

Ontario general election, 1977: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     New Democratic Party Mac Makarchuk 13,376 46.79 $17,720
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 9,081 31.77 $26,618
Liberal Arne Zabell 6,130 21.44 $8,868
Total valid votes 28,587 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 156
Turnout 28,743 64.87
Electors on the lists 44,311


  1. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Tory picks Gillies to run campaign". Brantford Expositor. June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Winds of change, sea of security". The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario). p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  4. ^ "The Ontario Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. February 9, 1985. p. 4. 
  5. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13. 
  6. ^ "The new Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. May 18, 1985. p. 11. 
  7. ^ "25 years later, a world of change for LGBT". Brantford Expositor. November 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  9. ^ "PC party running three gay candidates in Ontario election". Xtra!. May 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Brantford is first city to ban shark fin". CTV News. June 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hudak backed Gillies from get-go". Brantford Expositor. April 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]