BComm MDiv DMin MP
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Don Valley West
November 18, 2008 – 2011
|Preceded by||John Godfrey|
|Succeeded by||John Carmichael|
June 7, 1956 |
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
|Spouse(s)||Marco A. Fiola|
|Religion||United Church of Canada|
Robert "Rob" Oliphant (born June 7, 1956) is a Canadian politician and a United Church minister. He served in the House of Commons as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Don Valley West from 2008 to 2011.
Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Oliphant studied Commerce and Finance at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1978, with a Bachelor of Commerce. While at university he rowed on the Men’s Varsity Rowing Crew, was involved in music and student politics. Upon graduating from U of T, he returned to Sault Ste. Marie and worked at Algoma Steel as an accountant in computer systems development.
Oliphant lives in Sherwood Park, Toronto with his partner, Marco Fiola, a professor of Applied Linguistics at Ryerson University.
Oliphant was sponsored as a candidate for ministry by his home church, Central United Church in Sault Ste. Marie.
Oliphant remained in Sault Ste. Marie for two years before entering the Vancouver School of Theology at the University of British Columbia. After completing his studies at UBC, Oliphant was ordained as a United Church Minister in 1984. Oliphant has been stationed in diverse communities such as Montreal, Toronto, Quyon, Quebec, Newfoundland and Whitehorse.
Between 1999 and 2008, Oliphant was a member of the Team Ministry at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto, one of the largest congregations in the United Church of Canada. In 2004, he was given an award for 18 years of continuous work in interfaith dialogue.
Political involvement prior to election
Oliphant worked as a senior advisor in the Ontario government. In 1989, he was asked by then-Premier David Peterson to work in a senior role in the Premier's office. He subsequently went on to serve as Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to two ministers, Mavis Wilson, Ontario Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, and Christine Hart, Ontario Minister of Culture and Communications.
Oliphant has worked on many campaigns at both the federal and provincial levels, and has held official positions in the party. He was an active young Liberal serving as President of the University of Toronto Liberal Club, Chair of "Youth for Peterson," and served on the Executive of the Ontario New (Young) Liberals. In anticipation of a federal election in 1978, Oliphant was part of a group of young Liberals who trained in tour operations for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He has worked in campaigns in Sault Ste. Marie, for candidates including Alex Sinclair and Ron Irwin, in Toronto, for Margaret Campbell, Roy MacLaren, Carolyn Bennett, Allan Rock and several others, and in Yukon, for former Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Shirley Adamson. During the 2006 federal leadership race, Oliphant was an advisor to Michael Ignatieff’s campaign.
In December 2006, columnist Michael Valpy mentioned Oliphant's name as a possible contender for the federal Liberal nomination for Toronto Centre should Bill Graham decide not to seek re-election. It was subsequently reported in January 2007 that Oliphant was hosting exploratory meetings in the riding. However, Oliphant did not pursue this bid, deferring to former NDP Premier Bob Rae who became the Liberal candidate in this riding.
In January 2008, Oliphant sought the federal Liberal nomination of Don Valley West after John Godfrey announced his retirement. Others interested in the nomination included former Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte, prominent constitutional expert Deborah Coyne, local imam Abdul Ingar, and Jonathan Mousley. During the nomination process, Coyne accused Oliphant and Bulte supporters of signing up members who hadn't paid a membership fee, a violation of party rules. Members of the press contacted several people who had signed up as members who confirmed they had not paid a fee. Oliphant replied that he had instructed his campaign team to follow the rules.
On February 25, 2008, Coyne withdrew from the nomination race and endorsed Oliphant. On March 2, 2008, he won the nomination in the fourth round of voting to become the Liberal party candidate in the federal by-election. The by-election had been called for September 22, 2008, but this was cancelled in the wake of the general election called for October 14, 2008.
Oliphant was elected to the House of Commons on October 14, 2008.
He was named to the Shadow Cabinet by Stéphane Dion as Critic for Veterans Affairs in November 2008. He was appointed to the same post by Michael Ignatieff in October 2009. On September 7, 2010, in announcing the team of Opposition Critics, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff named Oliphant to the Multiculturalism post.
He served as the co-chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, treasurer-secretary of the Canada-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group and vice-chair of the All Party Arts Caucus, the Liberal Caucus’ Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison with Queen’s Park on Ontario Issues, and the Federal Caucus Liaison of the Ontario Young Liberals.
Asthma Society of Canada
In November 2011, Oliphant joined the Asthma Society of Canada as President & CEO, succeeding Christine Hampson.
- Clan Oliphant, a Highland Scottish clan
- United Church of Canada
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Asthma Society of Canada
- Liberals take aim at Toronto Centre, Globe and Mail, December 9, 2006
- Liberals ready to rumble, Globe and Mail, January 20, 2007
- "Orchard knew Liberals wanted an aboriginal woman in Sask. byelection: Goodale", Canadian Press, January 9, 2008
- Rana, Abbas, "Don Valley West Liberal nomination getting crowded, Bulte and Mousley interested", Hill Times, January 14, 2008
- "Bitter fight for Liberal nomination in Don Valley West", Canadian Press, February 15, 2008
- Lisa Queen. Oliphant wins tough federal Liberal race. Inside Toronto. March 3, 2008. 
- Queen, Lisa, "Oliphant wins tough federal Liberal race", The (East York-Rivedale) Mirror, March 3, 2008, accessed March 4, 2008
- "Who's running in your riding?", Xtra!, September 16, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rob Oliphant.|