Sheila White (politician)

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For other bearers of this name, see Sheila White (disambiguation).

Sheila White (born ca. 1954) is a Canadian activist. She ran for elected office five times, in Toronto, Canada, but never won a seat.

White worked as a senior aide to then-North York mayor Mel Lastman from 1985 to 1998, in charge of communications, media and community programs. She was then employed for five years as special advisor to Howard Hampton and the Ontario New Democratic Party and worked as media and communications director for the party's 2003 election campaign. She served as executive assistant to Member of Provincial Parliament for Hamilton Centreand Ontario New Democratic Party Leader, Andrea Horwath from 2004 - 2011.

White is President and CEO of WORDS Media & Communications Inc, which she founded in 1998 to provide consulting expertise. See She has appeared numerous times as a commentator on radio and television political panels. Currently White is the left-leaning municipal affairs panelist on CBC Radio One's "Here and Now".

White is an environmental pioneer in the study of litter and littering, is the owner and creator of and publisher of a Sunday weekly newsletter, This Week in Litterland. On November 19, 2012, she and her partner Alex King filed an application under Section 61 of the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights requesting the Province of Ontario to review the issue of littering. Source: Application#12EBR009.R

A talented musician and composer, Sheila White is Musical Director at Don Heights Unitarian Congregation in Toronto.

Family history[edit]

White is the daughter of a mixed race couple and part of a musically talented family. Her father, Order of Canada recipient Bill White, was a longtime member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and ran as the party's candidate in Spadina in the 1949 federal election, becoming the first Black Canadian to run for federal office. Both Sheila and her parents are Unitarian Universalists.[1] She is also a cousin of Canadian Senator Donald Oliver and writer George Elliott Clarke, niece of famed contralto singer and national historic figure Portia White and labour union activist Jack White, and granddaughter of clergyman William A. White, who, during World War I, became the first Black officer in British North America. He led the Second Construction Battalion as chaplain, the only black chaplain in the entire British Army.

Electoral history[edit]

White has twice run as a municipal candidate for Toronto City Council in Scarborough's Ward 44, placing second in the 1999 by-election and 2000 municipal election.[2] She ran federally for the NDP in Scarborough—Guildwood in the 2004 federal election.

Subsequently, White was the NDP candidate in the provincial Scarborough—Rouge River by-election in November 2005 to replace Ontario Liberal Party Member of Provincial Parliament Alvin Curling.[3] Curling had held the riding or predecessors thereto for twenty years prior to his resignation, on August 19, 2005, to accept a diplomatic appointment.

In the ensuing byelection, the riding was won by Toronto city councillor Bas Balkissoon with 58% of the vote. White captured 15% of the vote, finishing third behind Progressive Conservative candidate Cynthia Lai with 24% of the vote. A snowstorm caused the worst voter turnout in 30 years. Only 19% of voters cast a ballot.

White ran again in Scarborough—Rouge River as the NDP candidate in the 2007 provincial election.[4] She again finished third.

Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Bas Balkissoon 22,362 65.2
Progressive Conservative Horace Gooden 4,962 14.5
New Democratic Sheila White 4,646 13.5
Green Serge Abbat 1,275 3.7
Family Coalition Joseph Carvalho 581 1.7
Libertarian Alan Mercer 492 1.4
Ontario byelection, November 24, 2005
Party Candidate Votes % +/-
Liberal Bas Balkissoon 9,347 57.6 -6.2
Progressive Conservative Cynthia Lai 4,032 24.9 -0.3
New Democratic Sheila White 2,425 14.9 +8.9
Green Steven Toman 167 1.2 -2.3
Libertarian Alan Mercer 100 0.6 -
Family Coalition Rina Morra 93 0.6 -0.8
Freedom Wayne Simmons 59 0.4 -
Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal John McKay 20,950
Conservative Tom Varesh 8,277
New Democratic Sheila White 5,885
Green Paul Charbonneau 1,106
Canadian Action Brenda Thompson 200