Tom Murray (politician)
|City Councillor, Hamilton, Ontario|
|Succeeded by||Frank D'Amico|
Tom Murray is a politician in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was an alderman for Ward 8 between 1982 and 1991, and later campaigned for mayor of the city. By profession, he is an electrician with Dofasco (Hamilton Spectator, 14 November 1991).
Murray was born in Scotland, and came to Canada with his family at age three. He was raised in a family that supported the left-wing New Democratic Party, and was initially elected to council as an NDP supporter (Spectator, 30 October 1997 and 7 November 2003). His ideology shifted to the right during his time in office, however, and he expressed socially conservative views on several occasions. He called for the restoration of the death penalty in 1991, and was a vocal opponent of plans to bring gender-neutral language to city positions (Hamilton Spectator, 9 October 1991).
He was a controversial figure on council, and was sometimes accused of uncivil and aggressive behaviour toward his colleagues. He was involved in a 1991 parking-lot altercation with fellow councillor Dave Wilson, and on another occasion described councillor Dominic Agostino as a "political prostitute" (Hamilton Spectator, 9 November 1991). Terry Cooke, a leading politician in the city, once described Murray as a "political bully". Other councillors, including Cooke's longtime rival Henry Merling, were more supportive.
He chaired the Hamilton Parks and Recreation Committee in the late 1980s, and favoured a total ban of smoking in recreational areas in 1988 (Globe and Mail, 7 January 1988). He was appointed to the Hamilton-Wentworth Police Services Board in 1989, and remained a member until his defeat at the polls in 1991.
Murray was found guilty of impersonating a police officer in 1992, when a court determined he had flashed his police commissioner's badge to a taxi driver while ordering her to leave an area that was blocking his car (Spectator, 22 July 1992). The conviction was later overturned on a technicality (Spectator, 23 January 1993). Murray denied the accusation, and described the result as a vindication of his position.
He attempted to return to council in 1994 and 1997, but was defeated both times. In 2002, he appeared at a campaign rally in support of Ernie Eves's bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (Spectator, 22 February 2002).
Murray launched a bid to become mayor of Hamilton in 2003, emphasizing infrastructure and "law and order" issues. He argued that he would cut subsidies to professional sports teams in order to pay for the city's police and firefighters, and supported construction of the Red Hill Creek Expressway (Spectator, 3 May and 7 November 2003). Some considered him a spoiler candidate, and argued that he would take support away from right-leaning candidate Larry Di Ianni (Spectator, 29 October 2003). Late in the campaign, Murray told the media that a Di Ianni supporter had offered him financial support if he would withdraw from the contest and run for council instead (Spectator, 1 November 2003).
Murray was fifty years old during his mayoral campaign. He finished well behind frontrunners Di Ianni and David Christopherson, placing fifth and receiving just over two percent.