Alan Tonks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alan Tonks
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for York South—Weston
In office
November 27, 2000 – May 2, 2011
Preceded by John Nunziata
Succeeded by Mike Sullivan
6th Metro Toronto Chairman
In office
Preceded by Dennis Flynn
Succeeded by Position abolished
Mayor of York
In office
Preceded by Gayle Christie
Succeeded by Fergy Brown
Personal details
Born (1943-04-02) April 2, 1943 (age 75)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Cecile Tonks
Children 3
Residence Toronto
Profession Teacher

Alan Tonks (born April 2, 1943) is a former Canadian politician. He was the Liberal MP for the federal riding of York South—Weston in Toronto from 2000 to 2011, and was the final Metro Toronto Chairman before the amalgamation of Metro Toronto into the new City of Toronto.


Tonks is the son of the late Chris Tonks, who was a reeve and alderman in what was first the Township and then the Borough of York in Metropolitan Toronto. After graduating from York Memorial Collegiate Institute Alan Tonks attended York University where he earned a Master's degree in political economy and the University of Toronto where he received a master's degree in education. He spent time working for a Canadian aid agency in Jamaica before becoming a junior high teacher for the Scarborough Board of Education for several years.[1]

Married to Cecile, Tonks has three adult children, Chris, Matthew, and Alison.[2] His son Chris is now a trustee on the Toronto District School Board.[3]

Local/municipal politics[edit]

Tonks entered municipal politics in 1978 and served as a member of the Board of Control in York from 1978 to 1980. He lost his first bid for they mayoralty in 1980 before serving as mayor from 1982 to 1988.[4]

Due to a change in the Act governing Metropolitan Toronto, the position of Metro Chairman, beginning in 1988, had to be elected from Metro Councillors who were themselves elected to represent specific wards. Mayors continued to sit on Metro Council on an ex-officio basis but were now ineligible to be candidates for Metro Chairman as were former or non-members of Metro Council. Accordingly, incumbent Metro Chairman Dennis Flynn, a former mayor of Etobicoke, had to run for Metro Councillor in a specific ward if he wanted to remain Metro Chairman. Similarly, Tonks, who wished to become Metro Chairman, could not run for that position while being Mayor of York. Accordingly, in the 1988 municipal election, he did not run for re-election as Mayor of York and instead ran for the position of Metro Councillor representing one of York's two Metro wards.

At the first Metro Council session following the municipal election, Tonks was elected Chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto by the other members of Metro Toronto Council defeating incumbent Metro Chairman Dennis Flynn, the only time a sitting Metro Chairman would be defeated by a challenger.[5]

Tonks served as Metro Chairman until 1997 when the municipality was amalgamated by the provincial government of Mike Harris resulting in the abolition of Metro Council and the replacement of the Metro Chairman by a new Mayor of Toronto directly elected by all voters. Tonks was a supporter of the city's amalgamation, and led the Transition Team responsible for administering the new City of Toronto.[6] He did not run in the 1997 "Megacity" election for the position of mayor and retired from elected municipal politics. In 1999, he was appointed chair of the Greater Toronto Services Board and served until 2000 when he became a federal member of parliament.[7]

Provincial politics[edit]

He first ran for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1975 provincial election as a candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party, and finished third in York South against former New Democratic Party leader Donald C. MacDonald.[8] He was also unsuccessful in the 1987 Ontario election, losing to NDP leader Bob Rae by only 333 votes in York South.[9]

Federal politics[edit]

He was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2000 election as the Liberal MP for York South—Weston defeating Independent MP (and former Liberal) John Nunziata by 1,497 votes.[10] In 2003 he served as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister for the Environment. He was re-elected by a much greater margin in the federal elections held in 2004.[11] He served as a member of the official opposition from 2006 to 2011, when he lost his seat by around 2500 votes to the NDP's Mike Sullivan.[12]


  1. ^ Baker, Alden (July 4, 1983). "At the helm in York, East York: 2 new mayors find their way". The Globe and Mail. p. 4. 
  2. ^ "Street level they're making a list, checkin' it twice". The Globe and Mail. November 29, 1990. p. 21. 
  3. ^ Clark, Kim (November 16, 2006). "Young Tonks bonks Hill out of trustee chair". The York Guardian. p. 1. 
  4. ^ "Vote results in Metro, Mississauga". The Globe and Mail. November 9, 1982. pp. 8–9. 
  5. ^ Byers, Jim; Smith, Michael (December 15, 1988). "Alan Tonks grabs Metro chairmanship from Dennis Flynn". Toronto Star. p. A1. 
  6. ^ Spears, John (February 13, 1997). "Tempers flare as Metro tries to take stand on amalgamation". Toronto Star. p. 8. 
  7. ^ Spears, John (January 23, 1999). "Tonks makes his comeback ; Voted first head of Greater Toronto Services Board". Toronto Star. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12. 
  9. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  10. ^ "Election Results". Star - Phoenix. Saskatoon, SK. November 28, 2000. p. A8. 
  11. ^ "Election results...riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 29, 2004. p. A14. 
  12. ^ "Riding results from across Canada". Edmonton Journal. May 3, 2011. p. A6. 

External links[edit]