|Preceded by||Dalton Bales|
|Succeeded by||Brad Nixon|
|Born||Bette Mildred Stephenson
July 31, 1924
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
|Spouse(s)||G. Allan Pengelly|
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
Bette Mildred Stephenson, OC OOnt M.D., (born July 31, 1924) is a Canadian medical doctor and former politician in Ontario. She served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1987, and was a cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
Stephenson was born in Aurora, Ontario. She attained her medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1946. Stephenson practised medicine for more than 40 years. She was a member of the medical staff, a Director of the Outpatient Department, and Chief of the Department of General Practice at Women's College Hospital. She was also a member of the medical staff at North York General Hospital.
She was a founding member of the College of General Practice in Canada, now known as the College of Family Physicians Canada. She was also the first female member of the board of directors of the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association, and served as the first female president of both organizations. In 1974, she released a report stating that there were too many foreign-born students at the University of Toronto, particularly from China. The statements she made led some Chinese physicians to create the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals of Ontario which later became the Chinese Canadian Medical Society.
Stephenson was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1975 provincial election, representing the constituency of York Mills in North York. She was appointed to Bill Davis' cabinet as Minister of Labour on October 7, 1975. she won a convincing re-election victory over Liberal candidate Wilfred Caplan in the 1977 election.
On August 18, 1978, she was named Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities. As Minister, she ordered Toronto schools to use the Lord's Prayer during opening or closing exercise instead of silent meditation. Stephenson was not informed of Davis's decision to extend full-funding to Catholic high schools until the policy had already been decided, and was privately opposed. She was returned to the legislature was the largest majority of her career in the 1981 provincial election.
Stephenson was a prominent supporter of Frank Miller's bid to become party leader in 1985. When Miller replaced Davis as Premier of Ontario on February 8, 1985, he named Stephenson as the Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet.
Under Miller's leadership, the Progressive Conservatives were reduced to a tenuous minority government in the 1985 provincial election. Stephenson, who was personally re-elected without difficulty, was named as Ontario's first female Treasurer and Deputy Premier on May 17. She accomplished little in these roles before the Miller government was defeated by a motion of non-confidence in June 1985. In opposition, she served as her party's Critic for Health. She retired from politics at the 1987 provincial election.
|Provincial Government of Frank Miller|
|Cabinet Posts (3)|
|Bob Welch||Deputy Premier
|George McCague||Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet
|Provincial Government of Bill Davis|
|Cabinet Posts (3)|
|Thomas Wells||Minister of Education
|Harry Parrott||Minister of Colleges and Universities
|John MacBeth||Minister of Labour
In the 1990s, Stephenson was appointed as a Board Member on the province's new Education Quality and Accountability Office, which monitors and reports to the public on the performance of the education system. From 1997 to 2005, she was Chairman of the Learning Opportunities Task Force. She is a founding member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and is involved with the group, the Gwillimbury Foundation who is attempting to build a university in Queensville, Ontario.
In 1992, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition for having "made exceptional contributions to society throughout her career". In 1999, she was awarded the Order of Ontario. The Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning was named after her. In 2013, she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
- Post vacant until 1987 when Nixon named Deputy Premier.
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