Bob Runciman

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Bob Runciman
Senator from Ontario
In office
January 29, 2010 – August 10, 2017
Nominated byStephen Harper
Appointed byMichaëlle Jean
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byNew riding
Succeeded bySteve Clark
In office
March 19, 1981 – July 31, 1987
Preceded byJames Auld
Succeeded byRiding abolished
Personal details
Robert William Runciman

(1942-08-10) August 10, 1942 (age 76)
Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Political partyConservative Party of Canada; Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Robert William "Bob" Runciman (born August 10, 1942)[1] is a veteran Canadian politician and former provincial Leader of the Opposition in the Ontario Legislature. First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1981, he held the seat continuously for Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario for the next 29 years. On January 29, 2010, he was appointed to a federal legislative position as a Conservative to the Senate of Canada [2] where he served until August 10, 2017.

Early career[edit]

Before going to Queen's Park, Runciman owned a local weekly newspaper, and sat as a municipal councillor in Brockville from 1972 to 1981. He also worked in production management in the chemical industry.[3]

Provincial politics[edit]

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1981 provincial election as a Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Leeds in eastern Ontario.[4] He was returned in each subsequent provincial election, and later represented the riding of Leeds—Grenville.

Miller cabinet[edit]

Runciman served as Minister of Government Services from February 8 to May 17, 1985,[5] and as Minister of Consumer Relations from May 17 to June 26, 1985, in the short-lived cabinet of Ontario Premier Frank Miller.[6]

Ontario Provincial Government of Frank Miller
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Gordon Walker Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
1985 (May–June)
Monte Kwinter
George Ashe Minister of Government Services
1985 (February–May)
James Gordon


With the defeat of Miller's government on a vote of confidence, Runciman joined his party on the opposition benches. He was nearly defeated by Liberal Jim Jordan in the 1987 election, winning by only 198 votes.[7] On all other occasions, he has been re-elected without difficulty. Despite being on the right-wing of the party, Runciman endorsed Red Tory Larry Grossman for the party leadership in November 1985.[8]

Harris and Eves cabinet[edit]

When the Tories returned to power in the 1995 election, Runciman became Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services in the government of Mike Harris, holding the position from June 26, 1995 to June 17, 1999.[9] During this period, he championed privately owned prisons, and was criticized on one occasion for revealing the name of a young offender in the legislature. On June 17, 1999, he was moved to the portfolio of Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations,[10] and on February 8, 2001, was named Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

Runciman supported Ernie Eves's successful bid to succeed Harris as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2002. On April 15, 2002, Eves re-appointed Runciman to the position of Minister of Public Safety and Security (as the position of Solicitor General became known in the period following the September 11 attacks).[11]

On August 6, 2003, Runciman made controversial comments in the wake of tensions between Toronto's black community and the city's police. "I think some people make a living off this," Runciman said. "People who don't accept any degree of responsibility to solve the challenges and misunderstandings." After confirming that he was referring to members of the black community, he went on to say that "some folks here appear to have, in my view, a vested interest in seeing this kind of tension continue to exist." [12] His comments were later condemned by the Canadian Race Relations foundation and several other opposition MPP's.[13]

Ontario Provincial Government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Rob Sampson Minister of Public Safety and Security
Monte Kwinter
Ontario Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Al Palladini Minister of Economic Development and Trade
Jim Flaherty[a]
David Tsubouchi Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
Norm Sterling[b]
David Christopherson Minister of Correctional Services
Rob Sampson
David Christopherson Solicitor General
David Tsubouchi

Return to opposition[edit]

Runciman returned to the opposition benches with the defeat of the Eves government in the 2003 election.[14] He supported John Tory in the leadership election to succeed Eves. Tory won the contest, and, not having a seat in the legislature, named Runciman to the position of interim Leader of the Opposition in September 2004.

Although Runciman holds strongly conservative views on matters such as criminal justice, he was not regarded as one of the more ideological members of his caucus. In recent years, he has played a significant role in his party's leadership transitions.

Runciman resumed the position of opposition leader following the 2007 provincial election in which John Tory failed to win a seat in the Legislature, losing to Liberal Minister Kathleen Wynne. Tory stayed on as Party Leader until March 2009 when he lost a subsequent bid to get elected in a by-election and resigned. Following Tory's resignation as Party Leader in March 2009, members of the PC Caucus selected Runciman as interim Party Leader until Tim Hudak was elected to the position in June 2009.[15]

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Preceded by
Ernie Eves
Leader of the Opposition in the
Ontario Legislature

Succeeded by
John Tory
Preceded by
John Tory
Leader of the Opposition in the
Ontario Legislature

Succeeded by
Tim Hudak
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Tory
Interim Leader of the Ontario PC Party
2009 (March–June)
Succeeded by
Tim Hudak

Federal politics[edit]

Runciman supported Tom Long's bid to lead the Canadian Alliance in 2000. When Long was dropped from the contest after the first ballot, he turned his support to Stockwell Day, the eventual winner.[16]

In the 2004 federal Conservative leadership campaign, Runciman was an early supporter of eventual winner Stephen Harper[17]

On May 17, 2005, Runciman was chastised for remarks he made about federal member of Parliament Belinda Stronach's decision to cross the floor from the Conservative Party of Canada to the Liberal Party of Canada. Runciman said, "She sort of defined herself as something of a dipstick, an attractive one, but still a dipstick."[18]

Runciman was appointed to the Canadian Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Harper on January 29, 2010.[17] He is seen as an ally of Harper in advocating of Senate reform and a "law and order" agenda.[19] He served in the Senate until reaching the mandatory retirement age on August 10, 2017.



  1. ^ Ministry named as Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation.
  2. ^ Ministry renamed as Consumer and Business Services.


  1. ^ [1] Senators' biographies: Robert William Runciman
  2. ^ "Ontario's Runciman among 5 new senators". Toronto Star, January 29, 2010.
  3. ^ Runciman, Bob. "Senators - Detailed Information". Parliament of Canada. Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  4. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Winds of change, sea of security". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  5. ^ "The Ontario Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. February 9, 1985. p. 4.
  6. ^ "The new Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. May 18, 1985. p. 11.
  7. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.
  8. ^ Lupton, Gary (October 7, 1985). "Tory leadership it's Timbrell 5, Grossman 3 as Leeds picks delegates". The Whig - Standard. Kingston, Ont. p. 1.
  9. ^ "Mike Harris' cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 27, 1995. p. A7.
  10. ^ "Ontario Cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 18, 1999. p. C8.
  11. ^ "Ont-Cabinet". Toronto, Ont: Canadian Press NewsWire. April 15, 2002.
  12. ^ Lindgren, April (August 7, 2003). "Racial profiling war widens; Runciman claims some 'have a vested interest' in keeping tensions heightened". The Windsor Star. p. B1.
  13. ^ Van Rijn, Nicholaas (August 8, 2003). "Runciman 'took coward's way': Lincoln Alexander". Toronto Star. pp. A1, A25.
  14. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Retrieved 2014-04-01.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Tory leader chides city unions". Toronto Star. June 29, 2009.
  16. ^ Brennan, Richard (June 29, 2000). "Long taking top officials to Manning ; Campaign team is unanimous in its endorsement". Toronto Star. p. A6.
  17. ^ a b "MPP Runciman among 5 Tories headed to Senate". Toronto Star. January 29, 2010.
  18. ^ "Women still outsiders in politics". Toronto Star. January 16, 2007. p. A18.
  19. ^ "Runciman on same page as Harper over Senate". CTV News. January 30, 2010.

External links[edit]