Christopher Bentley

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Christopher Bentley
Ontario MPP
In office
2003–2013
Preceded by Bob Wood
Succeeded by Peggy Sattler
Constituency London West
Personal details
Born 1956 (age 60–61)
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Wendy
Children 2
Occupation lawyer

Christopher "Chris" Bentley (born c. 1956) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2003 to 2013. He represented the riding of London West and was a cabinet minister in the government of Dalton McGuinty.

Background[edit]

Bentley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, and obtained a law degree from the University of Toronto in 1979.[1] Two years later, he obtained a Master's degree from Cambridge University in England. Bentley has practiced criminal and labour law, with the firm of Bentley & LeRoy LLP. In 1985, he was a founder and first chairperson of Neighbourhood Legal Services London & Middlesex, a legal clinic intended to assist low-income clients.

Since 1992, Bentley has worked as a part-time professor at Western. He helped establish the university's Law School Careers Office, and has lectured at various continuing education courses. In 2000, he published a book entitled Criminal practice manual: A practical guide to handling criminal cases.

Politics[edit]

Bentley ran for the provincial legislature in the 2003 general election, contesting the riding of London West as a Liberal. He was successful, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Bob Wood by over 10,000 votes.[2] The Liberals won the election, and Bentley was appointed Minister of Labour on October 23, 2003.[3] After a cabinet shuffle on June 29, 2005, he was named as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.[4]

Bentley was re-elected in the 2007 election[5] and was named Attorney General of Ontario shortly thereafter.[6] In January 2010 he was assigned the additional portfolio of Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.[7]

He retained his seat in the October 2011 provincial election,[8] and was named Minister of Energy.[9] Bentley was soon mired in a controversy over the government's decision made during the election campaign to scrap unpopular gas plants being constructed in Mississauga and Oakville - the move was seen as a politically expedient one made to improve the Liberal Party's chances of retaining the 5 ridings it held in the area. The election returned a minority government and the emboldened opposition demanded that Bentley's ministry release all documents related to the decision. Bentley delayed prior to releasing 36,000 pages in September and insisted that all documents had been released. After it became known that there were an additional 20,000 documents Bentley was cited by a rare contempt motion by a legislative committee and was facing a contempt motion of the legislature when McGuinty unexpectedly ended the legislative session by proroguing the legislature on October 15.[10]

Previously, Bentley had widely been seen as Premier Dalton McGuinty's heir apparent but on October 25, 2012, ten days after McGuinty announced his resignation, Bentley announced that he would not be a candidate in the Liberal Party leadership convention being held to choose McGuinty's successor and that he too would be leaving politics.[11] Bentley resigned his seat in the legislature effective February 14, 2013.[12]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet Posts (6)
Predecessor Office Successor
Kathleen Wynne Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
2012-2013
David Zimmer
Brad Duguid Minister of Energy
2011–2013
Bob Chiarelli
Brad Duguid Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
2010–2011
Kathleen Wynne
Michael Bryant Attorney General of Ontario
2007–2011
John Gerretsen
Mary Anne Chambers Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
2005–2007
John Milloy
Brad Clark Minister of Labour
2003–2005
Steve Peters

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Chris Bentley 22,616 45.7 -6.8
Progressive Conservative Ali Chahbar 14,601 29.5 +5.2
New Democratic Jeff Buchanan 10,757 21.7 +10.6
Green Gary Brown 1,194 2.4 -8.0
Freedom Tim Hodges 300 0.6 +0.2
Republican Chris Gupta 61 0.1 -0.1
Total valid votes 49,529 100.0
Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Chris Bentley 26,089 52.5 +0.74
Progressive Conservative Allison Graham 12,085 24.3 -6.81
New Democratic Paul Pighin 5,534 11.1 -3.79
Green Gary Brown 5,181 10.4 +8.78
Family Coalition Andrew Jezierski 266 0.5
Freedom Paul McKeever 215 0.4 -0.53
Independent Mike Reynolds 206 0.4
Republican Chris Gupta 82 0.2
Ontario general election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Chris Bentley 25,581 51.46 +7.12
Progressive Conservative Bob Wood 15,463 31.11 -13.81
New Democratic Patti Dalton 7,403 14.89 +5.76
Green Laura Wythe 805 1.62 +1.01
Freedom Bill Frampton 460 0.93 +0.46

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howlett, Karen; Campbell, Murray (October 30, 2007). "McGuinty turns to veterans for top cabinet jobs". The Globe and Mail. p. A12. 
  2. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Premier Dalton McGuinty and his 22-member cabinet were sworn in Thursday". Canadian Press NewsWire. October 23, 2003. p. 1. 
  4. ^ "Cabinet shuffle focuses on health care, education; McGuinty to head new Research and Innovation ministry". The Kitchener Record. June 30, 2005. p. A5. 
  5. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. p. 8 (xvii). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2009. 
  6. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Benzie, Robert (October 31, 2007). "Premier goes for new blood; Expanded 28-member cabinet has eight ministers from Toronto, three from 905 area". Toronto Star. p. A13. 
  7. ^ Kenyon, Wallace (January 19, 2010). "Sweeping changes hit Queen's Park; Liberal Cabinet". National Post. p. A8. 
  8. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ontario's new cabinet". Toronto Star. October 21, 2011. p. A18. 
  10. ^ Mills, Carys (October 26, 2012). "Energy Minister Chris Bentley 'thrown under the bus'". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Chris Bentley to quit politics". CBC News. Canadian Press. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Energy Minister Chris Bentley to resign his seat". Toronto Star. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]