David Rotenberg

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David Rotenberg
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Vern Singer
Succeeded by Monte Kwinter
Constituency Wilson Heights
Personal details
Born (1930-07-24) July 24, 1930 (age 86)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Toronto
Occupation Insurance agent
Cabinet Minister without portfolio (1985, February–May)

David Rotenberg (born July 24, 1930) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 1985 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, and was briefly a cabinet minister in the government of Frank Miller.


Rotenberg was born in Toronto, and educated at the University of Toronto. He worked as an insurance agent, and served on Toronto City Council and Metro Toronto Council from 1961 to 1972. In the 1972 election he ran for mayor, and lost to David Crombie in a close, three-way race. Rotenberg was later appointed as a commissioner on the Toronto Transit Commission, and served from 1975 to 1977.


He ran in the 1975 provincial election, and finished second against Liberal Vern Singer in Wilson Heights.[1]

He was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1977 provincial election, defeating New Democratic Party candidate Howard Moscoe by 2,993 votes (Singer had previously announced his retirement).[2] He served as a backbench supporter of William Davis's government, and defeated Liberal Elinor Caplan to be re-elected in 1981.[3]

Rotenberg supported Dennis Timbrell to succeed Davis as party leader and premier in 1985, and endorsed Larry Grossman after Timbrell's elimination on the second ballot.[4] Rotenberg appears in a pictorial section between pages 106 and 107, standing between Grossman and Timbrell as the latter accepts a Grossman button. The caption beneath the picture identifies Rotenberg as a Timbrell supporter. [1] Grossman lost to Frank Miller on the final count. After the leadership convention, Miller appointed Rotenberg to cabinet as a minister without portfolio responsible for Urban Affairs.[5]

Near the end of his tenure as premier, Bill Davis announced that he would extend full funding to the province's Catholic school system. Anglican Archbishop Lewis Garnsworthy, a vocal opponent of the plan, responded by charging that Davis had changed Ontario's education system "by decree", in the same way that Adolf Hitler had changed the education system in Nazi Germany. Rotenberg later said that Garnsworthy's comments created a climate of religious intolerance in the province, and took support away from the Progressive Conservative Party. "I think he would probably get the Ian Paisley award of the year, because his speech made it respectable to be anti-Catholic," Rotenberg was quoted as saying.[4] Although the opposition Liberals and New Democratic Party also supported full funding for Catholic schools, the governing Conservatives were more seriously affected because some of their religious supporters abstained from voting, depriving them of significant support. Garnsworthy's speech was credited with prolonging the controversy during the 1985 campaign.

Rotenberg was unseated in 1985 campaign, losing to Liberal candidate Monte Kwinter by 2,188 votes.[6] The Progressive Conservatives were reduced to a minority government and it was brought down by a Liberal-NDP accord shortly after the election.

A decade later, Rotenberg attempted a return to politics and campaigned for the Canadian House of Commons in the 1997 federal election as a candidate of the Progressive Conservatives in the riding of Eglinton—Lawrence. He lost to incumbent Liberal Joe Volpe.[7] The Canadian Alliance tried to recruit Rotenberg as a candidate in Willowdale for the 2000 federal election, but he was disqualified because he had not been a party member for long enough.[8]

Later life[edit]

Rotenberg has been named as an honorary officer in the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Electoral record[edit]


Ontario general election, 1975
Party Candidate Votes[9] Vote %
    Liberal Vern Singer 11,480 40.2
    Conservative David Rotenberg 9,262 32.4
    New Democrat Howard Moscoe 7,476 26.1
    Independent George Dance 372 1.3
Total 28,590
Ontario general election, 1977
Party Candidate Votes[10] Vote %
    Conservative David Rotenberg 13,792 49.1
    Liberal Murray Markin 7,057 25.1
    New Democrat Howard Moscoe 7,055 25.1
Libertarian Webster Webb 180 0.6
Total 28,084
Ontario general election, 1981
Party Candidate Votes[11] Vote %
    Conservative David Rotenberg 11,579 48.4
    Liberal Elinor Caplan 8,760 36.6
    New Democrat Greg Iaonnou 3,580 15.0
Total 23,919
Ontario general election, 1985
Party Candidate Votes[12] Vote %
    Liberal Monte Kwinter 12,425 40.9
    Conservative David Rotenberg 10,068 33.2
    New Democrat Howard Moscoe 7,858 25.9
Total 30,351


Canadian federal election, 1997: Eglinton—Lawrence
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Joe Volpe 25,985 59.24 −4.07 $49,531
     Progressive Conservative David Rotenberg 9,977 22.75 +5.11 $34,874
New Democratic Sam Savona 3,955 9.02 +4.36 $14,088
Reform Charles Van Tuinen 3,547 8.09 −3.65 $10,529
Natural Law Robyn Brandon 397 0.91 $0
Total valid votes 43,861 100.00
Total rejected ballots 320
Turnout 44,181 67.00
Electors on the lists 65,945
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


  1. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12. 
  2. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9. 
  3. ^ Canadian Press (March 20, 1981). "Election results for Metro Toronto". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  4. ^ a b Speirs, Rosemary (1986). Out of the Blue. Toronto: MacMillan of Canada. pp. 106–7, 146. 
  5. ^ "The Ontario Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. February 9, 1985. p. 4. 
  6. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13. 
  7. ^ "Final Results Riding by Riding". Calgary Herald. June 4, 1997. p. A5. 
  8. ^ Gombu, Phinjo (November 1, 2000). "Jewish voters threatening to switch to Alliance". Toronto Star. 
  9. ^ Canadian Press (1975-09-19). "Results from the 29 ridings in Metro". The Toronto Daily Star. Toronto. p. A18. 
  10. ^ Canadian Press (1977-06-10). "How they voted in Metro area". The Toronto Daily Star. Toronto. p. A10. 
  11. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Election results for Metro Toronto ridings". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  12. ^ Canadian Press (1985-05-03). "The night the Tories tumbled; riding by riding results". Ottawa Citizen. Toronto. p. 43. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 

External links[edit]