David Sweet

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David Sweet
MP
David Sweet.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Flamborough—Glanbrook
Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale (2006-2015)
Assumed office
January 23, 2006
Preceded by Russ Powers
Chair of the Conservative Party of Canada Parliamentary Caucus
Assumed office
November 5, 2015
Preceded by Guy Lauzon
Chair of the Standing Committee on
Industry, Science & Technology
In office
September 30, 2010 – August 2, 2015
Minister Tony Clement
Christian Paradis
James Moore
Preceded by Michael Chong
Personal details
Born (1957-06-24) June 24, 1957 (age 61)
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Almut Sweet
Residence Hamilton, Ontario
Profession business consultant, real estate broker

David S. Sweet (born June 24, 1957) is a Canadian politician who has been a Member of the House of Commons since January 2006, first for Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough--Westdale and, following the 2012 federal electoral district redistribution, for Flamborough-Glanbrook. He was chosen as the Conservative Parliamentary Caucus Chair at the beginning of the 42nd Canadian Parliament by the Conservative Members of Parliament.

Early life[edit]

Sweet was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario to Gordon, a former sergeant of the Canadian Armed Forces and television repairman, and Jean Sweet, where he was raised alongside five siblings.[1] At the age of thirteen, Sweet ran away from home and lived on the street for several months, eventually being caught and sent to St. Joseph's Training School in Alfred, Ontario. At St. Joseph's, one of the province-run training schools for "incorrigible" youth, Sweet endured physical beatings by the Catholic brothers who ran the school, and was regularly bullied and beaten by other boys, beatings which were ignored by the guards. Sweet attempted to run away from the reformatory, but was caught and put in solitary confinement for ten days.[2] At one point, Sweet was made to scrub walls with bleach using his bare hands for three hours as punishment.[1] Sweet remained at the school until he was 16 years old.

Business career[edit]

Prior to being elected a Member of Parliament, Sweet owned and operated a variety of businesses. He and wife, Almut, ran a tow truck business in Mississauga, Ontario from 1978 through the early 1980s and lead a real estate brokerage during the 1980s building boom. In the years leading up to his political career, Sweet owned a management consulting firm, which he operated for 17 years based on his experience in his previous business ventures. Sweet's business offered training services to a variety of corporate, public, and not-for-profit clients.[3]

In 1996, Sweet was the founding President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers,[4] an organization that provides training opportunities for and promotes professional speakers.

Political career[edit]

2004 Federal Election[edit]

In 2004, Sweet contested the nomination for the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, defeating incumbent Liberal-turned-Conservative MP John Bryden. In the 38th Federal Election, Sweet placed second to former Hamilton City Councillor Russ Powers.

In advance of the 39th Federal Election, Sweet secured the Conservative Party's nomination again and proceeded to defeat Powers in the January 2006 election.

Member of Parliament[edit]

39th Parliament[edit]

During the 39th Parliament, Sweet was appointed a Member and later elected Vice-Chair on the House of Commons Standing Committees on Public Accounts, as well as a Member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.[5]

On June 22, 2006, Sweet obtained the unanimous consent of the House of Commons for a motion awarding honorary Canadian citizenship to the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso.[6] Gyatso was the 3rd person to receive such an honour, after Raoul Wallenberg in 1985 and Nelson Mandela in 2001.

40th Parliament[edit]

Sweet won re-election in Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale during the 2008 Canadian Election, defeating Liberal candidate Arlene MacFarlane-VanderBeek by over 10,000 votes.

During the second session of the 40th Parliament, Sweet served as a Member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, of the Liaison Committee and the International Human Rights Subcommittee. At the beginning of the third session, Sweet would be named Chair of the Industry, Science and Technology Committee in addition to his roles from the second session, which he maintained as well.[5]

On February 17, 2009 he was elected Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which he served on since he was elected in 2006. Sweet also served as Vice-Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.[7]

On February 10, 2011, Sweet introduced a Private Member's Bill, Bill C-620, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (parole review and victim impact statement)[8] which was debated only once, on March 23, 2011,[9] before the 40th Parliament was dissolved for the 2011 General Election.

41st Parliament[edit]

In the 2011 Canadian Election, Sweet won re-election in the riding of Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, winning more than double the votes of Liberal candidate Dave Braden.

During the 41st Parliament, Sweet remained as Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, as well as a Member of the Liaison Committee and the International Human Rights Subcommittee.[5]

On February 27, 2013 he introduced Private Member's Bill C-479, An Act to Bring Fairness to Victims of Violent Offenders.[10] In his introductory speech, Sweet argued that his Bill is aimed at "strengthening the voice of victims of violent crime and providing additional support to victims in the parole process" and "to modify parole and detention review dates giving the Parole Board of Canada the option of increasing the time between parole hearings for violent offenders."[11] Sweet's Bill passed through the House of Commons and Senate, receiving all party support and receiving Royal Assent on April 23, 2015.

42nd Parliament[edit]

Pursuant to the 2012 federal electoral district redistribution, the riding of Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale was redistributed, primarily into the ridings of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas and Flamborough—Glanbrook. In the 42nd Canadian election, Sweet sought and won election over Liberal candidate Jennifer Stebbing in Flamborough—Glanbrook.

On November 5, 2015, Sweet became the first elected Chair of the National Conservative Parliamentary Caucus, as prior to the 42nd Parliament the position was appointed by the party leader. In this role Sweet is responsible for organizing and chairing the meetings of the Conservative Caucus.

During the 42nd Parliament, Sweet serves as the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.[5] Sweet also briefly served on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage during the study brought on by Motion 103.

Political views[edit]

Mental health[edit]

Mental health is an issue that Sweet has repeatedly spoken about, particularly after the death of his daughter Lara in 2017. In his Member's statement following Lara's passing, he called upon the Government of Canada "to continue to adequately fund the Canadian Mental Health Commission" and "to be generous to the Canadian Mental Health Association and others who are deeply committed to the fight for mental wholeness."[12]

Scleroderma[edit]

Sweet makes an annual Members Statement in the House of Commons each June to recognize Scleroderma Month in Canada, saying on June 1, 2006: "If there is a note of passion in my voice, it is because my own family has had to deal with the devastating effects of scleroderma. My mother passed away from complications of this disease and cancer."[13]

Israel & Anti-Semitism[edit]

Sweet is a staunch supporter of the state of Israel, having traveled to Israel on multiple occasions, including alongside Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston.

Sweet has spoken out repeatedly in the House of Commons to condemn Anti-Semitism. Sweet including to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which Sweet has referred to as "nothing but thinly veiled antisemitism, and to be very frank, Jew hatred."[14] Sweet has also condemned Israel Apartheid Week as being "a concerted effort to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel to exist and the Jewish people to have a safe homeland therein".[15]

Sweet served on the Steering Committee of the Canadian Parliamentary Committee to Combat Antisemitism Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) and on the CPCCA's Inquiry Panel which released a public report on July 7, 2011. [1]. In November 2012, Sweet received the 2012 Humanitarian Award from the Hamilton Jewish Federation for his work on CPCCA and in speaking out against racism.

Iran[edit]

Sweet is an outspoken critic of Iran, which he has described as a state that "terror, supports terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, imprisons, tortures and executes their own people and others."[16] He has presented multiple petitions to the House of Commons calling upon the Government of Canada "to maintain the listing of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state supporter of terrorism"[16] and has opposed any rollback of sanctions against the country. Sweet has highlighted the plight of the Bahá'í people of Iran, calling for the release of the Bahá'í Seven, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mahvash Sabet, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaei, Vahid Tizfahm, and Behrouz Tavakkoli, all of whom Sweet says were "wrongfully imprisoned".[16]

Personal life[edit]

Sweet and his wife Almut, with whom he has six children and four grandchildren, live in Ancaster, Ontario. Lara, the Sweet's adopted daughter, passed away from an intentional drug overdose in 2017. On September 19, 2017, Sweet rose in the House of Commons to deliver a Member's statement in Lara's memory, crediting her with reshaping his "thinking on whether someone has to have it all together to assist others"[12] Sweet's son, Chris, is seeking the Conservative Party's nomination in the neighboring riding of Hamilton West--Ancaster--Dundas.[17]

In April 2014, he was inducted as a Knight in the Order of St. George.[3]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Flamborough—Glanbrook
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative David Sweet 24,136 43.5 -11.9
Liberal Jennifer Stebbing 21,669 39.1 +22.2
New Democratic Mike DiLivio 7,773 14.0 -8.79
Green Dave Allan Urquhart 1,870 3.4 -0.76
Total valid votes/Expense limit 55,510 100.0     $211,904.70
Total rejected ballots 220
Turnout 55,730 70.2
Eligible voters 78,865
Conservative hold Swing -17.05
Source: Elections Canada[18][19]
Canadian federal election, 2011: Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Sweet 30,240 51.25 +4.75
Liberal Dave Braden 14,594 24.74 -2.35
New Democratic Nancy MacBain 10,956 18.57 +1.54
Green Peter Ormond 2,963 5.02 -4.08
Libertarian Anthony Giles 170 0.29
Marxist–Leninist Jamilé Ghaddar 77 0.13 -0.13
Total valid votes/Expense limit 59,000 100.00
Total rejected ballots 193 0.33 +0.03
Turnout 59,193 69.38 +2.68
Conservative hold Swing +3.55
Canadian federal election, 2008: Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative David Sweet 26,297 46.5% +7.4% $69,185
Liberal Arlene MacFarlane-VanderBeek 15,322 27.1% -7.4% $42,231
New Democratic Gordon Guyatt 9,632 17.0% -4.3% $44,859
Green Peter Ormond 5,149 9.1% +4.7% $21,445
Marxist–Leninist Jamilé Ghaddar 148 0.3% +0.1%
Total number of valid votes 56,548 99.7%
Rejected ballots 170 0.3%
Total number of votes 56,718 100%
Canadian federal election, 2006: Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Sweet 24,530 39.1% +4.5%
Liberal Russ Powers 21,656 34.5% -5.2%
New Democratic Gordon Guyatt 13,376 21.3% +0.4%
Green David Januczkowski 2,767 4.4% -0.4%
Independent Ben Cowie 303 0.5% -
Marxist–Leninist Jamilé Ghaddar 112 0.2% -
Total number of valid votes 62,744 99.9%
Rejected ballots 175 0.1%
Total number of votes 62,919 100%
Canadian federal election, 2004: Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Russ Powers 21,935 39.7%
Conservative David Sweet 19,135 34.6%
New Democratic Gordon Guyatt 11,557 20.9%
Green David Januczkowski 2,636 4.8%
Total number of valid votes 55,263 99.5%
Rejected ballots 252 0.5%
Total number of votes 55,515 100%

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wallace, Kenyon (2018-01-19). "'Justice is long overdue' for training school survivors, says MP who spent three 'painful' years at one". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  2. ^ "MP calls for inquiry into abuse at Alfred training school". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  3. ^ a b "About David". David Sweet | Flamborough-Glanbrook. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  4. ^ "Canadian Association of Professional Speakers". www.canadianspeakers.org. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  5. ^ a b c d "David Sweet". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  6. ^ http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?pub=hansard&mee=46&parl=39&ses=1&language=E&x=1#T1505 |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 2006-06-22. 
  7. ^ "39th Parliament, 2nd Session Committee Memberships". Parliament of Canada. 
  8. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4947748&Language=E&Mode=2&Parl=40&Ses=3
  9. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=5063137&Language=E&Mode=2&Parl=40&Ses=3
  10. ^ "LEGISinfo - Private Member's Bill C-479 (41-1)". www.parl.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  11. ^ "Debates (Hansard) No. 3 - October 18, 2013 (41-2) - House of Commons of Canada". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  12. ^ a b "Publication Search". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  13. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=2239731&Language=E&Mode=2&Parl=39&Ses=1
  14. ^ "Publication Search". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  15. ^ "Publication Search". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  16. ^ a b c "Publication Search". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  17. ^ 2019, Chris Sweet. "Welcome to the Chris Sweet Nomination Campaign site". Chris Sweet 2019. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  18. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Flamborough—Glanbrook, 30 September 2015
  19. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.

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