Donald Abel

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Don Abel
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Chris Ward
Succeeded by Toni Skarica
Constituency Wentworth North
Personal details
Born Donald Clarke Abel
(1952-02-04) February 4, 1952 (age 65)
Hamilton, Ontario
Political party New Democrat
Spouse(s) Debra
Children 2
Residence Cameron, Ontario
Occupation Business Owner, Retired Municipal Officer

Donald "Don" Clarke Abel (born February 4, 1952) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was elected as an Ontario New Democratic Party MPP to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing the riding of Wentworth North from 1990 to 1995.


Abel studied economics, industrial sociology, political science, labour history and labour law at the Labour College of Canada in Ottawa. He worked in the purchasing and plant management department of the Wentworth County Board of Education and served 10 years as Local 1572 president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).[1][2] He also served as a National Service Representative for CUPE prior to his election to the provincial legislature .[3]

In 1992, while in office, Abel's teenaged son Mark was seriously injured in a skiing accident in New York State. He was left paralyzed from the chest down. The family was left with $50,000 in medical bills which was eventually paid with funds raised amongst the local community and donations from all three parties of the Legislative Assembly.[4]


In the 1990 provincial election Abel ran as the New Democrat candidate in the riding of Wentworth North defeating incumbent government house leader, Chris Ward. Later that same year, Abel introduced Bill 22, Deaf Persons' Rights Act, a private member's bill providing rights for hearing-ear dogs, similar to seeing-eye dogs.[5] Although it received second reading and passage through the Social Development Committee the following year, it failed to pass through the legislature before the government was defeated in the 1995 election.

Abel served as both deputy whip and whip during his tenure.[2] He also served as chair of the NDP's caucus personnel committee[6] and as a member of the standing committees on general government, regulations and private bills, finance and economic affairs, estimates and the standing committee on the ombudsman.

In 1994, Abel was one of twelve NDP members to vote against Bill 167, a bill extending financial benefits to same-sex partners. Premier Bob Rae allowed a free vote on the bill which allowed members of his party to vote with their conscience. The bill was defeated by a vote of 68-59.[7]

He ran for mayor of Dundas in the final municipal election before the amalgamation of Hamilton-Wentworth, but lost to incumbent mayor John Addison.

In the 2011 provincial election, Abel ran as the New Democratic candidate for the riding of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. This placed him in a race with two other candidates with parliamentary experience.[6] Although finishing in third place, the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock NDP received its highest number of votes since the 1990 provincial election with an 11.32% increase in popular vote from the previous provincial election.[8]

He ran again in the 2014 provincial election with an additional 2.44% increase in popular vote.

After politics[edit]

After his defeat in 1995, Abel established the Dundas Review, a weekly community newspaper in Dundas Ontario.

He later worked for the City of Kawartha Lakes as Senior Licensing Officer/Municipal Law Enforcement Officer and Deputy Division Registrar until his retirement in 2012.

Abel and his wife Debra currently own and operate a cottage resort on Sturgeon Lake near Lindsay, Ontario

Electoral record[edit]

Wentworth North[edit]

Ontario general election, 1990
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Don Abel 11,472 34.05 +11.85
Liberal Chris Ward 11,384 33.79 -20.21
Progressive Conservative Don Matthews 8,740 25.94 +2.14
Family Coalition Rien Vanden Enden 1,236 3.67 0
Confederation of Regions Eileen Butson 860 2.55 0
Total valid votes 33,692 100.00
Ontario general election, 1995
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Toni Skarica 21,165 55.65 +29.71
Liberal Chris Ward 10,393 27.33 -6.46
New Democratic Don Abel 6,474 17.02 -17.03
Total valid votes 38,032 100.00

Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock[edit]

Ontario general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Laurie Scott 22,357 45.4 +4.3
Liberal Rick Johnson 16,522 33.6 -10.13
New Democratic Don Abel 8,517 17.3 +11.32
Green Anita Payne 1,562 3.2 +3.44
Freedom Charles Olito 254 0.5 +0.1
Total valid votes 49,212 100.00
Ontario general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Laurie Scott 21,641 40.96 -4.44
Liberal Rick Johnson 18,512 35.03 +1.43
New Democratic Don Abel 10,431 19.74 +2.44
Green Arsalan Ahmad 2,255 4.27 +1.07
Total valid votes 52,839 100.00


  1. ^ Casella, Emilia (10 June 1993). "Unions push for rebellion in NDP". The Hamilton Spectator. p. A1. 
  2. ^ a b "MPP Don Abel given the nod to carry NDP banner once again". The Spectator. 13 March 1995. p. B4. 
  3. ^ Van Harten, Peter (2 September 2000). "Backlash or vindication". The Spectator. p. A05. 
  4. ^ Walker, William (4 May 1994). "MPP recalls insurance nightmare Son's U.S. accident left a staggering bill". Toronto Star. p. A12. 
  5. ^ Moss, Joanne (10 January 1995). "Hearing ear dog users want right to equal access". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A6. 
  6. ^ a b Gervais, Lisa. "Don Abel chosen NDP candidate for provincial election". Article. Haliburton Echo. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "How MPPs voted on controversial legislation". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1994. p. A10. 
  8. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013. 

External links[edit]