Gordon Walker (businessman)

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Gordon Walker

Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byJohn Ferris
Succeeded byJoan Smith
ConstituencyLondon South
In office
Preceded byJohn Robarts
Succeeded byMarvin Shore
ConstituencyLondon North
Personal details
Born (1941-09-10) September 10, 1941 (age 78)
St. Thomas, Ontario
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Spouse(s)Harriet Hedley

Gordon Wayne Walker QC (born September 10, 1941) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1971 to 1975, and again from 1977 to 1985. He was a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, and served as a cabinet minister in the governments of William Davis and Frank Miller.


Walker was born in St. Thomas, Ontario and educated at the University of Western Ontario.[1] He worked as a lawyer, and served as an alderman in the City of London from 1967 to 1971. He and his wife Harriet have two daughters, Melanie Jennifer and Wynsome Harriet.[2][3] In 1983 he published a book entitled A Conservative Canada.[4]


Walker's foray into politics began as a city councillor for London City Council when he was elected in 1966. He served for five years until he moved to the legislature in 1971.[1]

He was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1971 provincial election, defeating New Democratic Party candidate Charles Bigelow by 5,426 votes in London North.[5] He served as a backbench supporter of Davis's government for the next four years, and lost to Liberal candidate Marvin Shore by 2,282 votes in the 1975 election.[6]

Walker was returned to the legislature in the 1977 election for London South, defeating Liberal incumbent John Ferris by 2,211 votes.[7] He was appointed to Davis's cabinet on October 18, 1978 as Minister of Correctional Services. He was named Provincial Secretary for Justice on August 30, 1979. He was re-elected without difficulty in the 1981 election.[8]

On April 10, 1981, he was named as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. After a cabinet shuffle on February 13, 1982, he left both of his former portfolios and was named Minister of Industry and Trade Development. The title Minister of Trade Development was shortened to Minister of Trade. On June 6, 1983 he changed cabinet positions becoming the Provincial Secretary of Justice, a position he held until February 1985 at which time he became the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in the Cabinet of Premier Frank Miller, who had succeeded Premier Bill Davis as leader of Progressive Conservative Party. In the 1985 provincial election he was defeated losing to Liberal Joan Smith by 6,683 votes.[9]

Walker was a prominent figure on the right-wing of the Progressive Conservative Party, and developed an organization for a future leadership bid in the early 1980s. These plans fell through, and many of his supporters later turned to Frank Miller. Many believe that Davis distrusted Walker's ambitions, and demoted him to prevent his leadership campaign from developing. Walker would retain the cabinet position of Provincial Secretary for Justice. Walker supported Miller for the party leadership in January 1985, and when Miller succeeded Davis as Premier of Ontario on February 8, he appointed Walker to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

The party was subsequently defeated in the legislature, and Miller resigned as party leader. Walker became Alan Pope's campaign manager for the November 1985 Progressive Conservative leadership convention. After Pope's elimination on the first ballot, he unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate an alliance between his candidate and Dennis Timbrell.

Cabinet posts[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Frank Miller
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Robert Elgie Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
1985 (February–May)
Bob Runciman
Ontario Provincial Government of Bill Davis
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
New position Minister of Industry and Trade Development
Frank Miller
Frank Drea Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
Bob Mitchell
George Kerr Provincial Secretary for Justice
Norm Sterling
Frank Drea Minister of Correctional Services
Nick Leluk

Later life[edit]

Walker returned to his legal practice in London after his defeat. Many of his policy views were adopted by the Progressive Conservative Party under Mike Harris in the 1990s.[10] Walker was a fundraiser for the Federal Progressive Conservatives and was Vice Chairman of P.C. Canada Fund during the Prime Minister Brian Mulroney period. Walker was a chief fundraiser for Tom Long's bid to lead the Canadian Alliance in 2000.[11] In the period 1993 until 2003, Walker was chief fundraiser for Mike Harris, Leader of the PC Party in Ontario, and Premier from 1995 until 2003. He was Campaign Manager - Finance for both the 1995 and 1999 successful elections for Harris.[12]

Walker's legal practise took him to Toronto where from 1985 until 1998 he was Counsel to Toronto law firms of Holden, Murdoch and Finlay (later Holden Day Wilson), and latterly Miller Thompson; as well as being Honorary Counsel to Walker and Wood, a firm he started in London, Ontario.[13] In 1986 Walker took a financial interest in First Canadian Property Investments Limited, a firm in which he continues as a principal. It is based in Toronto.[14]

From 1992 until 1995 Walker was Canadian Commissioner on the International Joint Commission, a treaty organization between Canada and the United States affecting issues of water quality and water quantity on the 330 lakes, rivers and streams across the common border, including the Great Lakes.[15][16] He returned to the commission in 2013 and in 2014 was appointed acting chair of the Canadian section.[2]

Walker joined the board of directors of Conrad Black's troubled Hollinger Inc. firm in January 2004.[17] He subsequently demanded that Black resign to protect the interests of shareholders, and replaced Black as chair in November 2004. He left the firm in July 2005, shortly after describing Black's ongoing legal difficulties as a "soap opera".[18]


  1. ^ a b Manthorpe, Jonathan (October 5, 1971). "Walker acknowledged man to beat". The Globe and Mail. p. 8.
  2. ^ a b "Canadian Section: Gordon Walker, Q.C., Commissioner, Canadian Chair". International Joint Commission. 2016.
  3. ^ French, Orland (March 23, 1982). "At ease seeking big deals". The Globe and Mail. p. 7.
  4. ^ French, Orland (October 25, 1983). "The mind boggles regularly". The Globe and Mail. p. 7.
  5. ^ "Riding-by-riding returns in provincial election". The Globe and Mail. October 23, 1971. p. 10.
  6. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12.
  7. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9.
  8. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Winds of change, sea of security". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  9. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13.
  10. ^ Coyle, Jim (August 6, 1995). "Ideas an MPP promoted to sneers in '80s now guide Ontario government". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A11.
  11. ^ Speirs, Rosemary (May 29, 2000). "Ontario Tory fundraising machine backs Long". The Hamilton Spectator. p. C5.
  12. ^ Speirs, Rosemary (May 29, 2000). "Harris' money men tap Bay St. for Long". Toronto Star. p. A1.
  13. ^ "Defeated minister takes appointment in Toronto law firm". The Globe and Mail. August 9, 1985. p. 4.
  14. ^ "First Canada Property Investments Ltd". Canada Companies. September 20, 2013.
  15. ^ McKeague, Paul (July 22, 1992). "Former MP new IJC boss". The Windsor Star. p. A2.
  16. ^ McKeague, Paul (September 21, 1995). "Environmental activist named IJC chairwoman". The Windsor Star. p. A13.
  17. ^ "Announcements By Hollinger Inc". Hollinger Inc. January 19, 2004.
  18. ^ Erwin, Steve (May 27, 2005). "Hollinger accuses former boss Black of one bad move". Kingston Whig - Standard. p. 15.

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