Jack MacLaren

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Jack MacLaren
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Norm Sterling
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Personal details
Born 1951 (age 66–67)
Woodlawn, Ontario
Political party Trillium[1] (2017-present)
Other political

Progressive Conservative (2011-2017)

Independent (as the Trillium Party lacked official party status)
Residence Woodlawn, Ontario
Alma mater Queen's University
Occupation Farmer, civil engineer

Jack MacLaren (born c. 1951) is a Canadian former politician who represented the eastern Ontario riding of Carleton—Mississippi Mills in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2011 to 2018. Originally elected as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, he was removed from the party's legislative caucus in 2017 by party leader Patrick Brown after a video recording surfaced of him suggesting that the party would repeal Franco-Ontarian language rights in the province.[2] MacLaren announced later that day that he had joined the Trillium Party of Ontario, becoming that party's first MPP.[1]


MacLaren was born in Woodlawn, Ontario in 1951.[3] He is a past president of the Ontario Landowners Association[4] and graduated with a BSc in civil engineering from Queen's University in 1972.


In 2011, MacLaren contested the party's nomination in the riding of Carleton—Mississippi Mills competing against the sitting MPP Norm Sterling, who had represented the riding and its predecessors in Queen's Park for 34 years.[5] MacLaren won the nomination with the help of one of Sterling's fellow MPPs, Randy Hillier. Hillier, who was also a past president of the Ontario Landowners Association, campaigned on behalf of MacLaren.[4][6]

In the 2011 provincial election, MacLaren defeated Liberal candidate Megan Cornell by about 9,102 votes.[4][7] In the 40th Parliament of Ontario, MacLaren served as his party's deputy critic for infrastructure and transportation from October 26, 2011 to September 30, 2013, when he was promoted to be his party's critic for Senate and Democratic reform.[8]

He was re-elected in the June 2014 provincial election defeating Liberal candidate Rosalyn Stevens by 10,029 votes.[9] On July 4, 2014, it was announced that MacLaren would continue be the party's critic for Senate and Democratic Reform.[8][10]

In November 2014, MacLaren introduced a private member's bill to repeal the law that grants environmental protections for the Niagara Escarpment for the second time.[11] The bill was named for a late friend of MacLaren's named Bob Mackie who was fighting to prevent the closure of an illegal archery range on his property on the escarpment.[11] MacLaren said that his bill would begin to reverse "the tide of creeping socialism that has been slowly taking away our property rights for decades" and that it would restore the values of "our British Christian cultural heritage of freedom, democracy, common-law and private property rights that date back to the Magna Carta of 1215.”[11] Most PC MPPs either stayed away from the chamber during the vote, which was 40–1 defeat of the bill, but some whose ridings included parts of the escarpment, such as Sylvia Jones, Ted Arnott, and former leader Tim Hudak, stayed to vote against it.[11]

MacLaren was the second MPP to back former federal Conservative Patrick Brown's successful bid for leadership in the 2015 Progressive Conservative leadership election, bringing with him the supporter of the small but dedicated Ontario Landowners Association[12]

In June 2015, MacLaren was accused of betraying social conservative values by Nick Vandergragt, a conservative radio talk show host on Ottawa's CFRA for marching in that year's Toronto Pride parade alongside PC leader Patrick Brown and other conservatives, both federal and provincial.[13]

MacLaren was named his party's Critic for Natural Resources and Forestry on September 10, 2015, as well as the Vice-Chair of the relevant committee.[14] Brown also made MacLaren, a libertarian, the chairman of the PC's Blue Ribbon Panel on Property Rights.[14][15] Also in Fall 2015, Brown chose MacLaren to replace fellow Ottawa PC MPP Lisa MacLeod as the party's critic for Eastern Ontario.[16]

On November 26, 2015, MacLaren officially invited a "group of friends and guests" from the Tamil community to hear him make a speech in Queen's Park about the "genocidal onslaught for the Tamils" in Sri Lanka.[17] A week after the speech, the National Post reported that the delegation selected by the Tamil community had included M. K. Eelaventhan, a Tamil politician that the Canada Border Services Agency is trying to deport from Canada for his previous connections to the Tamil Tigers, which is recognized by Canada as a terrorist organization.[17]

The Toronto Star reported on March 3, 2016 that MacLaren had been making inquiries on behalf of challengers to MacLeod in her Nepean—Carleton riding.[15] MacLaren refused to comment and the Progressive Conservatives dismissed the claims in the story.[18] At the Ottawa party convention which was ongoing when the story broke, Brown publicly endorsed MacLeod's renomination as candidate.[19]

Leave, demotion, and sensitivity training[edit]

MacLaren was forced to apologize on April 6, 2016 after calling his federal Liberal counterpart Karen McCrimmon to the stage at a cancer fundraising dinner the previous month in Carp, and then telling a vulgar joke about her and her husband's sexual relationship.[20] MacLaren emailed an apology to McCrimmon after the story was first reported by the Toronto Star.[20] The incident prompted criticism from across party lines, as fellow Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod and federal Conservative MP Michelle Rempel both tweeted in support of McCrimmon.[20] Patrick Brown said that the party had "zero tolerance for misogynistic comments and an apology was made correctly to Karen McCrimmon this morning."[20][21]

On April 12, 2016, the Ottawa Citizen reported that MacLaren's website included a testimonials section praising his work where most of the constituents were fictional and were represented by photos that had been taken without permission from the internet.[22] One of the testimonials was from a "Robert & Karen" from Constance Bay, which coincidentally is where MacLaren's federal counterpart, Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon lives with her husband Robert.[22] MacLaren's website initially added a disclaimer claiming that the names and depictions of constituents had been changed to protect their privacy before removing the page entirely.[23] MacLaren then issued an apology for the improper use of constituent testimonials and had his website taken offline.[23]

The next day, Patrick Brown decided to demote MacLaren after the events of the past few weeks by replacing him as the party's Eastern Ontario representative in caucus with Jim McDonell.[5] MacLaren kept his position as the shadow cabinet critic for natural resources, the chair of a party panel on property rights, and as an ambassador to ethnic communities.[12]

On April 14, the Ottawa Citizen reported that MacLaren had been heard making vulgar jokes about Premier Kathleen Wynne. Both Wynne and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath subsequently called on MacLaren to be kicked out of the Progressive Conservative caucus, and Wynne called for Queen's Park to create a code of conduct for MPPs. Brown ordered MacLaren to go on indefinite leave from legislature to focus on constituency work and to undergo sensitivity training.[24][25] Brown also stated that MacLaren's caucus responsibilities would be reassigned.[24][25]

On May 31, 2016, MacLaren returned to Queen's Park after completing his sensitivity training.[26]

Expulsion from PCs, first Trillium Party MPP[edit]

On May 28, 2017, Brown expelled MacLaren from the PC caucus, purportedly after a video recording surfaced of a 2012 speech in which he criticized French language rights in the province, and indicated that the party would act to limit them once in office. Brown also stated that MacLaren would not be allowed to run as a Tory in the next election.[27] After his expulsion was announced, he released a statement on Twitter saying he had joined the Trillium Party of Ontario.[1] MacLaren stated in an interview with the Toronto Star that he had already planned the week before to announce his move to the Trillium Party at a 3:30pm news conference on May 29, but Brown learned of his plans and expelled him first.[28] Brown said that while there had been rumours of MacLaren leaving to potentially form his own party, Brown personally was unaware of MacLaren's plan to join the Trillium Party until after he found out about the video and expelled him.[29]

In an interview with Evan Solomon on CFRA after his expulsion, MacLaren said that he had grown unhappy with the direction that Brown was taking the party and hadn't spoken to him in a year. MacLaren said that he felt he could serve his constituents better with the Trillium Party, and that the Progressive Conservatives had no values and its establishment was anti-democratic. He also characterized Solomon's questions on the reasoning for his dismissal as "talking about something that isn't helping anybody" and a valueless waste of time.[30]

Since the Trillium Party lacked official party status in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, MacLaren was officially considered an independent by the legislature.[31] In the 2018 election he lost his bid for personal re-election in the new riding of Kanata—Carleton, coming in 5th out of seven candidates.

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2018: Kanata—Carleton
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Merrilee Fullerton 23,089 43.57%
New Democratic John Hansen 15,161 28.61%
Liberal Stephanie Maghnam 9,110 17.19%
Green Andrew West 2,827 5.33%
Trillium Jack MacLaren 1,898 3.58%
Libertarian Peter D'Entremont 524 0.99%
None of the Above Robert LeBrun 384 0.72%
Total valid votes 100.0  
Progressive Conservative pickup new district.
Source: Elections Ontario[32]
Ontario general election, 2014: Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Jack MacLaren 30,590 47.49 −2.80
Liberal Rosalyn Stevens 20,472 31.78 −2.30
New Democratic John Hansen 8,744 13.57 +2.23
Green Andrew West 4,614 7.16 +3.85
Total valid votes 64,420 100.0   +14.54
Progressive Conservative hold Swing −0.25
Ontario general election, 2011: Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Jack MacLaren 28,246 50.29 +2.46
Liberal Megan Cornell 19,144 34.08 +2.15
New Democratic Liam Duff 6,371 11.34 +3.72
Green Scott Simser 1,857 3.31 −7.19
Family Coalition Cynthia Bredfeldt 549 0.98 +0.18
Total valid votes 56,167 100.00 +6.92
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 204 0.36 −0.09
Turnout 56,371 53.50 −1.80
Eligible voters 105,368   +10.42
Progressive Conservative hold Swing +0.16
"Summary of Valid Votes Cast for Each Candidate – October 6, 2011 General Election" (PDF). Elections Ontario. Nov 18, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
"Statistical Summary – General Elections 2011" (Microsoft Excel 2013 logo.svg Excel Spreadsheet). Elections Ontario. Oct 1, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 


  1. ^ a b c "Ottawa-area MPP Jack MacLaren expelled from PC caucus". CBC News. May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017. Hours after being expelled, however, MacLaren issued a statement on Twitter announcing he had joined the Trillium Party of Ontario 'after months of deliberation and discussion with my constituents.' 
  2. ^ Benzie, Robert (May 28, 2017). "MPP Jack MacLaren booted from Tory caucus over comments about French language rights". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  3. ^ Egan, Kelly (February 18, 2011). "Get ready for a political circus; It's Tory vs. Tory in nomination fight". The Ottawa Citizen. p. C1. 
  4. ^ a b c "MacLaren wins in Carleton-Mississippi Mills". Your Ottawa Region. October 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Leslie, Keith (13 April 2016). "Jack MacLaren demoted, but not removed from PC caucus after latest gaffe". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Veteran Tory MPP Norm Sterling loses nomination battle". The Toronto Star. April 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  8. ^ a b "Jack MacLaren, MPP (Carleton—Mississippi Mills)". Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "General Election by District: Kitchener—Conestoga". Elections Ontario. June 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Interim Ontario PC Leader Announces Shadow Cabinet". Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. July 4, 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d Reeveley, David (November 7, 2014). "Reevely: Jack MacLaren tilts at the Niagara Escarpment in defence of Ontario's 'British Christian heritage'". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Reeveley, David (April 13, 2016). "Reevely: Jack MacLaren on the bubble with Tories after latest gaffe". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Brennan, Richard J. (June 29, 2015). "Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod rejects anti-Pride comments from Ottawa radio host". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown Announces Shadow Cabinet". Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. September 10, 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Cohn, Martin Regg (March 3, 2016). "Cohn: Can Ontario PCs revive the Big Blue Machine amid Liberal blues?". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Sherring, Susan (December 13, 2016). "MPP Lisa MacLeod much quieter these days under leader Patrick Brown". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Bell, Stuart (December 2, 2016). "Ontario Conservatives 'unaware' their Queen's Park guest was being deported for terrorism". National Post. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  18. ^ Leslie, Keith (March 4, 2016). "'Pure Bull': Ontario conservatives dismiss report of caucus infighting". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  19. ^ Duffy, Andrew (March 6, 2016). "Tory leader uses Ottawa convention to build foundation of new party". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c d Benzie, Robert and Tonda MacCharles (April 6, 2016). "MacLaren won't be turfed from Tory caucus over vulgar 'joke' about MP". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Jones, Allison (April 6, 2016). "MP heartened to see all-party condemnation of politician's vulgar joke". National Newswatch. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  22. ^ a b Reevely, David (April 12, 2016). "Reevely: MPP Jack MacLaren touts praise from phantom constituents". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Benzie, Robert and Rob Ferguson (13 April 2016). "Conservative MPP Jack MacLaren in trouble again over fake testimonials on website". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Benzie, Robert (April 15, 2016). "PC Leader Patrick Brown should turf MPP Jack MacLaren, Wynne says". Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Leslie, Keith (April 18, 2016). "Ontario PC Jack MacLaren ordered to stay away from Queen's Park". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  26. ^ Benzie, Robert (May 31, 2016). "Controversial PC MPP Jack MacLaren returns to Queen's Park". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 13, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Jack MacLaren booted from PC caucus over controversial video". Global News. The Canadian Press. May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  28. ^ Benzie, Robert (May 29, 2017). "MPP Jack MacLaren was quitting before PC Leader Patrick Brown fired him". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown says he didn't know of Jack MacLaren's plan". Global News. Canadian Press. May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  30. ^ Raymond, Ted (May 29, 2017). "Jack MacLaren suggests he won't resign his seat in combative CFRA interview". CTV News. Archived from the original on 2017-06-01. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  31. ^ Jones, Allison (May 29, 2017). "Ontario MPP Jack MacLaren questions official reason for his removal from PC caucus". Global News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved May 29, 2017. He is now technically sitting as an independent, since the Trillium party doesn’t have official party status. 
  32. ^ "Kanata—Carleton". Election Night Results. Elections Ontario. Retrieved June 10, 2018. 

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