Jim Rondeau

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Jim Rondeau
Minister of Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs
In office
January 13, 2012 – October 18, 2013
PremierGreg Selinger
Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors
In office
November 3, 2009 – January 13, 2012
PremierGreg Selinger
Minister of Science, Energy, Technology and Mines
In office
September 21, 2006 – November 3, 2009
PremierGary Doer
Minister of Industry, Economic Development and Mines
In office
October 12, 2004 – September 21, 2006
PremierGary Doer
Preceded byScott Smith
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
In office
September 21, 1999 – March 6, 2016
Preceded byLinda McIntosh
Succeeded bySteven Fletcher
Personal details
Born (1959-04-06) April 6, 1959 (age 60)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party

Jim Rondeau (born April 6, 1959)[1] is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He has been a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba since 1999, and served as cabinet minister in the provincial governments of Gary Doer and Greg Selinger from 2003 to 2013. Rondeau is a member of the New Democratic Party.[2] In April 2015, Rondeau announced he would not seek re-election.

Early life and career[edit]

The son of Gaston Joseph Rondeau and Dorothy Jean Finch,[1] he was born in Winnipeg, and was educated at John Taylor Collegiate. He holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Winnipeg and has completed post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Manitoba.[2] He was a teacher at Norway House High School from 1981 to 1984 and later taught at Cranberry Portage, before becoming coordinator of the Frontier School Division at the University of Winnipeg. Rondeau helped establish several learning centres and libraries throughout the province,[3] and founded a school-to-work transition program for young people from northern Manitoba.[4] He also coached the Winnipeg Eagles Volleyball Club, and was coach and manager of the Manitoba Volleyball team in several North American Aboriginal Games.[5]


Government backbencher[edit]

Rondeau was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in the 1999 provincial election with a dramatic victory in the west-end Winnipeg riding of Assiniboia, previously regarded as safe for the Progressive Conservative Party. On election night, the final vote totals showed Progressive Conservative incumbent Linda McIntosh winning re-election by two votes.[6] After the institutional ballots were counted, however, Rondeau was declared elected by six votes.[7] A recount later reduced his majority to four, and a subsequent judicial ruling struck it down to three.[8]

Rondeau entered the legislature as a backbench supporter of Gary Doer's government, and soon became known as a strong constituency worker.[9] He kept a strong interest in educational issues, and was a frequent participant in debates at the St. James-Assiniboia School Board.[10] He represented the provincial government at Manitoba's 2001 Hire a Student Day event,[11] and was appointed to the board of Junior Achievement of Manitoba in 2003 with responsibility for Government, Education and Labor Relations.[12] Rondeau also played an important role in assuring passage of the provincial Canadian Forces Personnel Act.[2]

Rondeau is the first openly gay member of the Manitoba legislature, and was the keynote speaker of Winnipeg's 2000 Gay Pride Parade.[13] He encouraged the Doer government to introduce full legal equality for gay and lesbian couples during its first term, and strongly supported 2002 legislation that ensured full equality for all common-law relationships.[14] He later became a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, which was legalized in Canada in 2005.[15] Rondeau has said that his sexual orientation has never been controversial in his constituency, once telling a journalist, "People don't care one way or the other. I'm surprised, pleasantly surprised, that people don't make it an issue."[16]

Rondeau supported Jack Layton for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party in 2003.

Minister of Healthy Living[edit]

Rondeau's narrow victory in 1999 made his seat a key Progressive Conservative target in the 2003 election, but he was re-elected with 63% of the vote, winning every poll but one. In November 2003, he was appointed as Minister of Healthy Living within the Department of Health, with special responsibility for Seniors and Healthy Child Manitoba. He became a strong advocate for public awareness and preventative medicine,[17] and indicated that the Doer government would consider removing the provincial sales tax from nutritional supplements and alternative foods.[18]

In December 2003, Rondeau announced that Manitoba would ban all smoking from indoor public places and workplaces within a year. The initiative was described as the most ambitious anti-smoking strategy in Canada, and a February 2004 poll showed that many smokers were considering quitting in light of the ban.[19] Rondeau introduced the anti-smoking bill in March 2004, and the ban came into effect at the beginning of October.[20] The bill exempted tobacco shops as well as native reserves and casinos, which the government argued were outside provincial jurisdiction.[21]

In March 2004, Rondeau announced that the Doer government had signed a $2.5-million contract to create a Prostate Centre at CancerCare Manitoba.[22] He later handled negotiations concerning whether or not the Manitoba government would provide funding for an abortion clinic in Winnipeg.[23] Despite some initial reluctance, he announced in July 2004 that the government would fully fund abortions at Jane's Clinic, once owned by Henry Morgentaler.[24] In late April 2004, he announced that the provincial government would pay for child vaccinations against chicken pox, meningitis and pneumococcus.[25]

Rondeau and Fort Garry representative Kerri Irvin-Ross co-chaired public hearings on Manitoba's privacy laws in May 2004.[26] Later in the year, he announced that the government would establish a "Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures" committee of the legislature.[27]

Minister of Industry, Economic Development and Mines[edit]

Rondeau was promoted to a full cabinet portfolio on October 12, 2004, as Minister of Industry, Economic Development and Mines. He indicated that Manitoba had the potential for strong economic growth in the mining sector, particularly in light of the need for raw materials in countries such as India and China. He also announced that he would work to reduce government bureaucracy in the sector, and make it easier for mining projects to get underway.[28] The mining sector reported dramatic growth in 2005, highlighted by a new investment from Inco and a new gold mine project in Bissett.[29]

Rondeau launched a farm immigration program in February 2005, making it easier for young farmers to move to Manitoba.[30] He also expanded oil exploration in the province, removing the sales tax for drilling and exploration equipment.[31] Manitoba's oil sector grew at a record level in 2006, with 478 new wells started.[32]

In 2004-05, Rondeau accused the federal government and federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh of undermining Manitoba's online pharmaceutical industry, which was then shipping large quantities of medication to the United States of America.[33] He argued that the government should compensate Manitoba for lost jobs if it chose to shut down the sector.[34] Rondeau later indicated that he would support a ban on bulk exports to America, but added that government intervention appeared to be unnecessary in any event.[35]

As Industry minister, Rondeau was responsible for overseeing the troubled Crocus Investment Fund and faced difficult questions relating to the fund's management in early 2005.[36] He acknowledged that the province was responsible for regulating Crocus, but argued that it had no involvement in the fund's day-to-day operations.[37]

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines[edit]

After a cabinet shuffle on September 21, 2006, Rondeau was reassigned as Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines. Soon after his appointment, he announced that the Doer government would spend $70M to clean up the province's abandoned mines.[38]

Rondeau criticized the environmental strategy of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government in late 2006, saying that Harper was not moving as assertively as had the previous government of Paul Martin.[39] Notwithstanding this criticism, he indicated in early 2007 that Manitoba's share of a $1.5 billion federal Eco-Trust and Clean Air Fund will be at least $50 million, and could reach $100 million.[40] He has said that the money will go to developing hydrogen technology for buses and providing energy efficiency programs for low-income Manitobans.

Rondeau supports a proposed east-west Canadian power grid,[40] and has endorsed the federal government's plan for a national ban on inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012.[41] In February 2007, he announced that anyone who registers an energy-efficient hybrid vehicle in Manitoba between 15 November 2006 and 15 November 2008 will receive a $2,000 rebate from the provincial government.[42]

Rondeau was re-elected in the 2007 provincial election, as the New Democratic Party won a third consecutive majority government. He retained his position as Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines, and was also appointed as interim Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade, a position he held until February 2008.

Rondeau has said that Manitoba would neither raise Hydro rates nor implement a carbon tax to promote conservation, arguing that the goal could be achieved by other means.[43] He announced a "pause" on further uranium exploration permits the following month, after health and environmental concerns were raised by the Northlands Dene First Nation.[44] He has also indicated that the provincial and federal governments will spend over half a million dollars to expand a biodiesel testing laboratory in Manitoba Hydro's East Selkirk plant,[45] and has announced legislation to encourage further growth within the sector.[46]

In late 2007, he wrote an editorial piece in support of a government policy requiring that 8.5% of the total volume of gasoline sold in Manitoba is to be ethanol. The mandate will take effect in 2008.[47] In January 2008, Rondeau announced a tax credit for investments in small and medium-sized businesses.[48]

Electoral record[edit]

Manitoba general election, 2007: Assiniboia
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jim Rondeau 5,177 62.21 −0.84 $33,430.38
     Progressive Conservative Kelly de Groot 2,686 32.28 +4.63 $32,070.95
Liberal Bernie Bellan 459 5.52 −2.53 $340.32
Total valid votes 8,322 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 51
Turnout 8,373 61.83 +1.96
Electors on the lists 13,541

Manitoba general election, 2003: Assiniboia
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jim Rondeau 5,147 63.05 +18.81 $24,846.66
     Progressive Conservative Dennis Wishanski 2,257 27.65 −16.55 $23,921.25
Liberal Monique Graboski 657 8.05 −3.51 $5,664.36
Green Jesse Tottle 102 1.25 $14.14
Total valid votes 8,163 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 22
Turnout 8,185 59.87 −12.50
Electors on the lists 13,671

Manitoba general election, 1999: Assiniboia
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jim Rondeau 4,347 44.24 $12,989.00
     Progressive Conservative Linda McIntosh 4,344 44.20 $26,190.58
Liberal Deborah Shiloff 1,136 11.56 $5,744.56
Total valid votes 9,827 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 53
Turnout 9,880 72.37
Electors on the lists 13,653

All Manitoba divisions were redistributed before the 1999 election.

All electoral information is taken from Elections Manitoba. Expenditure entries refer to individual candidate expenses.


  1. ^ a b Lumley, Elizabeth (2009). Canadian Who's Who 2009. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802040926.
  2. ^ a b c "Jim's Bio". Jim Rondeau's website. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  3. ^ Nick Martin, "Summer reading in cards for pupils", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 May 2002, A4; Nick Martin, "Literacy programs reap happy harvest", Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 2002, A12.
  4. ^ Allison Bray, "Getting a feel for the job", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 March 1996, A10.
  5. ^ Aldo Santin, "Everything isn't just Ducky", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 1995; Marvin MacDonald, "Young swimmer's showing earns spot on national team", Winnipeg Free Press, 30 July 1993; Kim Guttormson, "Politicians jump at chance to aid Games' success", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 August 2002, A7.
  6. ^ "Northwest Winnipeg", Winnipeg Free Press, 22 September 1999, B3.
  7. ^ "Institutional vote bolsters to NDP majority", Globe and Mail, 25 September 1999, A5; David Kuxhaus, "NDP gains another seat", Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 1999.
  8. ^ "McIntosh appeals...", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 1999, A8; "Rondeau cements Assiniboia victory", Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1999, A8. Rondeau indicated that one of the disqualified votes was marked with a happy face symbol instead of an "X".
  9. ^ David Kuxhaus, "Manitoba Tories start long march to recapturing key PC constituency", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 2002, A4.
  10. ^ Some board members resented his involvement. See "School board feuding with MLA Rondeau interfering: St. James chairman", Winnipeg Free Press, 23 October 2000, A12.
  11. ^ "Looking for summer help? Students eager to get jobs", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 2001, A4.
  12. ^ "Manitoba movers", Winnipeg Free Press, 14 April 2003, B9.
  13. ^ "Exhibits, events highlight gay week", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 June 2000, A8.
  14. ^ "NDP gallops ahead on gay rights", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 June 2002, A14.
  15. ^ Patti Edgar, "300 rally to back gay marriage", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 2003, A3.
  16. ^ Aldo Santin, "NDP in fight for hard-won seat", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 May 2003, A11.
  17. ^ Mia Rabson, "New minister taking a healthy approach", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 2003, B5.
  18. ^ Daniel Lett, "Healthier foods may get PST break", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 2004, B5.
  19. ^ "Can province enforce smoking ban?", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 November 2003, B2; Leah Janzen, "Ban spurs smokers to quit: poll", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 2004, A3. See also Leah Janzen, "Teen smoking plunges in province", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 August 2004, A1.
  20. ^ "Manitoba and New Brunswick banned smoking in all public places", CTV News, 1 October 2004.
  21. ^ Mia Rabson, "Smoking ban 'historic'", Winnipeg Free Press, 3 March 2004, A1; "Smokers won't be completely out in the cold once Manitoba's new anti-smoking law takes effect", Broadcast News, 4 March 2004, 19:23.
  22. ^ Mia Rabson, "Cancer battle given boost", Winnipeg Free Press, B7.
  23. ^ Patti Edgar, "Clinic asks province to pay for abortions", Winnipeg Free Press, 11 April 2004, A3.
  24. ^ Daniel Lett, "Province funding abortions at clinic", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 2004, A1.
  25. ^ Mia Rabson, "Children will get vaccines for free", Winnipeg Free Press, 28 April 2004, A1.
  26. ^ "Privacy laws under attack", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 May 2004, A3.
  27. ^ Mia Rabson, "Government wants to get kids off the couch", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 September 2004, A4.
  28. ^ Geoff Kirbyson, "Miners locate optimism", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 November 2004, C9.
  29. ^ Murray McNeill, "Mining exploration soars in province", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 July 2005, B7; Tara Perkins, "Inco to develop new nickel ore body at the Thompson mine in Manitoba", Canadian Press, 29 August 2005, 15:14; Bill Redekop, "Bissett going for gold: Biggest mine to open in 15 years creates jobs, hope", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 2005, B6.
  30. ^ "MB Adds Farm Component To Nominee Program", Resource News International, 8 February 2005, 15:05; Bill Redekop, "Province luring foreign farmers", Winnipeg Free Press, 9 February 2005, A6.
  31. ^ Martin Cash, "Province to eliminate sales tax on oil exploration equipment", Winnipeg Free Press, 9 March 2006, B5.
  32. ^ Mia Rabson, "Oil industry shatters record 478 new wells dug last year in Manitoba", Winnipeg Free Press, 16 January 2007, A3.
  33. ^ Mia Robson, "Feds would kill city jobs to safeguard drug supply", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 December 2006, A1.
  34. ^ Paul Egan, "Pay up for lost Net jobs, feds told", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 January 2005, A1.
  35. ^ Michelle MacAfee, "Online pharmacists hope to make fresh start with new Tory government", Canadian Press, 5 February 2006, 15:57.
  36. ^ Paul Egan, "Ministers rebuff call to dump Crocus director", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 April 2005, A3.
  37. ^ "Man. government won't be named in class-action suit by Crocus shareholders", Canadian Press, 9 July 2005, 21:03; Larry Kusch, "Crocus class action won't touch province", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 July 2005, A1.
  38. ^ Mia Rabson, "$70M set aside to clean up toxic mine sites", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 September 2006, A6.
  39. ^ Paul Samyn, "Manitoba pans green plan East-west grid isn't mentioned", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 2006, A5.
  40. ^ a b Mia Rabson, "Province has wish list for federal green cash", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 February 2007, A3.
  41. ^ Dennis Bueckert, "Lights out for incandescent bulbs", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 2007, A9.
  42. ^ Steve Pona, "Provincial rebates offered for hybrids", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 February 2007, B7.
  43. ^ Mia Rabson, "Sierra Club says hike hydro rates and tax polluters", Winnipeg Free Press, 27 June 2007, 4.
  44. ^ Dan Lett, "Dene seek to halt uranium exploration", Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 2007, 5.
  45. ^ David Kuxhaus, "Biodiesel lab to get $614,000", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 July 2007, A13.
  46. ^ "Biofuels development in Manitoba would move forward with proposed changes to legislation", eSource Canada Business News Network, 11 October 2007.
  47. ^ Jim Rondeau, "Let's welcome new biofuel era", Winnipeg Free Press, 28 October 2007, B6.
  48. ^ Martin Cash, "New tax credit promotes investment in mid-size businesses", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 January 2008, B4.

External links[edit]

Manitoba Provincial Government of Gary Doer
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Scott Smith Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade
Andrew Swan
himself, Dave Chomiak* Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines
Scott Smith Minister of Industry, Economic Development and Mines
himself, Scott Smith*
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
position created in 2003 Minister responsible for Healthy Child Manitoba
Theresa Oswald
Diane McGifford Minister responsible for Seniors
Theresa Oswald
position created in 2003 Minister responsible for Healthy Living
This was a subset of the Ministry of Health.
Theresa Oswald