Joe Oliver (politician)

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For the former mayor of Toronto, see Joseph Oliver (politician).
The Honourable
Joe Oliver
Joe Oliver.JPG
38th Minister of Finance
In office
March 19, 2014 – November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Jim Flaherty
Succeeded by Bill Morneau
Minister of Natural Resources
In office
May 18, 2011 – March 19, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Christian Paradis
Succeeded by Greg Rickford
Member of Parliament
for Eglinton—Lawrence
In office
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Joe Volpe
Succeeded by Marco Mendicino
Personal details
Born (1940-05-20) May 20, 1940 (age 75)
Montreal, Canada
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Golda Goldman
Alma mater McGill University
Harvard University

Joseph "Joe" Oliver PC MP (born May 20, 1940) is a Canadian politician and the former Minister of Finance. He was elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 federal election[1] and represented the electoral district of Eglinton—Lawrence as a member of the Conservative Party until his defeat in the 2015 election.

Early life and career[edit]

Oliver was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, to a Jewish family. His father was a dentist and his mother was a teacher. He grew up attending Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.[2] He is currently married to Golda Goldman and has two sons, David and Jeffrey.[3]

Oliver received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961 and a Bachelor of Civil Law degree in 1964 from McGill University.[4] He received a MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1970.[5]

Following his studies he became an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and then Nesbitt Thomson. He became executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission and was also named the CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.

Political career[edit]

He ran in the 2008 election, but lost in a close race to the longtime Liberal incumbent, Joe Volpe. In the 2011 election, he defeated Volpe to win the seat.[6]

Minister of Natural Resources[edit]

On May 18, 2011, Oliver was sworn in as the Minister of Natural Resources.[7] In June 2011, Oliver repeated Harper's campaign promise to support Quebec's asbestos industry, by claiming that chrysotile asbestos, a carcinogen, could be used safely.[6] As Natural Resources Minister, Oliver also oversaw SNC-Lavalin's purchase of Atomic Energy of Canada.[6] Oliver has also defended pipeline projects for Canada's oil sands such as Keystone XL and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines.[6] In a January 2012 open letter defending Keystone XL Oliver called Canadians who opposed the project "radicals" who “use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”[6] During his time as natural resources minister, the ministry's advertising budget grew from $237,000 in 2010-11 to $40 million in 2012-13.[6] Also under Oliver, the regulatory checks on the energy industry's super-projects such as Keystone were streamlined.[6]

Minister of Finance[edit]

On March 19, 2014, Oliver was appointed to replace Jim Flaherty as Minister of Finance.[8] In January 2015, Oliver announced that the budget would not be tabled until April, instead of the usual February to March, because of economic uncertainty caused by the rapid drop in oil prices.[9] On April 21, 2015, Oliver presented the federal budget, which projected a $1.4 billion surplus by taking $2 billion from the country's contingency fund.[10]

During the 2015 Canadian federal election, Canada was officially declared to be in a recession and fellow cabinet minister Jason Kenney, who unlike Oliver, was running in a safe riding, was the primary Conservative spokesperson on the economy.[11] Meanwhile Oliver kept a low profile: he cancelled two speaking events at men's only clubs in Toronto, discretely attended a G20 conference in Turkey, and focused on winning his riding.[11][12][13]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Marco Mendicino 27,278 48.89 +10.47
Conservative Joe Oliver 23,788 42.64 -4.17
New Democratic Andrew Thomson 3,505 6.28 -5.32
Green Matthew Chisholm 799 1.43 -1.74
Libertarian Ethan Buchman 308 0.55
Animal Alliance Rudy Brunell Solomonvici 114 0.20
Total valid votes/Expense limit 55,792 99.94   $210,250.87
Total rejected ballots 328 0.58 -0.04
Turnout 56,120 72.45 +4.43
Eligible voters 77,463
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing
Source: Elections Canada[14][15]
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Joe Oliver 22,652 46.81 +7.56
Liberal Joe Volpe 18,590 38.42 -5.57
New Democratic Justin Chatwin 5,613 11.60 +3.18
Green Paul Baker 1,534 3.17 -5.17
Total valid votes 48,389 100.00
Total rejected ballots 302 0.62 +0.12
Turnout 48,691 68.02 +8.27
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +6.57

Source: Elections Canada

Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Joe Volpe 19,133 43.99 -8.90 $46,582
Conservative Joe Oliver 17,073 39.25 +9.00 $82,193
New Democratic Justin Chatwin 3,663 8.42 -3.07 $4,729
Green Andrew James 3,629 8.34 +3.22 $6,136
Total valid votes/Expense limit 43,498 100.00 $82,294
Total rejected ballots 219 0.50
Turnout 43,717 59.75
Liberal hold Swing -8.95


  1. ^ Election 2011: Eglinton—Lawrence. The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "JOE OLIVER, BA’61, BCL’64". 
  5. ^ "The Honourable Joe Oliver". 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kingston, Anne (5 September 2014). "The PM’s latest secret weapon: Joe Oliver". Maclean's. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Canada, Parliament of. "Member of Parliament Profile". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Josh Wingrove, Steven Chase, Bill Curry And Shawn McCarthy (March 19, 2014). "New Finance Minister Joe Oliver enters with a whisper". The Globe and Mail. 
  9. ^ Canadian Press (15 January 2015). "Federal budget to be delayed until April in light of low oil prices". Maclean's. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Fact-checking Joe Oliver: Doing the math on budget 2015". Maclean's. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Le Couteur, Mike and Monique Muise (17 September 2015). "Where’s Joe Oliver? Finance minister says he’s just been busy in his riding". Global News. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Gillis, Charlie (3 September 2015). "Where’s Joe Oliver? Why in Turkey, of course.". Maclean's. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Joe Oliver in Turkey for G20 meeting during election campaign". CBC News. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Eglinton—Lawrence, 30 September 2015
  15. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates

External links[edit]

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Joe Volpe
Member of Parliament
for Eglinton—Lawrence

Succeeded by
Marco Mendicino
Political offices
Preceded by
Christian Paradis
Minister of Natural Resources
Succeeded by
Greg Rickford
Preceded by
Jim Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Bill Morneau