John Gerretsen

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John Gerretsen
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Gary Wilson
Succeeded by Sophie Kiwala
Constituency Kingston and the Islands
90th Mayor of Kingston, Ontario
In office
Preceded by Ken Keyes
Succeeded by Helen Cooper
Personal details
Born John Philip Gerretsen
(1942-06-09) June 9, 1942 (age 74)
Hilversum, Netherlands
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Assunta
Profession Lawyer

John Philip Gerretsen (born June 9, 1942) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1995 to 2014 who represented the eastern Ontario riding of Kingston and the Islands. He served as a Minister in the Cabinets of Premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.


Gerretsen was born in Hilversum, Netherlands during World War II, and moved to Canada with his parents in 1954. He was educated at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, receiving a BA degree in 1964 and an LL.B in 1967. He subsequently worked as a solicitor, serving with Manulife Insurance Company in Toronto from 1969 to 1970. His son Mark Gerretsen served as a Kingston, Ontario city councillor and was elected mayor in 2010.[1]

Municipal politics[edit]

Gerretsen's political career began in the early 1970s, at the municipal level. He was elected as a Kingston Alderman in 1972, and remained on the City Council until 1980 (serving as Deputy Mayor from 1976 to 1980). Gerretsen was elected Mayor of the city in 1980, and was re-elected twice before stepping down in 1988. He was also President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario from 1986 to 1987, and a trustee of Queen's University from 1981 to 1992.

After retiring from municipal politics, Gerretsen served as the Chair of the Ontario Housing Corporation (1989–1992) and was a Deputy Judge in the province's Small Claims Court (1993–1995). He also became active in politics at the provincial and federal levels. Gerretsen was an Executive Member of the Ontario Liberal Party's Kingston and the Islands riding association from 1989 to 1993, and was President of the Liberal Party of Canada's federal riding association from 1993 to 1995.

Provincial politics[edit]

Gerretsen was elected to the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1995, defeating Progressive Conservative candidate Sally Barnes and incumbent New Democrat Gary Wilson in Kingston and the Islands. This was a close three-way race—Gerretsen received 10,314 votes, Barnes 8,571, and Wilson 8,052.[2]

The general election was won by the Progressive Conservatives and Gerretsen entered parliament as a member of the opposition, serving as Opposition Critic on Municipal Affairs and Housing and Chief Opposition Whip.

In 1996, he ran to succeed Lyn McLeod as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Gerretsen was generally regarded as being on the right-wing of the party, and achieved some support in his home base of eastern Ontario. He placed fifth out of seven candidates on the first ballot, and dropped out after the second ballot. After withdrawing, he gave his support to Dalton McGuinty, the eventual winner.[3]

Gerretsen was easily re-elected in the 1999 provincial election, although the Progressive Conservatives were again victorious across the province.[4] Gerretsen continued as Opposition Whip, and remained a vocal Liberal MPP for the next four years.

McGuinty government[edit]

The Liberal Party won the 2003 election with 72 seats out of 103, and Gerretsen was re-elected with over 60% support.[5] On October 23, 2003, he was named Minister of Municipal Affairs, with responsibility for Seniors.[6] In March 2004, his portfolio was renamed the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Gerretsen was the primary spokesperson for the McGuinty government in its controversial decision to permit further housing expansion on the Oak Ridges Moraine, despite an election promise not to do so. The Liberals claimed that they lacked the legal authority to prevent further development in the area.[citation needed] His main legislative success has been in leading in the enactment of a 1.8 million acre (7,300 km²) green belt surrounding the City of Toronto in 2005.

After a cabinet shuffle on June 29, 2005, the responsibility for Seniors issues was transferred to another government minister. Gerretsen was retained as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.[7]

In the 2007 election of October 10, 2007, Gerretsen won re-election with just under 50 per cent support.[8] On October 29, 2007, Gerretsen was appointed as Minister of the Environment.[9]

On August 18, 2010, Gerretsen was moved to the post of Minister of the Consumer Services.[10]

He won re-election in the October 6, 2011 election. He was appointed Attorney General of Ontario and was re-appointed when Kathleen Wynne became premier in early 2013.[11]

On October 25, 2013, Gerretsen announced that he would not run in the next election.[12] Just before his retirement at the June 2014 election, Gerretsen was moved from the Attorney-General portfolio to that of Chair of Cabinet.[13]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Linda Jeffrey Chair of Cabinet
Jim Bradley
Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet Posts (5)
Predecessor Office Successor
Christopher Bentley Attorney General of Ontario
Madeleine Meilleur
Sophia Aggelonitis Minister of Consumer Services
Margarett Best
Jim Watson Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
2010 (January 12–18)
Jim Bradley
Laurel Broten Minister of the Environment
John Wilkinson
David Young Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Also responsible for Seniors
Jim Watson

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal John Gerretsen 21,040 48.24 +1.64
New Democratic Mary Rita Holland 10,229 23.74 +3.14
Progressive Conservative Rodger James 9,613 22.5 +0.2
Green Robert Kiley 1,590 3.69 -5.11
Family Coalition David Caracciolo 359 0.8
Libertarian Jamie Shaw 120 0.28
Freedom Paul Busch 73 0.2
Republican David Best 57 0.1
Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Gerretsen 23,273 47.2
Progressive Conservative John Rapin 10,994 22.3
New Democratic Rick Downes 10,126 20.6
Green Bridget Doherty 4,321 8.8
Family Coalition Chris K. Beneteau 418 0.9
Freedom Mark Fournier 137 0.3
Ontario general election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Gerretsen 28,877 60.28 +5.58
Progressive Conservative Hans Westenberg 9,640 20.12 -9.95
New Democratic Janet C. Collins 5,514 11.51 +0.23
Green Eric B. Walton 3,137 6.55 +4.11
Family Coalition Chris K. Beneteau 735 1.53 +0.40
Ontario general election, 1999
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal John Gerretsen 26,355 54.70
Progressive Conservative Bob Pickering 14,487 30.07
New Democratic Beth Pater 5,436 11.28
Green Chris Walker 1,174 2.44
Family Coalition Chris K. Beneteau 546 1.13
Natural Law Gerard Morris 182 0.38
Ontario general election, 1995
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal John Gerretsen 10,314 36.95
Progressive Conservative Sally Barnes 8,571 30.71
New Democratic Gary Wilson 8,052 28.85
Family Coalition John Pacheco 858 3.07
Natural Law Ronald Dunphy 115 0.41


  1. ^ "New mayor, new faces on council". Kingston Whig-Standard. October 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  3. ^ David Mutimer, ed. (2002). Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs (1996). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 120–1. 
  4. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 3, 1999. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Premier Dalton McGuinty and his 22-member cabinet were sworn in Thursday". Canadian Press NewsWire. October 23, 2003. p. 1. 
  7. ^ "Cabinet shuffle focuses on health care, education; McGuinty to head new Research and Innovation ministry". The Record (Kitchener, Ont). June 30, 2005. p. A5. 
  8. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. p. 6 (xv). 
  9. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Benzie, Robert (October 31, 2007). "Premier goes for new blood; Expanded 28-member cabinet has eight ministers from Toronto, three from 905 area". Toronto Star. p. A13. 
  10. ^ Aveling, Nick (August 18, 2010). "McGuinty moves 6, brings in 2 new faces in Ontario cabinet shuffle". Postmedia News. 
  11. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 7. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  12. ^ "Attorney General John Gerretsen set to retire from politics". Toronto Star. October 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kathleen Wynne shuffles Liberal cabinet". Toronto Star. March 25, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 

External links[edit]