John Sweeney (Canadian politician)

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John Sweeney
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byNew riding
Succeeded byMike Cooper
Personal details
Born(1931-06-20)June 20, 1931
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
DiedJuly 7, 2001(2001-07-07) (aged 70)
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal

John Roland Sweeney (June 20, 1931 – July 7, 2001) was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1990. He was a cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson.


Sweeney moved to Ontario in his youth, and was educated at the University of Toronto, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master's Degree in Education.


A devout Roman Catholic, Sweeney served as the Waterloo Catholic District School Board's first director of education from 1969 until 1975.

In 1975, he ran as a Liberal candidate in the 1975 election for the riding of Kitchener—Wilmot. Sweeney defeated Progressive Conservative Morley Rosenberg by 1,745 votes.[1] He was re-elected with increased majorities in the elections of 1977[2] and 1981.[3] He sat on the opposition benches until the Liberals formed government under David Peterson following the 1985 election.

He was a candidate in the 1982 Liberal leadership convention, but was eliminated on the first ballot, finishing last in a field of five candidates with only 122 votes.

In 1985, Sweeney was easily re-elected in his own riding.[4] He was appointed Minister of Community and Social Services on June 26, 1985.[5] He was retained in this position following the 1987 election, and was named Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on August 2, 1989.[6]

In 1989, Sweeney extended the Special Services at Home (SSAH) program to adults with developmental disabilities.

Sweeney was strongly pro-life, and was vocal about his views on the subject. He did not support the Peterson government's liberalization of access to abortion in the late 1980s.

Sweeney did not run in the 1990 election, although he worked as a lobbyist at Queen's Park in the 1990s.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of David Peterson
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chaviva Hošek (Housing)
John Eakins (Municipal Affairs)
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Dave Cooke
Ernie Eves Minister of Community and Social Services
Charles Beer

Later life[edit]

Out of politics, he became chair of the Canadian branch of Habitat for Humanity, and served as Chancellor of St. Jerome's University from 1992. He was hired to examine Ontario's education system in the 1990s, and recommended cutting the number of school boards. In 1999, Sweeney joined with Alan Redway and Marion Dewar to release "Where's Home?", a comprehensive study of housing in Ontario.

He died in 2001, aged 70, from a heart attack, having survived several such attacks in the past. He left his wife, Kay, and their 10 children.[7] There is a John Sweeney Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener, Ontario named after him.


  1. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12.
  2. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9.
  3. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Election results for Metro Toronto ridings". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  4. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13.
  5. ^ "Liberals pledge reform as they take over in Ontario". The Gazette. Montreal, Que. June 27, 1985. p. B1.
  6. ^ Allen, Gene (August 3, 1989). "Veterans bear load as 8 ministers cut in Peterson shuffle". The Globe and Mail. p. A1.
  7. ^ - John Sweeney devoted to public service Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]