Laurel Broten

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Laurel Broten
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Etobicoke—Lakeshore
In office
October 2, 2003 – July 2, 2013
Preceded byMorley Kells
Succeeded byDoug Holyday
Personal details
Born1967 (age 52–53)
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Paul Laberge
ResidenceHalifax, Nova Scotia

Laurel C. Broten (born c. 1967)[1] is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2003 to 2013, who represented the Toronto riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. She served in the cabinets of Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty.


Prior to entering politics, she was a lawyer, community activist and volunteer. Broten attended McMaster University from 1986 to 1990, and has both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from the institution. She also received an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario in 1993. She was a law clerk to Madam Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada from 1993 to 1994, and later had a practice in civil and commercial litigation. She has also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Gatehouse, a community centre for survivors of child abuse.[2]

In 2007, Broten and her husband were criticized after they applied for a permit to build a large two-storey garage behind their home. Dubbed the "garage mahal" by neighbours, the structure was meant to hold the couple's four vehicles. The plan was notable at the time due to Broten's position as the Minister of the Environment. Following a public outcry and stories in the media, plans to build the garage were cancelled.[3][4]

Broten, her husband, and their two children moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2013.[5]

Provincial politics[edit]

Broten ran for the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1999, but was defeated by Progressive Conservative Morley Kells in Etobicoke-Lakeshore by 5,156 votes. She ran again in the 2003 election, and defeated Kells by 6,722 votes amid a provincial shift to the Liberals.

38th Legislative Assembly[edit]

On October 23, 2003, she was named as the Parliamentary Assistant to Premier Dalton McGuinty. In this role she conducted province-wide consultations to develop meaningful reforms to address domestic violence in Ontario. This led to the Government’s Domestic Violence Action Plan which included a groundbreaking public education campaign. She also chaired the Premier’s Shared Air Summit, which drew scientists and policy makers from across North America to tackle the linked issues of smog and transboundary air pollution.

She introduced two private member bills in 2004. The first, entitled Kids First Licences Act, proposed to allow drivers to make charitable donations to children's charities whenever they renewed their vehicle licence. The second, called Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment (an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act), proposed to impose additional duties and responsibilities in workplaces.[6]

On June 29, 2005, Broten was appointed to cabinet as Minister of the Environment. As minister, she developed policies under one of Canada’s most comprehensive Climate Change Plans in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She also introduced the Clean Water Act designed to better safeguard Ontario’s drinking water.

39th Legislative Assembly[edit]

Broten was re-elected in 2007, and was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. While there, she authored a report detailing a Five Point Action Plan to create more opportunities and reduce barriers for internationally trained doctors in Ontario. Her report formed the basis for new legislation in 2008.

In 2008, she introduced legislation that imposes a duty to report images of child abuse. The following year she unanimously passed a resolution calling for a review of reporting standards for listed companies.

In 2009, Broten was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. On October 7 that year, she was appointed Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues.[7]

40th Legislative Assembly[edit]

In 2011, Broten was re-elected again. Premier Dalton McGuinty reorganized his cabinet and appointed her as Minister of Education and minister responsible for women's issues.[8]

On February 11, 2013, following a long battle with teachers' unions,[9] Premier Kathleen Wynne appointed her as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.[10] Laurel resigned from the cabinet and the legislature on July 2, 2013.[11]

On June 23, 2013, Broten announced that she would be "leaving politics effective July 2nd" and moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia.[12]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Dalton McGuinty Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Also Responsible for Women's Issues
Kathleen Wynne
Ontario Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Eric Hoskins Minister of Children and Youth Services
Also Responsible for Women's Issues
Teresa Piruzza
Leona Dombrowsky Minister of Education
Also Responsible for Women's Issues
Liz Sandals
Deb Matthews Minister of Children and Youth Services
Also Responsible for Women's Issues
Eric Hoskins
Leona Dombrowsky Minister of the Environment
John Gerretsen

Electoral record[edit]

2011 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laurel Broten 22,058 50.8 +4.94
Progressive Conservative Simon Nyilassy 12,679 29.2 -1.44
New Democratic Dionne Coley 6,781 15.6 +2.03
Green Angela Salewsky 1,151 2.7 - 5.15
Libertarian Hans Kunov 213 0.5
Freedom Mark Brombacher 182 0.4
Socialist Natalie Lochwin 137 0.3
Independent John Letonja 118 0.3
Independent Thane MacKay 113 0.3
Total valid votes 43,432 100.00
2007 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laurel Broten 20,246 45.86 +1.70
Progressive Conservative Tom Barlow 13,524 30.64 1.95
New Democratic Andrea Németh 5,991 13.57 -6.52
Green Jerry Schulman 3,464 7.85 +6.26
Family Coalition Bob Williams 464 1.05 -0.03
Independent Janice Murray 456 1.03 +0.53
Total valid votes 44,145 100.00
2003 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laurel Broten 19,680 44.16 +8.31
Progressive Conservative Morley Kells 14,524 32.59 -14.39
New Democratic Irene Jones 8,952 20.09 +5.37
Green Junyee Wang 708 1.59
Family Coalition Ted Kupiec 480 1.08 +0.12
Independent Janice Murray 225 0.50 -0.18
Total valid votes 44,569 100.00
1999 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Morley Kells 20,602 46.98 +1.75
Liberal Laurel Broten 15,723 35.85 +6.27
New Democratic Vicki Obedkoff 6,457 14.72 -10.45
Family Coalition Kevin McGourty 423 0.96
Natural Law Don Jackson 349 0.80 +0.16
Independent Janice Murray 299 0.68
Total valid votes 43,853 100.00

Post-political career[edit]

After she resigned from the Ontario Cabinet and legislature, Broten and her family eventually settled in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia.[13] She had initially stated that she was moving to Halifax, for her husband Paul obtained a job at Emera as special counsel for senior projects.[14]

Not long after Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil's Liberal Party swept to electoral victory, she was hired as a government consultant to lead a comprehensive review of the taxation in the province.[15] Her final report, released on November 19, 2014,[16] made 22 recommendations on taxation; these included eliminating the tax bracket for high-income ($150,000 and over) earners, eliminating refundable tax credits, eliminating a tax rebate for seniors, reducing corporate taxes for large businesses, introducing a carbon tax and expanding the HST to include numerous exempt products including books, children's clothes, diapers, and feminine hygiene products. Broten's report was generally panned, and Nova Scotia Finance Minister Diana Whalen subsequently scheduled several public consultations across the province in the winter of 2015.[17][18] On March 25, 2015, Whalen said "every recommendation in the Broten review is [being] looked at", including a carbon tax, but only explicitly ruled out increasing the HST on books and eliminating a volunteer firefighter tax credit.[19]

On January 14, 2015, Broten was selected by the Nova Scotia Business Incorporated (NSBI) board to the position of President and CEO of NSBI.[20] Her initial salary was comparable to that of her predecessor, Stephen Lund.[21][22]


  1. ^ Keung, Nicholas (May 10, 1999). "Tight three-way race expected in swing riding". Toronto Star.
  2. ^ Shephard, Tamara (September 26, 2003). "Etobicoke-Lakeshore candidates well known in the community;Ontario Votes 2003". Etobicoke Guardian. p. 5.
  3. ^ Rob Ferguson. Broten won't build 'garage mahal' after all. Toronto Star. July 4, 2007.
  4. ^
  5. ^ MacLeod, Paul (June 26, 2013). "Halifax-bound Grit Puts Politics on Hold". Chronicle Herald.
  6. ^ Shephard, Tamara (October 29, 2004). "MPP bills aid workers, charities". Etobicoke Guardian. p. 7.
  7. ^ Premier Announces Changes To Ontario Cabinet
  8. ^ Radwanski, Adam (October 19, 2011). "McGuinty's new cabinet a lot like the old cabinet". Toronto: Globe and Mail.
  9. ^ Keith, Leslie (June 23, 2013). "Ontario Cabinet Minister Laurel Broten Quits". Toronto: Globe and Mail.
  10. ^ Benzie, Robert (February 11, 2013). "Wynne's Liberal cabinet to include 10 rookie ministers in sweeping shuffle". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  11. ^ The Canadian Press. "Liberal cabinet minister Laurel Broten quits". CBC News. CBC News. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  12. ^ Ferguson, Rob (June 24, 2013). "MPP Laurel Broten quitting politics". Toronto Star. p. A2.
  13. ^ Laurel C. Broten (November 2014). "Charting a Path for Growth: Nova Scotia Tax and Regulatory Review" (PDF).
  14. ^ MacLeod, Paul (June 26, 2013). "Halifax-bound Grit Puts Politics on Hold". Chronicle Herald.
  15. ^ Bousquet, Tim (November 20, 2014). "Trickled Upon". Halifax: Halifax Examiner.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Nova Scotia should expand HST and Introduce Carbon Tax: Report". Chronicle Herald. November 19, 2014.
  18. ^ "Will Stephen McNeil's Tax Credit Fund Entrepreneurs or More Winter Golfing Vacations?". Metro. November 23, 2014.
  19. ^ "N.S. spring budget will address some tax recommendations: finance minister". March 25, 2015.
  20. ^
  21. ^ MacLeod, Paul (January 14, 2015). "Laurel Broten appointed head of Nova Scotia Business agency". Chronicle Herald.
  22. ^ Bousquet, Tim (January 14, 2015). "Laurel Broten proves Nova Scotia is the land of opportunity". Halifax Examiner.

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