Lily Oddie

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Lily Oddie
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded bySheila Copps
Succeeded byDavid Christopherson
ConstituencyHamilton Centre
Personal details
Born (1937-09-27) September 27, 1937 (age 81)
Political partyLiberal
Domestic partnerJohn Munro (divorced)

Lily Oddie, formerly known as Lily Munro (born September 27, 1937) is a former provincial politician in Ontario, Canada. She is best known for having been involved in a fundraising scandal involving Patti Starr.

Oddie married prominent Liberal politician John Munro on June 27, 1978, and took his surname. John Munro's career would also be undone by scandal in the 1980s, although he was later exonerated of any wrongdoing. The couple would later divorce, at which time Oddie returned to using her original name.[1]


She was educated at the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, earning a Ph.D. She worked as a psychologist after her graduation, and was involved in such organizations as Hamilton Status of Women, the Canadian Association for Adult Education and the American Education Research Association.


Oddie first ran for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in a by-election on December 13, 1984. A Liberal, she lost Sheila Copps's former riding of Hamilton Centre to Mike Davison of the New Democratic Party by 55 votes.[2]

She ran again for the Liberals in the 1985 provincial election. This election was a watershed moment in Ontario politics, as the Progressive Conservative Party which had governed Ontario since 1943 was brought to a precarious minority government status under Frank Miller's leadership. The Ontario Liberal Party under David Peterson dramatically increased the size of their caucus, and Oddie defeated Davison by 384 votes in a rematch from the previous year.[3]

The Liberals formed a minority government after the election, with assistance from the Ontario NDP. Oddie was appointed Minister of Citizenship and Culture on June 26, 1985.[4] She was re-elected with an increased majority in the 1987 provincial election,[5] and was named Minister of Culture and Communications on September 29, 1987.[6]

On August 2, 1989, Oddie was dropped from cabinet after being implicated in the Patti Starr affair. Starr had been accused of improperly diverting money from the Toronto section of the National Council of Jewish Women to the Liberal Party, following donations to the NCJW from corporations linked to the Tridel company of developers (to which Starr was also linked). In the course of investigations surrounding the scandal, it was revealed that Oddie had made use of such donations in her 1987 campaign.[7]

Oddie was not formally accused of wrongdoing, and it is unclear if she had any involvement in the scandal beyond accepting contributions from Starr. Nonetheless, the controversy was deemed significant enough that she resign her portfolio.[8]

She ran for re-election in the 1990 provincial election, but was defeated by David Christopherson of the NDP.[9]

Peterson cabinet[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of David Peterson
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Ed Fulton Minister of Culture and Communications
Christine Hart
Susan Fish Minister of Citizenship and Culture
Gerry Phillips

Later career[edit]

She worked as an adjudicator on the Immigration and Refugee Board. There was one incident of note in 2007, a decision by her to reject an applicant from the People's Republic of China who was seeking refugee status because of her claims that she faced persecution for her Christian beliefs was overturned. Oddie had repeatedly asked Pin Xian Xin "What is your favourite parabola?" Overturning Oddie's decision in the case, Justice Leonard Mandamin of the Federal Court of Canada assumed that Oddie had meant to say parable and ruled that "A parabola is a mathematical curve and not a Biblical story," concluding that "The applicant cannot be faulted for the confusion."[10] She left shortly thereafter. In 2008, she was appointed to the council of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.[11]

Oddie is also on the board of governors for Mohawk College in Hamilton.


  1. ^ "The joys of slow roasting | The Star". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  2. ^ Stephens, Robert; Cruickshank, John (December 14, 1984). "Liberals lose ground in Ontario by-elections". The Globe and Mail. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13.
  4. ^ "Liberals pledge reform as they take over in Ontario". The Gazette. Montreal, Que. June 27, 1985. p. B1.
  5. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2.
  6. ^ "Wrye gets new cabinet job". The Windsor Star. September 29, 1987. p. A1.
  7. ^ Walkom, Thomas (June 16, 1989). "25 politicians split $65,873 from charity". Toronto Star. p. A1.
  8. ^ Allen, Gene (August 3, 1989). "Veterans bear load as 8 ministers cut in Peterson shuffle". The Globe and Mail. p. A1.
  9. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.
  10. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (January 21, 2008). "The 'parabola' that saved a refugee: Chinese claimant wins appeal on garbled parable". National Post. p. A1.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Coyle, Jim (September 10, 2008). "Lily Oddie survives committee's grilling". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. p. A17.

External links[edit]