List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in Canada
The following is a list of the first openly LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) holders of elected or appointed political office in Canada.
In addition to the milestones noted below, Canada has also had a number of prominent politicians who were not out as gay during their careers in politics, either coming out after they retired or being officially outed only in posthumous biographical sources.
- 1 First overall
- 2 Federal
- 3 Provincial and territorial
- 4 Municipal
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- First openly gay political candidate, regardless of electoral status: Peter Maloney ran for a seat on the Toronto Board of Education in the Toronto municipal election, 1972 as an openly gay candidate. (He had previously been an Ontario Liberal Party candidate in St. George in the 1971 Ontario provincial election, and some later biographical sources have stated that he ran as an openly gay candidate at that time as well, but no indication of his sexuality is seen in any media coverage of the 1971 election. The first known coverage of Maloney which makes any reference to his sexuality is of a party policy conference in early 1972, several months after the election was over.) Robert Douglas Cook, a Gay Alliance Toward Equality candidate for the electoral district of West Vancouver-Howe Sound in the 1979 British Columbia provincial election, has been credited with this distinction by some media outlets, but was in fact merely the first to run as a candidate of an explicitly gay-identified political organization.
- First transgender candidate, regardless of electoral status: Jamie Lee Hamilton ran for Vancouver's Parks Board in 1996. Jennifer McCreath, a Strength in Democracy candidate in Avalon in the 2015 federal election, was the first transgender candidate in a federal election.
- First openly gay person elected to office: Raymond Blain (Montreal City Council, 1986) is commonly credited with this distinction, although Maurice Richard (National Assembly of Quebec, 1985) predated him and the story was simply not picked up by national media until later on. Jim Egan (Comox-Strathcona Regional District board, 1981) may also have predated both of them, although sources are unclear on whether he ran as an openly gay candidate at the time.
- Member of Parliament:
By provincial delegation
As of 2015, seven of Canada's ten provinces have elected at least one LGBT MP to the House of Commons.
- British Columbia
- Nova Scotia
- Sheri Benson, MP - 2015
- Randy Boissonnault, MP - 2015
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Seamus O'Regan, MP - 2015
Provincial and territorial
As of 2015, only New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Nunavut have never had an openly gay member of their provincial or territorial legislatures. (Richard Hatfield, premier of New Brunswick from 1970 to 1987, was outed as gay following his death, but was never publicly out during his career in politics.)
The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have had more than one LGBT member, and all have had both gay men and lesbian women serve in the legislatures. The other three provinces and one territory which have had out LGBT legislators have had only one each to date.
Ontario has also had four gay members of its provincial legislature — Ian Scott, Keith Norton, Phil Gillies and Dominic Agostino — who predated George Smitherman's election in 1999, but were not out to the general public during their time in politics.
- Provincial Premier
- Provincial cabinet minister:
- Leader of a provincial party: Allison Brewer (New Brunswick New Democratic Party) – 2005
- Leader of a provincial party with seats in a legislature: André Boisclair (Parti Québécois) – 2005
- Provincial and territorial legislators:
- British Columbia
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Gerry Rogers, 2011
- Nova Scotia: Joanne Bernard, 2013
- Prince Edward Island: Wade MacLauchlan, 2015
- Yukon: Dale Eftoda, 2001
- Northwest Territories: Julie Green, 2015
- Mayor of any municipality: Maurice Richard served as mayor of Bécancour, Quebec from 1975 to 1985. Contemporary biographical sources indicate that he came out as gay sometime during this term, but do not specify what year. After serving a term in the National Assembly of Quebec from 1985 to 1989, he was reelected to another stint as mayor of Bécancour in 1995.
- Mayor of a major city: Glen Murray (Winnipeg) – 1998 (world's first)
One mayor, Charlotte Whitton in Ottawa (1951-56, 1961-64), has been the subject of unresolved debate about her sexual orientation. Whitton spent much of her adult life sharing her home with a woman, Margaret Grier; in 1999, 24 years after Whitton's death, the National Archives of Canada publicly released many intimate personal letters between Whitton and Grier. The release of these papers sparked much debate in the Canadian media about whether Whitton and Grier's relationship could be characterized as lesbian, or merely as an emotionally intimate friendship between two unmarried women. Whitton never publicly identified herself as lesbian during her lifetime, and thus could not be considered Canada's first out LGBT mayor regardless of the status of her relationship with Grier.
- First city councillor: At the last caretaker meeting of Tecumseh, Ontario's municipal council following the 1980 municipal elections, outgoing reeve and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Cameron Frye acknowledged that he was gay. The campaign had been marked by rumours about Frye's sexuality, including the distribution of hate literature claiming that Frye would promote a "gay lifestyle" as mayor and would lead the town into "moral decay", although Frye refused to confirm or deny the claims about his sexuality during the campaign. Frye was first elected to the municipal council in 1972.
- First city councillor already out at first election: Raymond Blain (Montreal), 1986
- City councillor in Edmonton: Michael Phair – 1992
- City councillor in Red Deer: Paul Harris - 2010
- City councillor in Vancouver:
- City councillor in Cumberland: Conner Copeman - 2011
- City councillor in Winnipeg: Glen Murray – 1989
- City councillor in Halifax: Krista Snow - 2003
- City councillor in Hamilton: Aidan Johnson - 2014
- City councillor in Ottawa:
- City councillor in Toronto:
- City councillor in Montreal:
- Male: Raymond Blain - 1986
- City councillor in Saskatoon:
- Male: Darren Hill – 2006
- Female: Lenore Swystun – 2000
- List of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender firsts by year
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in the United States
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in the United Kingdom
- "Homosexual plans to run for seat on school board". Toronto Star, July 25, 1972.
- "Elegy to Club Toronto". Daily Xtra, April 21, 2010.
- "Maloney tells Liberals of his homosexuality". The Globe and Mail, February 14, 1972.
- Karen Fulcher, "We've come a long way, baby!" PinkPlayMags, Autumn 2010.
- Peace River Block News Dawson Creek, BC; 1995 December 15, page 8.
- "Jennifer McCreath running for federal election in Avalon". CBC News, July 27, 2015.
- "Wade MacLauchlan on brink of becoming PEI premier". The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2015.
- Maynard, Steven (Summer 2001), "Maple Leaf (Gardens) forever: Sex, Canadian historians, and national history", The Journal of Canadian Studies, retrieved 2008-09-21
- "Reeve gauche: A sad come-out". The Body Politic, February 1981.
- "Victim of hate mail loses in bid for mayor". The Body Politic, December 1980.
- "Hate mail clouds campaign in town that promotes love". Toronto Star, November 2, 1980.
- "Out and elected: Darren Hill refuses to let his sexuality define him". Saskatoon StarPhoenix, June 19, 2014.