Mario Silva

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This article is about the Canadian MP. For other people of that name, see Mário Silva (disambiguation).
Mario Silva
Member of Parliament
In office
28 June 2004 – 2 May 2011
Preceded by Charles Caccia
Succeeded by Andrew Cash
Constituency Davenport
Toronto City Councillor
In office
Preceded by Tony O'Donohue
Succeeded by Wards reorganized due to Municipal amalgamation of Toronto
Constituency Ward 3 (Brockton)
Toronto City Councillor
In office
Preceded by first councillor
Succeeded by Adam Giambrone
Constituency Ward 20 (Trinity-Niagara)
Personal details
Born (1966-06-11) June 11, 1966 (age 49)
Azores, Portugal
Political party Liberal
Residence Toronto
Profession Legal Scholar

Mário Silva (born June 11, 1966) is an international legal scholar and former Canadian politician. Silva served as a Canadian Member of Parliament from 2004 to 2011. He began his political career as a Toronto City Councillor from 1994–2003. He then moved to federal politics, being elected for the Liberal Party of Canada in the 2004 election in the Toronto riding of Davenport. He served as the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs (Americas) after having served as Critic for the Treasury Board and Labour. In 2007, the President of the French Republic bestowed him the title of Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur). He has also been awarded the Order of Merit of Portugal.[1] and the Order of Rio Branco from Brazil.

Silva holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, a "Certificat de Langue Francaise" from Paris-Sorbonne University, and a Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.[2] Silva holds a Ph.D. in the Faculty of Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Silva's Ph.D. thesis is titled "Failed and Failing States: Causes and Conditions."[2] On December 15, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed him to chair the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (formally the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF)) in 2013.[3] He also serves as the honorary chair of the International Forum of Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

Local politics[edit]

Born in the Azores, Portugal, he was first elected to city council in 1994 after defeating veteran councillor Tony O'Donohue by 15 votes.[4] Silva received a high grade from the Toronto Environmental Alliance for his support of environmental initiatives, and has strong support from the Labour Movement. Silva is of Portuguese background and is popular in the local Portuguese Canadian community.

Federal politics[edit]

Silva's move to federal politics saw him claim the Liberal nomination in Davenport instead of Liberal incumbent Charles Caccia. An ally of new Prime Minister Paul Martin, Silva was seen by the party as a preferable candidate to Caccia.

Mario Silva was appointed in 2011 as ITF 2013 Chair
Mario Silva was appointed in 2011 as ITF 2013 Chair

As a Member of Parliament Silva served on several committees including the Environment Committee and the Canadian Heritage Committee. He has championed several human rights and environmental issues including being the first MP to back the Canadian Boreal Initiative, and an outspoken critic for the defence of undocumented workers.

Silva chaired the inquiry panel of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA), a multi-partisan group of MPs which conducted investigations into antisemitism in Canada. He was vice-chair of the CPCCA's steering committee, which organized an international conference on antisemitism in Ottawa in 2010.

Silva was the first Portuguese-Canadian Member of Parliament. Shortly after the election, Silva came out as gay in a Toronto Star profile.[5]

Silva retained the seat in the 2006 election and was the only GTA Liberal MP to increase his voter margin but was defeated in the 2011 election, losing his seat to Andrew Cash. Silva assumed the role of chair for the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) in 2013.

Academic career[edit]

Silva obtained a PhD in International Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has held positions in Ryerson University and McGill University where he is currently a visiting professor. Silva is a fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.


  • Fabric of a Nation, GOLDENeight Publishers, Toronto, 2002 (Co-Author).
  • “Extraordinary Rendition: A Challenge to Canadian and United States Legal Obligations Under the Convention Against Torture”, California Western International Law Journal, Vol. 39(2), 2009.
  • “Somalia: State Failure, Piracy, and the Challenges to International Law”, Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 50 (3), 2010.
  • “Island of Distress: State Failure in Haiti”, Florida Journal of International Law, Vol. 23, 2011.
  • “Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence and the Right to Self-Determination Under International Law”, The Journal of Eurasia Law, Vol. 3(2), 2011, Duke University.
  • “Somalia: Challenges to International Law from Piracy and Terrorism in the Horn of Africa”, International Journal of Rights and Security, Vol. 1.1 (2012).
  • “Pakistan’s State Failure: Impunity and the Rise of Militancy”, International Journal of Rights and Security, Vol. 1.1 (2012).
  • “State Legitimacy and Failure in International Law", Brill | Nijhoff Development in International Law series, Volume 67.
  • “Failed states: causes and consequences”, Int. J. Public Law and Policy, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2013.
  • Co-author with Dr. Massouda Jalal, “Hanging by a Thread, Afghan Women’s Rights and Security Threats", Mosaic Press (2014).
  • Tackling Hate: Combating Antisemitism and the Ottawa Protocol, co-edited with Scott Reid, Mosaic Press, 2014.
  • "After Partition: The Perils of South Sudan", University of Baltimore Journal of International Law, 2015.

Federal election results[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2004: Davenport
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Mario Silva 16,773 50.69 -16.03
New Democratic Rui Pires 11,292 34.13 +20.57
Conservative Theresa Rodrigues 3,077 9.30 -4.61
Green Mark O'Brien 1,384 4.18 +1.66
Marijuana Elmer Gale 251 0.76 -1.12
Communist Johan Boyden 137 0.41
Canadian Action John Riddell 97 0.29 -0.84
Marxist–Leninist Sarah Thompson 79 0.24
Total valid votes 33,090 100.00
Total rejected ballots 278 0.83
Turnout 33,368 52.89
Note: Conservative vote is compared to the total of the Canadian Alliance vote and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000 election.
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Mario Silva 20,172 51.87 +1.18
New Democratic Gord Perks 12,681 32.61 -1.52
Conservative Theresa Rodrigues 4,202 10.80 +1.50
Green Mark O'Brien 1,440 3.70 -0.48
Communist Miguel Figueroa 172 0.44 +0.03
Canadian Action Wendy Forrest 122 0.31 +0.02
Marxist–Leninist Sarah Thompson 103 0.26 +0.02
Total valid votes 38,892 100.00
Total rejected ballots 240 0.61 -0.22
Turnout 39,132 60.61 +7.72
Elections Canada, Riding of Davenport, Electoral District 35015.
Canadian federal election, 2008: Davenport
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Mario Silva 15,953 45.77 -6.10 $47,491
New Democratic Peter Ferreira 10,896 31.26 -1.35 $55,530
Conservative Theresa Rodrigues 3,838 11.01 +0.21 $13,993
Green Wayne Scott 3,655 10.49 +6.79 $12,172
Canadian Action Wendy Forrest 172 0.49 +0.18 $723
Communist Miguel Figueroa 160 0.46 +0.02 $432
Animal Alliance Simon Luisi 92 0.26 $957
Marxist–Leninist Sarah Thompson 87 0.25 -0.01
Total valid votes/Expense limit 34,853 100.00 $79,438
Total rejected ballots 245 0.70 +0.09
Turnout 35,098 53.03 -7.58
Canadian federal election, 2011: Davenport
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Andrew Cash 21,096 53.74 +22.48
Liberal Mario Silva 10,946 27.89 -17.88
Conservative Theresa Rodrigues 5,573 14.20 +3.19
Green Wayne Scott 1,344 3.42 -7.07
Communist Miguel Figueroa 167 0.43 -0.03
Animal Alliance Simon Luisi 128 0.33 +0.07
Total valid votes/Expense limit 39,254 100.00
Total rejected ballots 235 0.60 -0.10
Turnout 39,489 61.92 +8.88


  1. ^ "Award to Canadians". Mario Silva. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Official Biography". Human Rights Doctorate. Retrieved 2012-05-09.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Official_Biography" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Minister Kenney announces Canada’s appointment to chair International Task Force on Holocaust Education". Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 
  4. ^ City Staff (1995-12-15). "Court ends seesaw council battle". The Globe and Mail. p. A2. 
  5. ^ Gulliver, Tanya (2005-12-08), "Eyes on the prize", Xtra!, retrieved 2007-09-14 

External links[edit]