Michael Chan (Canadian politician)

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The Honourable
Michael Chan
Michael Chan at the CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser - 2014 (15156869336) (cropped).jpg
Michael Chan at The Canadian Film Centre Annual BBQ in 2014
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Tony Wong
Succeeded by Billy Pang
Constituency Markham-Unionville
Markham (2007)
Personal details
Born 1951 (age 66–67)
Guangzhou, China
Political party Liberal
Residence Markham, Ontario
Occupation Insurance broker

Michael Chan (traditional Chinese: 陳國治; simplified Chinese: 陈国治; Jyutping: can4 gwok3 zi6; pinyin: Chén Guózhì) (born c. 1951) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2007 until 2018. He represented the riding of Markham-Unionville. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.


Chan was born in Guangzhou, and his father was an official in the Kuomintang.[1] As the Chinese Communist Party took power in China, Mr. Chan’s family went to Macau,[1] before moving to Hong Kong and eventually migrating to Canada in 1969, when he was 18.[2] He has since maintained close ties, and confirmed in a 2008 interview with Xinhua News Agency that he had visited China over 70 times since the early 1980s.[2] He told the reporter, "strictly speaking, I’m Canadian, but I have been always paying attention to the root of my culture. I am much concerned with Chinese affairs."[2] Chan has lived in Markham since 1995.

Before entering politics he was president of the federal Liberal Party of Canada riding association for the Markham—Unionville constituency held by MP John McCallum.


Chan was elected in a February 8, 2007 by-election, necessitated by the resignation of former Liberal MPP Tony Wong, who left his seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to successfully run for York Regional Council in 2006. He was re-elected in 2007, 2011, and 2014.[3][4][5]

In February, 2007 he was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Revenue. In October 2007, after the election he was moved to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.[6] In 2010 he was moved again to Minister of Tourism, Culture. A year later the mandate of the ministry was changed slightly to include Sport issues. In November 2012 he assumed the roles Citizenship and Immigration and responsibility for the Pan/Parapan American Games from Charles Sousa when Sousa announced he was running for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

In February 2013, when Kathleen Wynne took over as the new Premier, she confirmed Chan in his roles as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.[7] In June 2014, Wynne appointed Chan as the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade.[8]

Chan has been instrumental in fundraising for the Liberals,[1] as well as being active in the recruitment of Chinese Canadians to campaign for seats at both the federal and provincial levels.[1]

Chan lobbied the Confucius Institute to make a deal with the Toronto District School Board for establishing a local branch in Toronto.[1] Because of concerns about the way the deal was negotiated, as well as the fact that the curriculum and the hiring of teachers would be controlled by Hanban (the Chinese organization that oversees and subsidizes the program), the agreement was cancelled by the TDSB in October 2014.[1]

Chan has a column in the Today Commercial News and has used the column to defend China's human rights record.[9]

In June 2015, The Globe and Mail revealed that Canadian intelligence officials suspected Chan was under the "undue influence" of the government of China, prompting CSIS to formally caution the province about the minister’s alleged conduct in a 2010 briefing. Chan denied the allegations.[10] Federal justice minister Peter MacKay initially said there was an "ongoing investigation" surrounding the allegations,[11] but later said he never suggested that CSIS was investigating Chan.[12]

Chan announced his retirement from provincial politics in April 2018, a few months before the next Ontario election.[13]

Cabinet posts[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
New position Minister of International Trade
Michael Coteau Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
Laura Albanese
Ontario Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Charles Sousa Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Also Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games (to June 2014)
Michael Coteau
Monique Smith & Aileen Carroll Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Minister of Tourism and Culture before 2011
Michael Coteau
Gerry Phillips Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Eric Hoskins
Shelley Wark-Martyn Minister of Revenue
Monique Smith

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario provincial by-election, February 8, 2007: Markham
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Michael Chan 9,080 49.32% −2.38
Progressive Conservative Alex Yuan 6,420 34.87% −5.46
New Democratic Janice Hagan 1,492 8.10% +3.02
Green Bernadette Manning 999 5.43% +3.87
Freedom Cathy McKeever 159 0.86%
Family Coalition Patrick Redmond 135 0.73% −0.59
Libertarian Jay Miller 126 0.69%
Total valid votes 18,411 100.00
Liberal hold Swing +1.25
Ontario general election, 2007: Markham—Unionville
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Michael Chan 21,054 59.32
Progressive Conservative Ki Kit Li 9,581 27.00
New Democratic Andy Arifin 2,599 7.32
Green Bernadette Manning 1,911 5.38
Family Coalition Leon Williams 345 0.97
Total valid votes 35,490 100.0
Ontario general election, 2011: Markham—Unionville
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Michael Chan 19,579 52.58 −6.74
Progressive Conservative Shan Thayaparan 11,720 31.47 +4.47
New Democratic P.C. Choo 4,575 12.29 +4.97
Green Myles O'Brien 1,104 2.96 −2.42
Libertarian Allen Small 259 0.70
Total valid votes 37,237 100.00
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 284 0.76
Turnout 37,521 40.68
Eligible voters 92,232
Liberal hold Swing −5.61
Ontario general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Michael Chan 21,517 51.33 -1.25
Progressive Conservative Shan Thayaparan 14,241 33.98 +2.51
New Democratic Nadine Kormos Hawkins 4,205 10.03 -2.26
Green Myles O'Brien 1,509 3.60 +0.64
Libertarian Allen Small 444 1.06 +0.36
Total valid votes 41,916 100.0  
Liberal hold Swing -1.88
Source: Elections Ontario[5]




  1. ^ a b c d e f Craig Offman (June 17, 2015). "The making of Michael Chan". The Globe and Mail. 
  2. ^ a b c Ghoreishi, Omid (September 28, 2011). "Ontario Minister Asked Festival to Ban Newspaper to Please Chinese Consul, Says Source". The Epoch Times. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ a b "General Election by District: Markham-Unionville". Elections Ontario. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Benzie, Robert (October 31, 2007). "Premier goes for new blood; Expanded 28-member cabinet has eight ministers from Toronto, three from 905 area". Toronto Star. p. A13. 
  7. ^ "Ontario's new cabinet". Waterloo Region Record. Kitchener, Ont. February 12, 2013. p. A3. 
  8. ^ Richard Brennan; Robert Benzie; Rob Ferguson (June 24, 2014). "Kathleen Wynne warns financial cupboard is bare". Toronto Star. 
  9. ^ Craig Offman and Nathan Vanderklippe (12 August 2016), Chinese Communist mouthpiece the People’s Daily finds an outlet in Canada The Globe and Mail
  10. ^ Craig Offman (June 16, 2015). "CSIS warned this cabinet minister could be a threat. Ontario disagreed". The Globe and Mail. 
  11. ^ Adrian Morrow (June 17, 2015). "MacKay says probe involving Ontario cabinet minister Chan is 'ongoing'". The Globe and Mail. 
  12. ^ Canadian Press (June 18, 2015). "Peter MacKay Says He Never Suggested CSIS Was Investigating Ontario Cabinet Minister". The Huffington Post. 
  13. ^ Benzie, Robert (April 5, 2018). "Liberal cabinet ministers Michael Chan and Tracy MacCharles, MPP Grant Crack say they are retiring". Toronto Star. 

External links[edit]