Mike Farnan

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Mike Farnan
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Bill Barlow
Succeeded by Gerry Martiniuk
Constituency Cambridge
Personal details
Born Michael Liam Farnan
(1941-01-29) January 29, 1941 (age 76)
Dublin, Ireland
Political party New Democrat
Occupation Teacher, real estate agent

Michael "Mike" Liam Farnan (born January 29, 1941) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a New Democratic Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1987 to 1995, and was a cabinet minister in the government of Bob Rae.


Farnan was educated at University College in Dublin, the National University of Dublin, the University of London in England and McGill University in Montreal. He has a Master's degree in Education, and a bachelor's degree of arts. He has worked as a primary and secondary school teacher in London, Montreal, Cambridge, Ontario and Brampton Ontario for twenty-seven years. A devout Roman Catholic working within Ontario's separate school system, he served as provincial director of the Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Association for a time, as well as participating in a variety of community outreach projects in Cambridge. After he retired from teaching in 2002, he studied to become a real estate agent and broker of his own company Mike Farnan Realty in Cambridge. He also served as associate broker for Crown Realty Royal Le Page and for Peak Realty, both located in Cambridge.


Farnan ran for the federal New Democratic Party in Cambridge during the 1980 federal election. He came second, 3,080 votes behind Progressive Conservative Chris Speyer.[1] He also served on the Cambridge city council for the period in the 1980s.[2]

Farnan was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1987 provincial election, defeating Liberal candidate Claudette Millar in the provincial riding of Cambridge (incumbent Progressive Conservative Bill Barlow finished third).[3] The NDP were the official opposition in this period, and Farnan served as his party's critic for Correctional Services and Tourism and Recreation.[4][5]

The NDP won a majority government in the 1990 provincial election, and Farnan was re-elected by a landslide in Cambridge.[6] On October 1, 1990, he was appointed as the Rae government's first Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services.[7]

As Solicitor-General, Farnan introduced employment equity provisions for Ontario's police force.[8] He also established a "common pause day" which continued the province's previous restrictions on Sunday shopping.[9] In the spring of 1991, he became involved in a minor controversy concerning two letters which had been sent from his staff to Justices of the Peace in Ontario, one of which requested the review of a case. This was seen by some as inappropriate interference from his office, and while Farnan did not write the letters himself, he was nonetheless dropped from cabinet on July 31, 1991.[10] In September 1991 he was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the house and he served in that role for the next two years.[11]

On June 17, 1993, Farnan was re-appointed as a Minister without portfolio responsible for Education and Training. In this capacity, he served as an assistant to Minister of Education Dave Cooke.[12]

Farnan returned to a full cabinet position on October 21, 1994, having been appointed Minister of Transportation.[13]

In 1994, Farnan was one of twelve NDP members to vote against Bill 167, a bill extending financial benefits to same-sex partners. Premier Bob Rae allowed a free vote on the bill which allowed members of his party to vote with their conscience.[14]

The NDP were defeated in the 1995 provincial election, and Farnan lost the Cambridge seat to Progressive Conservative Gerry Martiniuk by about 5,500 votes.[15] He ran a second time for the Canadian House of Commons in the 1997 federal election, but finished third against Liberal Janko Peric.[16]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of Bob Rae
Cabinet Posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Gilles Pouliot Minister of Transportation of Ontario
Al Palladini
Steven Offer Solicitor General
Also responsible for anti-drug strategy
Allan Pilkey
Richard Patten Minister of Correctional Services
Allan Pilkey
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
Shelley Wark-Martyn Minister Without Portfolio
Responsible for Education and Training
Steve Owens

After politics[edit]

In the late 1990s, Farnan became a school teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. He specialized in social science courses (mainly Religion). He retired in December 1996.[17]

Electoral record[edit]


Ontario general election, 1987: Cambridge
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Mike Farnan 11,284 34.49 $27,661
Liberal Claudette Millar 11,183 34.18 $42,172
     Progressive Conservative Bill Barlow 8,752 26.75 $29,793
Family Coalition Anneliese Steden 1,500 4.58 $8,623
Total valid votes 32,719 100.00
Ontario general election, 1990: Cambridge
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Mike Farnan 21,806 60.28 +25.79 $32,413
Liberal John K. Bell 7,557 20.89 −13.29 $40,099
     Progressive Conservative Carl DeFaria 4,449 12.30 −14.45 $33,935
Family Coalition Anneliese Steden 2,364 6.53 +1.95 $11,367
Total valid votes 36,176 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 513
Turnout 36,689 64.84
Electors on the lists 56,581
Ontario general election, 1995
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Gerry Martiniuk 17,269 46.9 +34.6
New Democratic Mike Farnan 11,797 32.1 -28.2
Liberal Ben Tucci 5,606 15.2 -5.7
Family Coalition Al Smith 1,690 4.6 -1.9
Independent Reg Gervais 433 1.2
Total valid votes 36,795 100.0


Canadian federal election, 1997: Cambridge
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Janko Peric 17,673 36.74 −2.52 $47,605
Reform Bill Donaldson 10,767 22.38 −11.15 $57,325
New Democratic Mike Farnan 9,813 20.40 +15.11 $53,588
     Progressive Conservative Larry Olney 9,299 19.33 +1.99 $48,139
     Independent John H. Long 311 0.65 $0
     Independent Jim Remnant 237 0.49 $0
Total valid votes 48,100 100.00
Total rejected ballots 254
Turnout 48,354 64.77 −1.75
Electors on the lists 74,659
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


  1. ^ "How Canada voted". The Globe and Mail. February 19, 1980. p. 13. 
  2. ^ "Aldermen agree to reverse decision for 50% pay raise". The Globe and Mail. December 19, 1983. p. 5. 
  3. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  4. ^ Lakey, Jack; Wright, Lisa; Thompson, Allan (February 6, 1989). "'Why did our 5 boys die?' families ask Poor security at detention centre let youths escape, they say". Toronto Star. p. A4. 
  5. ^ Kenna, Kathleen (June 17, 1988). "Lottery boss fired after $8 million ticket recall". Toronto Star. p. A3. 
  6. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12. 
  7. ^ "Ontario cabinet". The Windsor Star. October 1, 1990. p. A4. 
  8. ^ Hall, Chris (April 11, 1991). "Eventual goal: women in half Ontario's police jobs". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A1. 
  9. ^ "Ontario sets Sunday shopping guidelines". Edmonton Journal. June 5, 1991. p. A9. 
  10. ^ Thompson, Catherine (July 31, 1991). "Ferguson in, Farnan out: Rae shuffles cabinet just 10 months into term". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. p. A1. 
  11. ^ "Farnan promoted : MPP to be legislature's deputy chairman". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. September 24, 1991. p. A3. 
  12. ^ "Farnan rejoins cabinet". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. June 17, 1993. p. A2. 
  13. ^ Payne, Elizabeth (October 22, 1994). "Rae fills cabinet posts emptied by illness, scandal". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A4. 
  14. ^ "How MPPs voted on controversial legislation". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1994. p. A10. 
  15. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  16. ^ "Final Results Riding by Riding". Calgary Herald. June 4, 1997. p. A5. 
  17. ^ "Ex- MPP retires from teaching". The Record. Kitchener, Ont. December 31, 1996. p. B1. 

External links[edit]