Murray Elston

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Murray Elston
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by New riding
Succeeded by Barb Fisher
Constituency Bruce
In office
Preceded by Murray Gaunt
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Huron—Bruce
Personal details
Born (1949-10-08) October 8, 1949 (age 66)
Wingham, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Profession Lawyer

Murray John Elston (born October 8, 1949) is a former politician in Ontario Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1981 to 1994 who represented the central Ontario ridings of Huron—Bruce and Bruce. He was a senior cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson. He briefly served as interim leader of the Liberal Party from July to November 1991.


Elston was educated at the University of Western Ontario, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree and a law degree.[1] He practised law, working for the firm of Crawford, Mill Davies & Elston.


Elston was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1981 provincial election defeating Progressive Conservative Gary Harron by 224 votes in the rural, southwestern constituency of Huron—Bruce.[2] The Progressive Conservatives won a majority government under Bill Davis in this election, and Elston sat on the opposition benches for the next four years.

He was re-elected in the 1985 election.[3] After the Miller government failed on a vote of no confidence, The Liberals formed a minority government with the support of the New Democratic Party and Elston was appointed to the high-profile position of Minister of Health.[4] In this role, he was at the centre of the government's fight against extra-billing by doctors,[5] an issue the government won after withstanding the province's first doctors' strike. Elston also announced subsidies for residents of Northern Ontario who needed to travel south for medical care.

The Liberals were re-elected with a landslide majority in the 1987 provincial election, and Elston was returned by a significant majority in the redistributed riding of Bruce.[6] In the cabinet shuffle that followed on September 29, 1987, Elston was appointed Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet.[7] He was also appointed Minister of Financial Institutions on August 16, 1988.[8]

In the 1990 Ontario election, the Liberals were defeated by the New Democratic Party under Bob Rae. Many high-profile Liberals lost their seats, though Elston was returned in Bruce by a comfortable if reduced margin. Peterson, who had lost his own seat on election night, resigned immediately as party leader.[9]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of David Peterson
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Robert Nixon Minister of Financial Institutions
Peter Kormos
Philip Andrewes Minister of Health
Elinor Caplan
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Robert Nixon Chair of Management Board
Jim Bradley
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Robert Nixon Leader of the Opposition
Also Interim Liberal Party Leader
Jim Bradley

Interim leader and convention[edit]

The Liberals initially chose Robert Nixon as their interim leader, but he resigned on July 31, 1991 to accept a federal appointment. Elston was then chosen as interim leader in Nixon's place, though his time in this position was brief.[10] He declared himself a candidate in the race to become the party's permanent leader, and accordingly resigned as interim leader on November 19, 1991.[11] Jim Bradley took his place until the leadership convention.

Elston quickly became the favourite to win the 1992 race, gaining endorsements from such high-profile figures as Peterson, Ian Scott, and Sheila Copps. He led voting for the first four ballots, but lost to Lyn McLeod on the fifth and final ballot by only nine votes.[12] The number of spoiled ballots from supporters of third-place candidate Greg Sorbara was greater than McLeod's margin of victory. Some political observers speculated that Elston appeared too much like a holdover from the Peterson era, as a time when the Liberal Party wanted to present a new image to voters.


Elston remained in the legislature for two more years, and served as Opposition House Leader before resigning as an MPP on October 31, 1994 to enter the private sector.[13] He was touted as McLeod's likely replacement when she resigned as Liberal leader following a poor performance in the 1995 provincial election but he declined to enter the race preferring to remain out of politics.[14] In 1996, he was the most prominent supporter of Dalton McGuinty's ultimately successful bid to win the party's leadership.[15]

After politics[edit]

From November 1994 until 1997, Elston was president of the Ontario Interlink Industrial Park.[1] From January to October 1998, he worked for Engergreen Solutions Group.[1] In November 1998, Elston was appointed president of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D).[1]

From 2004 to 2009, Elston was president of the Canadian Nuclear Association,[16] in order to lobby the Premier's office on behalf of the nuclear industry. As a former Liberal MPP, he had represented the riding of Huron-Bruce, which is home to the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station. Elston's lobbying was highly successful: on June 13, 2006, the McGuinty government announcement its commitment to rebuild all of Ontario's ageing nuclear stations as well as the construction of new reactors. He served as vice-president of corporate affairs for Bruce Power from 2009 until 2011.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Murray Elston". Canadian Nuclear Association Seminar. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Election results for Metro Toronto ridings". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  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. ^ "Extra-billing Ban Widely Supported: Minister". Ottawa Citizen. December 17, 1985. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  7. ^ "Wrye gets new cabinet job". The Windsor Star. September 29, 1987. p. A1. 
  8. ^ Hall, Chris (August 17, 1988). "Elston picks up new portfolio in Ontario cabinet change". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A4. 
  9. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12. 
  10. ^ Maychak, Matt (July 30, 1991). "Liberal MPPs choose Elston to lead party for 6 months". Toronto Star. p. A4. 
  11. ^ "Bradley becomes interim leader as provincial Liberals vie for top job". The Hamilton Spectator. November 20, 1991. p. B5. 
  12. ^ Leyton-Brown, David. Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1992. University of Toronto Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8020-4369-6. 
  13. ^ Walker, William (October 31, 1994). "Why McLeod's team is losing stars Departures of old rivals spark rumors but party appears united behind the leader". Toronto Star. p. A15. 
  14. ^ Gray, John (September 14, 1995). "Jockeying begins to replace McLeod Ontario Liberal Leader resigns, makes no apologies for sudden election downfall". The Globe and Mail. p. A11. 
  15. ^ Tripp, Rob (October 26, 1996). "A first and last leadership bid". Kingston Whig - Standard. p. 1. 
  16. ^ a b "Ex Ont. health minister Murray Elston joins Bruce Power as vice president (Elston-Bruce-Power)". Oilweek Magazine. May 2, 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 

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