Norm Sterling

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Norm Sterling
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by New riding
Succeeded by Jack MacLaren
Constituency Carleton—Mississippi Mills
In office
Preceded by New riding
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Lanark—Carleton
In office
Preceded by Robert Mitchell
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Carleton
In office
Preceded by Donald Roy Irvine
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Constituency Grenville—Carleton
Personal details
Born Norman William Sterling
(1942-02-19) February 19, 1942 (age 75)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative
Occupation Lawyer

Norman William "Norm" Sterling (born February 19, 1942) is a Canadian politician, who served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 2011.


Sterling attended Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, and worked as a lawyer and engineer before entering public life. He was a partner in the Sterling & Young law firm, and in 1974 became president of the Manotick Home & School Association.


Davis government[edit]

Sterling ran unsuccessfully for a Progressive Conservative nomination in 1971, at age 29.[1] He tried again, successfully, in 1977, and was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1977 provincial election in the safe eastern Ontario riding of Grenville—Carleton.[2] He served as parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General in 1978, but was not appointed to the cabinet of Bill Davis in his first term as a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).

Sterling was returned without difficulty in the 1981 election,[3] and served as a minister without portfolio from April 10, 1981 to February 13, 1982. He was appointed as Provincial Secretary for Justice on February 13, 1982.[4] On July 6, 1983, he was named as Provincial Secretary for Justice.[5] Sterling, who represents a predominantly rural and Protestant region of Ontario, disagreed with the Davis government's decision to fully fund Ontario's Catholic school system and insisted that his protest be entered into the official minutes of the executive council. Sterling initially supported Dennis Timbrell to replace Davis as party leader, but crossed to Frank Miller on the last ballot after Timbrell was eliminated.

Provincial Government of Bill Davis
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Lorne Henderson Provincial Secretary for Resource Development
Ernie Eves
Gordon Walker Provincial Secretary for Justice
Reuben Baetz
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
Minister Without Portfolio

In opposition[edit]

The Progressive Conservatives lost power following the 1985 election, although Sterling had no difficulty being re-elected in his own riding.[6] There was another Progressive Conservative leadership convention in late 1985. On this occasion, Sterling broke with Timbrell (describing the latter's post-election opposition to Catholic school funding as an opportunistic volte-face), and supported Larry Grossman.

In the Liberal landslide of 1987, however, he was only able to defeat Liberal candidate Roly Armitage by about 500 votes in the redistributed riding of Carleton.[7]

Sterling was re-elected in the provincial elections of 1990.[8]

Harris government[edit]

In the 1995 election he was re-elected by almost 20,000 votes.[9] The Progressive Conservatives formed government under Mike Harris in 1995, and Sterling was appointed Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services on June 26 of that year.[10] On August 16, 1996, he was promoted to Minister of Environment and Energy and Deputy House Leader. On October 7, 1997, he was again promoted to full House Leader and was given the re-titled post of Minister of the Environment.

In the provincial election of 1999, Sterling was returned for the restructured riding of Lanark-Carleton.[11] He was appointed Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Government House Leader on June 17, 1999.[12] Following a cabinet shuffle on February 8, 2001, he became Minister of Consumer and Business Services; he also served as Minister of Correctional Services from December 5, 2000 to March 8, 2001.

Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet Posts (6)
Predecessor Office Successor
Bob Runciman Minister of Consumer and Business Services
Tim Hudak
Rob Sampson Minister of Correctional Services
Rob Sampson
Dianne Cunningham Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Brenda Elliott
Brenda Elliott Minister of Environment and Energy
Tony Clement (Environment)
Jim Wilson (Energy)
Marilyn Churley Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
David Tsubouchi
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
David Johnson Government House Leader
Janet Ecker

Eves government[edit]

On April 15, 2002, after Ernie Eves replaced Mike Harris as Premier, Sterling was appointed Minister of Transportation.[13] After a cabinet shuffle on February 25, 2003, he was promoted to the position of Attorney General, with responsibility for Native Affairs.

Provincial Government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
David Young Attorney General
2003 (February–October)
Also responsible for native affairs
Michael Bryant
David Turnbull Minister of Transportation
Frank Klees

In opposition (2nd time)[edit]

The Progressive Conservatives were defeated in the 2003 provincial election, although Sterling was able to defeat Liberal Marianne Wilkinson by about 6,000 votes.[14]

In the 2004 leadership race, Sterling supported Jim Flaherty's unsuccessful bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party.

Lanark-Carleton was redistributed prior to the 2007 provincial election, and Sterling ran for re-election in the newly created riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, which had been created out of the eastern two-thirds of his old riding. He won by a convincing margin, defeating Liberal Megan Cornell by over 7,000 votes.[15]

In the 2009 leadership race, Sterling supported the successful candidacy of Tim Hudak. However, the membership of his riding association supported rural-rights candidate Randy Hillier; Carleton-Mississippi Mills was one of only three ridings in the province where Hillier won a first-ballot victory.

In March 2011, Sterling was defeated in the race for his riding’s PC nomination by Jack MacLaren, the former president of the Ontario Landowners Association.[16]


  1. ^ Fritz, Theresa (April 14, 2011). "Norm Sterling clarifies his remarks". Carleton Place EMC. p. 4. 
  2. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9. 
  3. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Election results for Metro Toronto ridings". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  4. ^ Stead, Sylvia; Speirs, Rosemary; Matas, Robert (February 13, 1982). "Grossman to Health Ontario Cabinet shuffled by Davis". The Globe and Mail. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Speirs, Rosemary; Stead, Sylvia; Cruikshank, John (July 6, 1983). "Shuffle gives Treasury job to Grossman". The Globe and Mail. pp. 1, 2. 
  6. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13. 
  7. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  8. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12. 
  9. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  10. ^ "Mike Harris' cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 27, 1995. p. A7. 
  11. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 3, 1999. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  12. ^ "Ontario Cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 18, 1999. p. C8. 
  13. ^ "Ont-Cabinet". Toronto, Ont: Canadian Press NewsWire. April 15, 2002. 
  14. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  15. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. p. <insert page here>. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  16. ^ Sibley, Robert (April 1, 2011). "MacLaren upsets Sterling". Ottawa Citizen. p. 1. 

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