Paul Ferreira

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Paul Ferreira
Paul Ferreira Campaign head shot.jpg
MPP for York South—Weston
In office
February 28, 2007 – September 30, 2007
Preceded by Joe Cordiano (Liberal)
Succeeded by Laura Albanese (Liberal)
Personal details
Born (1973-01-07) January 7, 1973 (age 45)
Azores, Portugal Flag of Portugal.svg
Political party New Democratic Party (1990-2016)
No Affiliation (2016- )[1]
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Occupation Public relations

Paul Ferreira (born January 7, 1973) is a Canadian populist politician and one of the first openly gay politicians elected to provincial office in Canada. He also has the distinction of being the very first Azorean-Canadian MPP.[2] He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a member of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) in the February 8, 2007 York South–Weston by-election,[3] but was narrowly defeated in the 2007 general election. He subsequently served as chief of staff to party leader Howard Hampton until Hampton's retirement from that position in 2009. He later worked as a special assistant to leader Andrea Horwath. On Feb. 8, 2011, Ferreira was acclaimed as the Ontario NDP's candidate in York South-Weston in the 2011 provincial election. Ferreira left the NDP in 2016 stating that the party had become "fundamentally dishonest" and that "the party has “lost its way” by erecting “reactionary” roadblocks against highway tolls."[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Paulo (Paul) Ricardo Branco Ferreira was born in the Azores on January 7, 1973. Along with his family, he immigrated to Canada in 1979. They settled in Brampton, Ontario.[4] He attended primary and secondary schools in the Brampton area and went on to study and graduate from Ottawa's Carleton University.[4] Ferreira is an honours graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism, where he received awards for academic excellence and community involvement. He speaks English, French and Portuguese.[4]

Involvement with the NDP[edit]

Ferreira's parents—Gilberto and Filomena—were active trade unionists, and he followed their example by becoming a United Food and Commercial Workers union steward at a local drugstore while still in high school.[2] His union experience attracted him to the NDP.[2] Since 1990, Ferreira has held numerous positions in the NDP. He was Vice President of Outreach for the New Democratic Youth of Canada from 1997 to 1999, he served on the Ontario NDP's executive from 2002 to 2004 and he was co-chair of the party's LGBT Committee for a number of years. He has also been active with numerous community groups.[5]

Professional life[edit]

Professionally, Ferreira served as the manager of member relations with the Canadian Society for Training and Development. He also co-edited the society's national magazine, the Canadian Learning Journal. From 2001 to 2004, Ferreira was part of the management team at one of Canada's largest business intelligence firms. Previously, he was North American manager of public relations for a British-based multinational. He also spent two years as manager of communications and media relations for the North American Broadcasters Association.

Political life[edit]

First election, 1997[edit]

Ferreira got his start as a political activist in 1990 when he joined the New Democratic Party (NDP). After completing a journalism degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ferreira returned to Brampton and was the federal NDP candidate in the riding of Brampton Centre in the 1997 election. He finished fourth in the race.[6]

Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Sarkis Assadourian 18,615
Reform Don Crawford 10,817
Progressive Conservative Sam Hundal 5,621
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 2,923
Marxist–Leninist André Vachon 127

York South–Weston federal election 2004[edit]

In the spring of 2004, Paul Ferreira became the NDP's federal candidate in the west-end Toronto riding of York South—Weston. His main opponent was the incumbent Liberal member of parliament (MP) and former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto chair Alan Tonks. The main issues in the election, and these were not limited to just York South–Weston, included anger over the governing Liberal party's Sponsorship scandal;[7] Health care; and the first budget by the Dalton McGuinty provincial Liberal government, which included the controversial "Ontario Health Premiums" tax.[8]

Despite the many setbacks that confronted the main Liberal campaign,[7] Tonks won the election[9] . Ferreira placed a respectable second. His campaign revived the NDP in York South–Weston and significantly increased the party's share of the vote in the riding to more than 21% (Tom Parkin, the NDP candidate in the 2000 election, received only 3.7% of the vote).

Canadian federal election, 2004: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Alan Tonks 20,537 59.8 +14.2
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 7,281 21.2 +17.5
Conservative Stephen Halicki 5,133 14.9 +7.1
Green Jessica Fracassi 1,199 3.5 +2.6
Communist Shirley Hawley 175 0.5 +0.1
Total valid votes 34,325
Note: Conservative vote is compared to the total of the Canadian Alliance vote and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000 election.

York South–Weston federal election 2006[edit]

Subsequently, he ran again for the same federal office in the 2006 election. The election results were basically a repeat of the previous election, with Tonks finishing first and Ferreira in second place.[10]

Canadian federal election, 2006: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Alan Tonks 22,871 57.06% −2.77% $36,134
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 8,525 21.27% +0.06% $24,433
Conservative Stephen Halicki 6,991 17.44% +2.49% $22,529
Green Maria De Angelis-Pater 1,506 3.76% +0.26% $1,003
Independent Dragan Cimesa 189 0.47%
Total valid votes 40,082 100.0%

Toronto municipal election, 2006[edit]

He was also a candidate for Toronto City Council in the 2006 Toronto municipal election, finishing second in Ward 11.

Ward 11 York South—Weston[edit]

Candidate Votes %
Frances Nunziata (incumbent) 6469 49.6
Paul Ferreira 4812 36.9
Rocky Gualtieri 1235 9.5
Pansy Mullings 526 4.0

Ontario provincial by-election, 2007[edit]

York-South Weston riding map from Elections Ontario.

The provincial riding of York South—Weston, which corresponds closely to the boundaries of the federal riding,[11] at the time of the by-election was considered a Liberal stronghold. Historically, the York South part of the riding had been a CCF/NDP stronghold from the mid-1950s starting with Donald C. MacDonald to the mid-1990s with Bob Rae. After Rae resigned from the Legislature, the only NDP candidate that even came close to a victory was David Miller (currently Toronto's mayor, at the time a Metro councillor for Ward One), in the 1996 by-election.

The February 2007 by-election was necessitated by the resignation of former Liberal Member of Provincial Parliament Joe Cordiano, who resigned his seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the fall of 2006 to spend more time with his family.[12]

At the January 13, 2007 York South–Weston NDP nomination meeting,Ferreira successfully ran against Brian Donlevy to be the Ontario New Democratic Party candidate in the February 8, 2007 by-election. As the party's candidate, he campaigned on the following issues: the $10 hourly minimum wage;[13] the proposed Blue22 train to Toronto Pearson Airport;[14] the recent wage increases to members of the Ontario Legislature.[14]

February 8, 2007 was a very cold day, and that may have been a contributing factor in the low voter turnout. When the polling stations closed at 8:00 p.m., it took two hours to count the ballots and declare Ferreira the winner. At his victory party, Donald C. MacDonald (the former Ontario CCF/NDP leader from the 1953 to 1970 and local area MPP for almost thirty years), joined Ferreira onstage in a symbolic passing of the generational torch ceremony.[15] One of the coincidences of this NDP election victory was, that it came almost exactly 65 years to the day, when the CCF first won York South, in the February 9, 1942 by-election. In that election Joseph Noseworthy won a surprise victory, similar to Ferreira's.

Ontario provincial by-election, February 8, 2007: York South—Weston
Resignation of Joseph Cordiano
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 8,146 43.33 +24.04
Liberal Laura Albanese 7,831 41.44 −20.12
Progressive Conservative Pina Martino 1,917 10.27 −4.96
Green Mir Kamal 263 1.39 −1.06
Independent Kevin Clarke 220 1.16  
Independent Mohammed Choudhary 142 0.75  
Family Coalition Mariangela Sanabria 134 0.74 −0.73
Libertarian Nunzio Venuto 101 0.52  
Freedom Wayne Simmons 77 0.41
Total valid votes 18,897 100.0
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 146 0.77
Turnout 18,977 28.62
Eligible voters 66,308
New Democratic gain from Liberal Swing +22.08
Elections Ontario (2007). "By-Election 2007: Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate". Retrieved 24 August 2015. 

On February 19, 2007, Paul Ferreira was sworn in as the tenth member of the NDP caucus in the Ontario Legislature.[16] In the NDP caucus, Ferreira held the critic portfolios for housing, citizenship and immigration.[17]

Ontario general election, 2007[edit]

York South—Weston is not normally a reliable NDP seat, and the by-election had been marked by low turnout — as a result, going into the general election Ferreira was considered the most vulnerable NDP incumbent.

Ferreira again faced Laura Albanese, the same Liberal candidate as in the by-election. On election night, Albanese defeated Ferreira by a margin of less than 500 votes.

Ontario general election, 2007: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laura Albanese 13,846 42.94 +1.50
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 13,394 41.54 -1.79
Progressive Conservative Karen McMillan-Aver 3,173 9.84 -0.43
Green Anthony Gratl 1,226 3.80 +2.41
Libertarian Marco Dias 385 1.19 +0.67
Family Coalition Mariangela Sanabria 218 0.68 -0.06
Total valid votes 32,242 100.0
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 433 1.33
Turnout 32,675 46.34
Eligible voters 70,518
Liberal gain from New Democratic Swing +1.64
Elections Ontario (2007). "General Election Poll By Poll Results: 106 York South-Weston" (PDF). Retrieved 24 August 2015. 

Ontario general election, 2011[edit]

On Feb. 8, 2011—on the fourth anniversary of his by-election victory—Ferreira was acclaimed as the Ontario NDP candidate in York South—Weston for the 2011 election. He was once again defeated by Albanese.

Ontario general election, 2011: York South—Weston
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laura Albanese 13,805 44.55 +1.61
New Democratic Paul Ferreira 13,071 42.18 +0.64
Progressive Conservative Lan Daniel 3,441 11.10 +1.26
Green Keith Jarrett 474 1.53 -2.27
Freedom Eric Compton 151 0.49  
Independent Michael Radejewski 45 0.15  
Total valid votes 30,987 100.00
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 227 0.73
Turnout 31,214 44.86
Eligible voters 69,580
Liberal hold Swing +0.49


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Gulliver, Tanya (2004-05-27). "Any straight candidates left?". Xtra. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  3. ^ Elections Ontario, Unofficial results[permanent dead link] [York South-Weston]. 216 of 216 polls reporting. Accessed February 8, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Bio". Ontario New Democratic Party. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  5. ^ "Meet Paul Ferreira" (Press release). New Democratic Party of Canada. 2004-04-30. Retrieved 2004-05-02. 
  6. ^ Kingsley, Jean-Pierre (1997-08-22). "Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 36th General Election". Elections Canada, Government of Canada. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  7. ^ a b MacGREGOR, Roy (2004-05-28). "In Ontario, anger is taking the lead in an election bereft of a major issue". The Globe and Mail. p. 1. Retrieved 2018-06-02. 
  8. ^ Urquhart, Ian (June 12, 2004). "In Politics, misery loves company" (PDF). Toronto Star. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  9. ^ Kingsley, Jean-Pierre (2004-10-21). "Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 38th General Election". Elections Canada, Government of Canada. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  10. ^ Kingsley, Jean-Pierre (2006-05-12). "Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 39th General Election". Elections Canada, Government of Canada. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  11. ^ "New electoral boundaries". Elections Ontario, Government of Ontario. December 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  12. ^ Campbell, Murray; KAREN HOWLETT (2007-02-09). "NDP grabs Liberal seat in Ontario by-elections". The Globe and Mail. p. 1. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  13. ^ Kim, Clarke (2007-02-09). "Fourth time the charm for Ferreira". The York Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-11. [dead link]
  14. ^ a b Campbell, Murray (2007-02-02). "Pay hike haunts by-election". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-06-02. 
  15. ^ Kim, Clarke (2007-02-01). "Candidates give their two cents on minimum-wage debate". The York Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-11. [dead link]
  16. ^ Benzie, Robert (2007-02-20). "NDP formula = a perfect 10: Party welcomes 10th MPP after running on appeal to raise minimum wage". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  17. ^ "Paul Ferreira, MPP York South–Weston". Ontario NDP Website. Ontario NDP. 2007-02-28. Archived from the original on 2007-05-13. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 

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