Peter Milliken

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Honourable
Peter Milliken
PC, BA, MA, LLB, LLD
Chopin at the Embassy of Poland (05) cropped.jpg
34th Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons
In office
January 29, 2001 – June 2, 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson
Michaëlle Jean
David Johnston
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Paul Martin
Stephen Harper
Preceded by Gilbert Parent
Succeeded by Andrew Scheer
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kingston and the Islands
In office
November 21, 1988 – March 26, 2011
Preceded by Flora MacDonald
Succeeded by Ted Hsu
Personal details
Born Peter Andrew Stewart Milliken
(1946-11-12) November 12, 1946 (age 67)
Kingston, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Relations John Matheson (Cousin)
Alma mater Queen's University
Profession Solicitor and barrister, lawyer, politician
Religion United Church of Canada

Peter Andrew Stewart Milliken, PC (born November 12, 1946) is a Canadian lawyer and politician. He was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1988 until his retirement in 2011 and served as Speaker of the House for 10 years beginning in 2001. Milliken represented the Ontario riding of Kingston and the Islands as a member of the Liberal Party. On October 12, 2009, he became the longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons in Canadian history.[1] His Speakership was notable for the number of tie-breaking votes he was required to make as well as for making several historic rulings. Milliken also has the unique distinction of being the first Speaker to preside over four Parliaments. His legacy includes his landmark rulings on Parliament’s right to information, which are key elements of parliamentary precedent both in Canada and throughout the Commonwealth.

Milliken chose to stand down from Parliament at the 2011 federal election.[2] His successor as presiding officer of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, was elected on June 2, 2011.[3]

Milliken is the cousin of John Matheson, a former Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) best known for his prominent role in adopting the red maple leaf as the Flag of Canada.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Milliken was born in Kingston, Ontario, the eldest of seven children to a physician father,[5] and is a descendant of United Empire Loyalists who left the new United States of America after the American Revolution. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from Queen's University (1968), a Bachelor of Arts (1970) and Master of Arts (1978) in Jurisprudence from Oxford University, (Wadham College), in England, and a Bachelor of Laws (1971) degree from Dalhousie University.[6] He was active in student politics, and served a year as speaker of the student government's assembly at Queen's. In 1967-68, he worked as a special assistant to federal cabinet minister George J. McIlraith.[7]

Called to the Ontario Bar in 1973, Milliken was a partner at the prestigious Kingston law firm, Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham, before entering political life. He also lectured on a part-time basis at the Queen's University School of Business from 1973 to 1981, became a governor of the Kingston General Hospital in 1977, and has been a trustee with the Chalmers United Church.[8] As a consultant, he produced the Milliken Report on the future of Queen's University athletics in the late 1970s. A fan of classical music, he has sung with the Pro Arte Singers and the Chalmers United Church Choir as well as serving on the board of the Kingston Symphony.[9] He also often canoes, taking week long trips in northern Canada.[5] In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam.[10] He is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada, and an Honorary Patron of Choirs Ontario.

Milliken has long been active in political matters, having served as president of the Frontenac Addington Provincial Liberal AssociationKingston in the 1980s. He subscribed to the Canadian House of Commons Hansard at age sixteen, and once wrote a thesis paper on Question Period.[11] Unlike most MPs, he was already well-versed in parliamentary procedure at the time of his first election.[12]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Milliken won the Kingston and the Islands Liberal nomination in 1988 over local alderman Alex Lampropoulos,[13] and defeated well-known Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Flora MacDonald by 2,712 votes in the 1988 general election. The Progressive Conservatives won the election with a majority government, and in early 1989 Milliken was named as the Liberal Party's critic for electoral reform, associate critic for senior citizens, and whip for eastern and northern Ontario.[14] Shortly thereafter, he was named to the parliamentary standing committee on elections, privileges, procedures and private members' business.[15] He supported Jean Chrétien for the federal Liberal leadership in 1990.[16]

He was easily re-elected in the 1993 election, as the Liberal Party won a majority government, and was named to a two-year term as parliamentary secretary to the Government House Leader in December 1993. He also became chair of the Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee.[17] Milliken was a leading candidate for Speaker of the House in January 1994, but lost to Gilbert Parent.

Milliken supported fellow Kingstonian John Gerretsen for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party in 1996, and moved to the camp of the eventual winner, Dalton McGuinty, after Gerretsen was eliminated on the second ballot.[18] In the same year, Milliken and fellow Liberal MP John Godfrey introduced the Godfrey-Milliken Bill as a satirical response to the American Helms-Burton Act.[19] The Bill, which would have allowed the descendants of United Empire Loyalists to claim compensation for land seized in the American Revolution, was drafted in response to provisions in the Helms-Burton Act which sought to punish Canadian companies for using land nationalised by Fidel Castro's government in Cuba.[20] Godfrey and Milliken gave a twenty-minute presentation on their bill in Washington, D.C. in early 1997, and were greeted with warm applause from local Helms-Burton opponents.[21]

Milliken was re-elected for a third term in 1997 election, and became Deputy Speaker of the House for the parliament that followed.[22]

Speaker of the House[edit]

Milliken (left) along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper as US President Barack Obama signs the Parliament guest book on February 19, 2009

Milliken was elected Speaker of the House in late January 2001, after five ballots of a secret vote of all MPs held at the first sitting of parliament following the 2000 federal election.[23] He was widely praised by government and opposition MPs for his rulings, which were considered very fair.[24] He also brought new life to the chair in delivering his rulings and remarks with a sarcastic humour. Elected for his fifth term in 2004, he was the unanimous choice of MPs to be re-elected Speaker for the next parliament.[25]

In 2005, Milliken prevented an early federal election by breaking a tie vote on the second reading of Bill C-48, an amendment to the 2005 federal budget, which was a confidence motion. The vote was 152 in favour and 152 against prior to his vote, and he voted in favour of the bill. The Speaker does not vote except in the case of a tie, and must vote, by precedent, in such a way as to keep the matter open for further consideration if possible (i.e. passing C-48 to allow further debate for a third reading). This was the first time in Canadian history that a Speaker used his tie-breaker vote on a confidence motion. Upon rising to give brief remarks and cast his vote, he remarked "I don't know why honourable members keep doing this to me."[26][27]

Milliken won his riding for a sixth time in the 2006 election, as the Conservative Party won a minority government nationally. Though his party was no longer in government, he was re-elected as Speaker of the House for the 39th Parliament on April 3, 2006, defeating fellow Liberals Diane Marleau and Marcel Proulx on the first ballot.[28] With his re-election, he became only the second Speaker chosen from an opposition party in the history of the House of Commons (James Jerome being the other).[29]

In February 2007, Milliken rejected the Conservative government's challenge of an opposition bill that commits the government to implement the Kyoto Accord. The government argued that the bill introduced new spending, and could not be introduced by someone who was not a minister. Milliken ruled that the bill did not specifically commit the government to any new spending, and was therefore in order. The bill was approved by the house, despite government opposition.[30]

Milliken was re-elected for a seventh term in the 2008 federal election. On November 18, after five ballots, he was elected for the fourth time as Speaker. On October 12, 2009, he became the longest serving Canadian House of Commons speaker in history.[31]

The Speaker only votes in order to break a tie. Speakers of the House of Commons have only needed to vote eleven times in Canadian parliamentary history - he cast five of the ten votes since Confederation.[1]

On March 18, 2010, the three opposition parties asked Milliken to make a pivotal ruling on a question of privilege (specifically the power to send for persons, papers and records), in regards to Parliament's request for documents on the transfer of Afghan detainees, a notable issue in 2009 and 2010.[32][33][34][35][36] On April 27, 2010, Milliken ruled that Parliament had a right to ask for uncensored documents. He asked that all House leaders, ministers and MPs to come to a collective solution by May 11, 2010 "without compromising the security and confidentiality contained.".[37][38]

On March 9, 2011, Milliken made two historic rulings finding a prima fascia case of contempt of Parliament against the government of Stephen Harper,[39] referring the matter to the Procedure Committee. The House subsequently voted to "agree with the finding of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that the government is in contempt of Parliament" in supporting a non-confidence vote on March 25, 2011. Prior to the vote, the last House of Commons which Milliken would preside over, the Speaker was praised by MPs from all sides of the House. Conservative Government House Leader John Baird paid homage to Milliken’s career, recalling a meeting he’d had with the Speaker of the British House of Commons. “The Speaker of the Commons there said that he and Speakers from all around the Commonwealth look to you as their leader and their inspiration as someone who has conducted himself very professionally. For a Canadian to hear that from a British Speaker is a pretty remarkable conclusion and assessment of your role as Speaker.” Baird predicted that Milliken would “go down in history as, if not one of the best Speakers, the best Speaker the House of Commons has ever had.”

Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff said of Milliken, “You have taught us all – sometimes with modest rebuke, sometimes with stern force of argument – to understand, to respect and to cherish the rules of Canadian democracy, and for that alone all Canadians will be grateful to you.”[40]

Post-Commons career[edit]

On June 18, 2011, Milliken chaired the Liberal Party of Canada constitutional convention which was held by conference call in order to decide whether or not to amend the party's constitution in order to allow the party's leadership convention to be delayed until 2013.[41]

Later that month, Milliken joined Queen's University as a Fellow at the School of Policy Studies where he teaches and conducts research.[42] He has also returned to the firm of Cunningham Swan Carty Little & Bonham LLP as Senior Advisor.

Milliken was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on May 8, 2012, giving him the accordant style of The Honourable for life.[43]

On May 9, 2012, Milliken's official portrait was unveiled on Parliament Hill, and was hung in the Speaker's Corridor of the Centre Block. The portrait was painted by American-Canadian artist Paul Wyse.

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2008: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp Expenditures
Liberal Peter Milliken 22,734 39.15 -6.8 $58,470
Conservative Brian Abrams 18,895 32.54 +6.5 $89,566
New Democratic Rick Downes 10,158 17.49 -1.7 $31,946
Green Eric Walton 6,282 10.82 +2.8 $28,227
Total valid votes/Expense limit 58,069 100.00   $94,357
Total rejected ballots 205 0.35
Turnout 58,274 62.0


Canadian federal election, 2006: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp Expenditures
Liberal Peter Milliken 28,548 45.9 -6.5 $51,251
Conservative Lou Grimshaw 16,230 26.1 +3.0 $60,915
New Democratic Rob Hutchison 11,946 19.2 +2.8 $28,094
Green Eric Walton 5,006 8.0 +1.9 $18,532
Independent Karl Eric Walker 296 0.5 +0.1 $0
Canadian Action Don Rogers 222 0.4 0.0 $6,360
Total valid votes/Expense limit 62,248 100.0
Total rejected ballots 240
Turnout 62,488 65.97
Electors on the lists 94,720
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


Canadian federal election, 2004: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp Expenditures
Liberal Peter Milliken 28,544 52.3 +0.6 $45,543.70
Conservative Blair MacLean 12,582 23.1 -10.4 $83,209.34
New Democratic Rob Hutchison 8,964 16.4 +6.8 $18,440.27
Green Janina Fisher Balfour 3,339 6.1 +0.9 $14,087.39
Christian Heritage Terry Marshall 481 0.9 $1,652.04
Independent Rosie the Clown Elston 237 0.4 $134.54
Canadian Action Don Rogers 179 0.3 $6,285.00
Independent Karl Eric Walker 100 0.4 $670.21
Total valid votes 54,563 100.0
Total rejected ballots 175
Turnout 54,601 60.32
Electors on the lists 90,523
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution. Conservative Party percentages are contrasted with the combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative percentages from the 2000 election.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


Canadian federal election, 2000: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp Expenditures
Liberal Peter Milliken 26,457 51.7 +2.2 $38,161.64
Progressive Conservative Blair MacLean 9,222 18.0 -3.8 $58,975.69
Alliance Kevin Goligher 7,904 15.4 +2.4 $28,534.05
New Democratic Gary Wilson 4,951 9.7 -2.8 $27,262.77
Green Chris Milburn 2,652 5.2 +3.4 $4,200.19
Total valid votes 51,186 100.0
Total rejected ballots 203
Turnout 51,389 58.53
Electors on the lists 87,793
Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to the Reform vote in 1997 election.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


Canadian federal election, 1997: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp
Liberal Peter Milliken 25,632 49.5 -7.2 $39,224
Progressive Conservative Helen Cooper 11,296 21.8 +3.0 $44,719
Reform Dave Clarke 6,761 13.1 +0.5 $33,384
New Democratic Gary Wilson 6,433 12.4 +5.5 $28,694
Green Chris Walker 902 1.7 $1,748
Christian Heritage Terry Marshall 751 1.5 +0.2 $127
Total valid votes 51,775 100.0
Total rejected ballots 239
Turnout 52,014 62.77
Electors on the lists 82,869
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


Canadian federal election, 1993: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Liberal Peter Milliken 32,372 56.46 $45,912
Progressive Conservative Barry Gordon 10,935 19.07 $54,157
Reform Sean McAdam 7,175 12.51 $32,259
New Democratic Mary Ann Higgs 4,051 7.06 $22,979
National Chris Papadopoulos 1,768 3.08 $8,171
Christian Heritage Terry Marshall 663 1.16 $1,442
Natural Law Chris Wilson 376 0.66 $0
Total valid votes 57,340 100.00
Total rejected ballots 369
Turnout 57,709 60.65
Electors on the lists 95,154
Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.


Canadian federal election, 1988: Kingston and the Islands
Party Candidate Votes % ±pp
Liberal Peter Milliken 23,121 40.6 +12.9 $38,348
Progressive Conservative Flora MacDonald 20,409 35.9 -19.2 $46,265
New Democratic Len Johnson 11,442 20.1 +7.5 $47,572
Christian Heritage Terry Marshall 1,646 2.9 $15,262
Libertarian John Hayes 301 0.5 0.0 $1,295
Total valid votes 56,919 100.0
Turnout 57,188 74.26
Electors on the lists 77,014

All electoral information is taken from Elections Canada. Italicized expenditures from elections after 1997 refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed totals are not available. Expenditures from 1997 refer to submitted totals.

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1147275.html
  2. ^ "Commons Speaker Milliken won't run again". CBC News. June 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Parliament of Canada Act (R.S., 1985, c. P-1), s. 53". Ministry of Justice. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ditchburn, Jennifer (January 29, 2001). "Peter Milliken fascinated by Commons workings from an early age". Canadian Press. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2139409&p=1
  6. ^ Peter Milliken biographical sketch, "Canada votes 2006", Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  7. ^ Judi McLeod, "Gentleman Politician", Kingston Whig-Standard, August 5, 1988, p. 1.
  8. ^ Lynn Messerschmidt, "Longtime Liberal challenges city councillor for nomination", Kingston Whig-Standard, March 9, 1988, p. 1.
  9. ^ Anne Kershaw, "Peter Milliken: Liberal Party", Kingston Whig-Standard, November 19, 1988, p. 1.
  10. ^ Peter Milliken, Commencement Address to the State University of New York at Potsdam, May 20, 2001.
  11. ^ Jeffrey Simpson, "Speaking of politics: a race too close to call", Globe and Mail, January 10, 2001, A15.
  12. ^ Stevie Cameron, "Time will tell whether promising neophytes produce a good show", Globe and Mail, November 24, 1988, A2.
  13. ^ Carol Goar, "The first time Bill MacAleer ...", Toronto Star, May 26, 1988.
  14. ^ Bill Hutchison, "Milliken appointed to shadow cabinet", Kingston Whig-Standard, February 7, 1989, p. 1.
  15. ^ "Milliken appointed to special Commons committee", Kingston Whig-Standard, April 18, 1989, p. 1.
  16. ^ Geoff Pounsett, "Missing Meech deadline won't kill Canada: Chrétien", Kingston Whig-Standard, May 28, 1990, p. 2.
  17. ^ Hugh Winsor, "Chrétien grooms rookies", Globe and Mail, December 7, 1993, A1; "MPs may try to halt change in ridings", Hamilton Spectator, March 15, 1994, C9.
  18. ^ Murray Hogben, "Local delegates had plenty of decisions to make", Kingston-Whig Standard, December 2, 1996.
  19. ^ "Beware the wrath of the Loyalists", Financial Post, July 25, 1996, p. 12 and Allan Fotheringham, "Ridicule is the best policy when taking on Helms-Burton", Financial Post, July 27, 1996, p. 17.
  20. ^ "MPs mock Helms-Burton at Congress", Globe and Mail, February 12, 1997, N10.
  21. ^ Kathleen Kenna, "U.S. crowd applauds MPs' jabs at Cuba law", Toronto Star, February 12, 1997, A16.
  22. ^ "PM makes Reform MP a deputy Speaker", Globe and Mail, September 24, 1997, A4.
  23. ^ Broadcast News, January 29, 2001, 16:34 report.
  24. ^ Graham Fraser, "It's High Noon and he's the marshal", Toronto Star, June 9, 2001, NR04.
  25. ^ "Peter Milliken is the unanimous choice of MP's to be speaker of the House of Commons", Broadcast News, October 4, 2004, 11:07 report.
  26. ^ John Ward, "Speaker's tie-breaking vote to save the minority government was a first", Canadian Press, May 19, 2005, 17:54 report.
  27. ^ http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=Hansard&Mee=102&Language=E&Parl=38&Ses=1#SOB-1296884
  28. ^ Brock Harrison, "Speaker's job still available", Kingston Whig-Standard, February 7, 2006, p. 1.
  29. ^ There was also an "opposition speaker" in the 1926, although the circumstances were much different. Rodolphe Lemieux, a Liberal, was chosen as speaker during the Liberal government of William Lyon Mackenzie King, and continued to serve in that capacity after King's government was defeated and a new ministry briefly formed by Arthur Meighen of the Conservative Party.
  30. ^ Allan Woods, "Honour Kyoto, House tells PM", Toronto Star, February 15, 2007, A1.
  31. ^ John Ward, "Commons Speaker marks milestone", The Canadian Press, October 12, 2009.
  32. ^ Daniel Leblanc (March 18 and 19, 2010). "Opposition asserts supremacy of Parliament in Afghan detainee issue". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  33. ^ Tim Naumetz (March 22, 2010). "Opposition parties push for a showdown over Afghan documents, PM's power to prorogue". The Hill Times. Retrieved March 21, 2010. 
  34. ^ Hansard (December 10, 2009). "40th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION; EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 128; CONTENTS; Thursday, December 10, 2009; Business of Supply; Opposition Motion--Documents Regarding Afghan Detainees: (preceding line 1650)". Hansard. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  35. ^ CBC News (March 18, 2010). "Afghan documents debate heats up". CBC News. Retrieved April 8, 2010. 
  36. ^ Aaron Wherry (April 13, 2010). "Colvin redux". Maclean's. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  37. ^ CBC News (April 27, 2010). "Afghan records denial is privilege breach: Speaker". CBC. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  38. ^ Delacourt, Susan (April 27, 2010). "Parliament wins in showdown with Stephen Harper government". The Star (Toronto). 
  39. ^ "With contempt rulings, Milliken caps career filled with firsts", Globe and Mail, March 9, 2011
  40. ^ "Peter Milliken takes his last stand as Speaker", Globe and Mail, March 25, 2011
  41. ^ "Liberals call in Saturday to debate leadership timing", CBC News, June 17, 2011
  42. ^ "Longest-serving House speaker joins Queen's", CTV News, June 16, 2011
  43. ^ Privy Council Office (May 23, 2012). "Information Resources > Current Chronological List of Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada > 2011 – ". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved June 3, 2012.