Phil Gillies

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Phil Gillies
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Brantford
In office
March 19, 1981 – September 10, 1987
Preceded by Mac Makarchuk
Succeeded by Dave Neumann
Personal details
Born (1954-05-07) May 7, 1954 (age 64)
Hertfordshire, England
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Brantford, Ontario
Profession Advertising executive

Philip Andrew Gillies (born May 7, 1954) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1981 to 1987 as a Progressive Conservative, and was a cabinet minister in the government of Frank Miller.


Gillies' early life and education were in Queenborough in Kent, England. His family moved to Brantford, Ontario, Canada when he was seven. Gillies attended elementary and secondary schools there. He completed his education at the University of Western Ontario and worked as an advertising executive.


He ran for the Ontario legislature in the 1977 provincial election, but lost to New Democratic Party candidate Mac Makarchuk in the riding of Brantford.[1] In 1977 and 1978, Gillies worked as research assistant to Ontario Premier Bill Davis.[2] He ran again in the 1981 election, and defeated Makarchuk by over 3,000 votes.[3]

Gillies served as a backbench supporter of the Davis government, and endorsed Larry Grossman for the party leadership in January 1985; Grossman, however, would lose the leadership contest to Frank Miller. When Miller became the Premier of Ontario on February 8, 1985, he named Gillies as a minister without portfolio.[4]

The Progressive Conservative Party was reduced to a tenuous minority government following the 1985 provincial election. Gillies himself was narrowly re-elected in Brantford, defeating NDP candidate Jack Tubman by 1,141 votes.[5] He was promoted to Minister of Skills Development on May 17, 1985[2][6] but accomplished little before the Tories were defeated in a non-confidence motion in the house two months later.

In opposition, Gillies served as his party's critic for skills development, labour and the environment. Gillies took an interest in labour and human rights issues, and was one of the first PC MPPs to work for LGBT rights in Ontario.[7] He was defeated in the 1987 provincial election, finishing third against Liberal candidate Dave Neumann.[8]

Gillies ran communications and advertising for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the 1990 provincial election in support of new party leader Mike Harris.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Frank Miller
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Ernie Eves Minister of Skills Development
1985 (May - June)
Also Responsible for Youth
Greg Sorbara
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
Minister without portfolio
(1985 (February - May))
Responsible for Youth

Later life[edit]

After leaving politics, Gillies became a vice-president of the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton.[2] He later worked as a consultant for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the Royal Bank of Canada and other corporations and non-profit organizations,[2] and came out as gay.[9] He has served as a director of Orchestra London, the Brant Social Development Council, the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, and the Enos Foundation, and serves on the advisory council of ProudPolitics. Gillies has also served on committees for Autism Speaks Canada and TVOntario.

Gillies worked on endangered species issues for the WildAid Conservation Society in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 and 2014, he provided consulting services to the Patey Law Group, Accident Resolution Group, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the Carpenters Union, Clean Prosperity and Toronto Expo 2025.

In 2011, Gillies helped spearhead a national campaign to have shark fin banned in Canada. He led his hometown of Brantford to become the first municipality in North America to ban the trade and possession of shark fin through a by-law passed on May 24, 2011.[10] This led to the introduction of similar legislation in Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga and other Canadian cities.

Gillies ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Brant in the 2014 election,[11] but was not re-elected to the legislature. In the summer of 2014, Gillies became Associate Director of Policy on the campaign of Toronto mayoralty candidate John Tory.

In January 2015, Toronto mayor John Tory named Gillies as secretary of the Mayor's Task Force on Toronto Community Housing, under the chairmanship of Senator Art Eggleton. He also sits on the government relations committee of Enactus Canada. In June 2016 Gillies joined Enterprise Canada Public Affairs as Municipal Practice Lead. At Enterprise, he has represented corporations including Enbridge Gas Distribution, Emovis Technologies, associations such as the Downtown-Yonge Business Improvement Area, and governments/public agencies including York Region, Peel Region, Halton Region, the City of Hamilton, City of Niagara Falls and Metrolinx.

In 2016 at the annual convention of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Gillies was presented with a special achievement award by leader Patrick Brown for his decades of service to the party.

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Dave Levac 19,346 37.14 +0.06
Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 16,041 30.80 -3.85
New Democratic Alex Felsky 13,992 26.86 +2.66
Green Ken Burns 2,095 4.02 +1.92
Libertarian Rob Ferguson 374 0.72 +0.30
Freedom Brittni Mitchell 179 0.34 +0.04
Pauper John Turmel 61 0.12 -0.07
Total valid votes 52,088 100.00
Liberal hold Swing +1.96
Source: Elections Ontario[12]

Ontario general election, 1987: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Dave Neumann 14,919 41.29 $35,227
New Democratic Jack Tubman 12,112 33.52 $33,914
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 9,104 25.19 $42,033
Total valid votes/Expenditure limit 36,135 100.00 $46,944
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 219
Turnout 36,354 68.88
Electors on the lists 52,776

Ontario general election, 1985: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 13,444 41.65 $40,482
New Democratic Jack Tubman 12,303 38.11 $23,157
Liberal Herb German 6,533 20.24 $14,378
Total valid votes 32,280 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 162
Turnout 32,442 64.87
Electors on the lists 50,013

Ontario general election, 1981: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 12,847 45.35
New Democratic Mac Makarchuk 9,588 33.84
Liberal Herb German 5,896 20.81
Total valid votes 28,331 100.00
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 129
Turnout 28,460 59.43
Electors on the lists 47,887

Ontario general election, 1977: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Mac Makarchuk 13,376 46.79 $17,720
     Progressive Conservative Phil Gillies 9,081 31.77 $26,618
Liberal Arne Zabell 6,130 21.44 $8,868
Total valid votes 28,587 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 156
Turnout 28,743 64.87
Electors on the lists 44,311


  1. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Tory picks Gillies to run campaign". Brantford Expositor. June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Winds of change, sea of security". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  4. ^ "The Ontario Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. February 9, 1985. p. 4. 
  5. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13. 
  6. ^ "The new Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. May 18, 1985. p. 11. 
  7. ^ "25 years later, a world of change for LGBT". Brantford Expositor. November 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2. 
  9. ^ "PC party running three gay candidates in Ontario election". Xtra!. May 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Brantford is first city to ban shark fin". CTV News. June 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hudak backed Gillies from get-go". Brantford Expositor. April 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ Elections Ontario. "General Election Results by District, 009 Brant". Archived from the original on 14 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 

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