Raymond Cho (politician)

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Raymond Cho
Raymond Cho.png
Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
Assumed office
June 29, 2018
PremierDoug Ford
Preceded byDipika Damerla
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Scarborough North
(Scarborough—Rouge River; 2016-2018)
Assumed office
September 1, 2016
Preceded byBas Balkissoon
Toronto City Councillor
for Ward 42 Scarborough—Rouge River
In office
December 1, 2000 – September 10, 2016
Preceded byNew ward
Succeeded byNeethan Shan
Chair of the Scarborough Community Council
In office
December 1, 2003 – June 27, 2005
Preceded byRon Moeser
Succeeded byMichael Thompson
Toronto City Councillor
for Ward 18 Scarborough Malvern
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 1, 2000
Preceded byWard created
Succeeded byWard dissolved
Metro Toronto Councillor
for Ward 18 Scarborough Malvern
In office
December 1, 1991 – January 1, 1998
Preceded byBob Sanders
Succeeded byCity amalgamated
Personal details
Born (1936-11-18) November 18, 1936 (age 86)
Seoul, Japanese-Occupied Korea[1]
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Other political
New Democratic (until 1991)
Independent Liberal (2004)
Ontario Liberal (2005)
Independent (municipal)
SpouseSoon Ok[2]
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
  • Social worker
  • politician

Raymond Sung Joon Cho (Korean: 조성준; born November 18, 1936) is a Canadian politician who has served as the Ontario minister of seniors and accessibility since June 29, 2018. A member of the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party, Cho has sat as a member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) since 2016. He currently represents Scarborough North, and is the Legislative Assembly's oldest sitting MPP. Cho's over 30-year long political career began in 1991 when he was first elected to the Metro Toronto Council. Following amalgamation in 1998, Cho ran for Toronto City Council, where he re-elected eight times until resigning in 2016 following a successful run for Scarborough—Rouge River in a provincial by-election. Prior to entering politics, Cho worked as a social worker.

Early life and education[edit]

Cho immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1967. He worked as a janitor, waiter and miner, before attending the University of Toronto.[3] Already holding an undergraduate degree from Korea, he completed a Master of Social Work, Master of Education, and a Doctorate of Counseling Psychology.[2] Cho then worker as a social worker for the Catholic Children's Aid Society, the Toronto Board of Education, and the Scarborough Board of Education.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Cho is married to Soon Ok, and has three adult sons: Raymond Jr., Ronald, and William.[2]

In 2018, while campaigning in Scarborough, Cho suffered a stroke. He was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and treated in intensive care. Cho continued to suffer balance issues after his stay in hospital.[3]

Political career[edit]

Cho was a New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in Scarborough—Rouge River for election to the House of Commons in the 1988 federal election.[3][4] He was initially identified as a New Democrat when he joined Metro Council, however, he soon became an ally and supporter of then-Metropolitan Toronto Chairman Alan Tonks and dropped his NDP affiliation. He subsequently took out membership in the Liberal Party though, like most non-NDP municipal politicians in Ontario he did not run on a party label in municipal elections.

He was first elected to Metropolitan Toronto Council for Scarborough-Malvern in 1991, and was re-elected in 1994. After the Scarborough and the other suburbs were amalgamated into the new City of Toronto, Cho was elected to the new council representing Scarborough-Malvern in 1997 along with Bas Balkissoon. In 2000, he was again re-elected, representing the new ward of Scarborough Rouge-River. He won re-election in 2003, 2006 and 2010. Cho was Chairman of the Toronto Zoo for two successive terms.

He ran in the 2004 federal election as an independent candidate in Scarborough—Rouge River. Cho called himself an "independent Liberal", and used the Liberal Party of Canada's red-and-white colours for his campaign materials. He was accused of trying to mislead voters by the official Liberal candidate, Derek Lee. Lee, who has been the MP since 1988 said that Cho caused some controversy by claiming to have been shut out of the candidate nomination process.[5] Lee won the election, Cho placed a distant second with 6,692 votes (17.8% of the total).

On August 13, 2004, the Toronto Star reported that Cho spent nearly all of his allotted councillor expense fund, one of the highest on city council. While there was some speculation that some of this money was diverted to Cho's failed bid to run in the federal election campaign, his executive assistant said the money was needed for newsletters mailed out to constituents to provide information on a rash of fatal shootings in the Malvern neighbourhood earlier in the year.[6]

In 2005, Cho expressed interest in being the Ontario Liberal Party's candidate in the Scarborough—Rouge River provincial by-election which was made necessary by the appointment of incumbent Liberal MPP Alvin Curling to a diplomatic position. However, the Liberal riding association used a clause of its constitution to declare another city councillor, Bas Balkissoon, as its candidate without a contested nomination process. Media reports suggested that this was done to exclude Cho as the provincial riding association was displeased with Cho's "independent Liberal" candidacy in the 2004 federal election.[7] Cho was also mentioned as a potential candidate for the Progressive Conservatives since he helped former leader John Tory during the March 2005 by-election in Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey.[8] In the end, Cho chose not to run in the by-election which was won handily by Balkissoon.

In 2012, Cho was named as the Progressive Conservative candidate for the provincial riding of Scarborough—Rouge River.[9] In the 2014 provincial election, Cho placed third with 27.68% of the vote.

In 2016, Cho was nominated as the Progressive Conservative Party candidate for the September 1 by-election in Scarborough—Rouge River, after incumbent Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon resigned to spend more time with family. Cho won the by-election in an upset victory,[10] becoming the first Korean-Canadian elected to the Ontario Legislature. Cho was handily re-elected in 2018 in the new riding of Scarborough North, winning over half of the popular vote. Doug Ford, then a former city councillor, served as his campaign chair.[3]

Election results[edit]


Scarborough—Rouge River[edit]

2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Derek Lee 22,564 57.9 −21.2
Independent Raymond Cho 6,962 17.9
Conservative Tony Backhurst 5,184 13.3 −2.7
New Democratic Fauzia Khan 3,635 9.3 +4.4
Green Kathryn Holloway 610 1.5
Total valid votes 38,955 100.0

Note: Conservative vote is compared to the total of the Canadian Alliance vote and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000 election.

1988 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Derek Lee 22,767 47.1
Progressive Conservative Doug Boswell 18,171 37.6
New Democratic Raymond Cho 6,589 13.6
Libertarian Simon Harvey 513 1.1
Green Lois James 286 0.6
Total valid votes 48,326 100.0


Scarborough North[edit]

2018 Ontario general election: Scarborough North
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Raymond Cho 17,413 51.05
New Democratic Dwayne Morgan 8,320 24.39
Liberal Chin Lee 7,519 22.04
Green Nicole Peltier 543 1.59
Libertarian Sean Morgan 318 0.93
Total valid votes 34,113 100.0  
Progressive Conservative pickup new district.
Source: Elections Ontario[11]

Scarborough—Rouge River[edit]

Ontario provincial by-election, September 1, 2016
Resignation of Bas Balkissoon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Raymond Cho 9,644 38.58 +10.92
Liberal Piragal Thiru 7,257 28.91 −9.79
New Democratic Neethan Shan 6,905 27.40 −3.91
Independent Queenie Yu 575 2.32
Green Priyan De Silva 216 0.86 −0.51
Libertarian Allen Small 146 0.58
None of the Above Above Znoneofthe 133 0.54 −0.42
Freedom Wayne Simmons 59 0.30
People's Political Party Dwight McLean 45 0.22
Pauper John Turmel 37 0.15
Trillium Ania Krosinska 36 0.14
Total valid votes 25,182 100.00
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +10.36
2014 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Bas Balkissoon 16,095 38.71 −3.17
New Democratic Neethan Shan 13,019 31.31 −4.66
Progressive Conservative Raymond Cho 11,500 27.66 +8.87
Green George B. Singh 571 1.37 +0.12
None of the Above Amir Khan 398 0.96
Total valid votes 41,583 100.00
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 479 1.14
Turnout 42,062 47.48
Eligible voters 88,592
Liberal hold Swing +0.75
Source: Elections Ontario[12]


Ward 42 (Scarborough—Rouge River)[edit]

2010 Toronto election, Ward 42
Candidate Votes[13] %
(x) Raymond Cho 10,811 52.93%
Neethan Shan 6,873 33.65%
Shamoon Poonawala 586 2.869%
Mohammed Ather 474 2.321%
Namu Ponnambalam 443 2.169%
Ruth Tecle 437 2.14%
George Singh 353 1.728%
Leon Saul 323 1.581%
Venthan Ramanathavavuniyan 125 0.612%
Total 20,425 100%
2006 Toronto election, Ward 42
Candidate Votes %
(x) Raymond Cho 7480 52.2
Kumar Nadarajah 3683 25.7
Mohammed Ather 1639 11.4
Bonnie Irwin 1532 10.7
2003 Toronto election, Ward 42
Candidate Votes %
(x) Raymond Cho 8,302 70.0
Paulette Senior 3,314 27.9
Akeem Fasasi 245 2.1
2000 Toronto election, Ward 42
Candidate Votes %
(x) Raymond Cho 7,428
Eden Gajraj 2,101
Horace Dockery 1,890
Pat Johnson 562
1997 Toronto election, Ward 18 - Scarborough Malvern (2 elected)
Candidate Votes %
(x) Raymond Cho 11,190
Bas Balkissoon 10,745
Edith Montgomery 10,659
Jim Mackey 2,621
Terry Singh 1,812
Sinna Chelliah 1,165
Jasmine Singh 871
Arlanna Lewis 666
George B. Singh 339
1994 Toronto election, Scarborough Malvern
Candidate Votes %
(x) Raymond Cho 10,272
Diamond Tobin-West 3,382
Yaqoob Khan 1,807
1991 Toronto election, Scarborough Malvern
Candidate Votes %
Raymond Cho 5,283
(x) Bob Sanders 3,977
Shan Rana 1,321

(x) - incumbent

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario provincial government of Doug Ford
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Dipika Damerla Minister of Seniors and Accessibility
June 29, 2018 – present


  1. ^ "About Raymond – Raymond Cho". Archived from the original on 2018-09-23. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  2. ^ a b c d "Raymond Cho - MPP, Scarborough-Rouge River". Ontario PC. Archived from the original on June 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Rushowy, Kristin (2021-11-17). "'My work motivates me': At 85, MPP Raymond Cho celebrates 30 years of elected service". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  4. ^ Shane, Emmett (June 3, 2016). "Raymond Cho acclaimed as PC byelection candidate in Scarborough-Rouge River". CBC News.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Ho Anderson. Rookies challenge Liberal MP. Toronto Star. June 19, 2004. Pg. H03.
  6. ^ Catherine Porter. Cho biggest spender at city hall; $53,100 limit nearly spent Councillor ran in federal election. Toronto Star. August 13, 2004. Pg. F02.
  7. ^ Urquhart, Ian (October 5, 2005). "Liberals play rough on by-election. Toronto Star". pressreader.com. Toronto Star.
  8. ^ Robert Benzie. Twice bitten, McGuinty shy of vote; Curling's Scarborough riding considered a safe Liberal seat. Toronto Star. August 27, 2005. Pg F02.
  9. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (18 December 2012). "Rob Ford critic Raymond Cho named as Ontario PC candidate for Scarborough-Rouge River". National Post.
  10. ^ Benzie, Robert (September 1, 2016). "Tory Raymond Cho wins Scarborough-Rouge River byelection". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on June 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "Summary of Valid Votes Cast for each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. p. 8. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Valid Votes Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. April 1, 2015. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 6, 2015.
  13. ^ Ulli S. Watkiss (October 28, 2010). "2010 Clerk's Official Declaration of Election Results" (PDF). City of Toronto. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2014.

External links[edit]