Roland J. Thornhill

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Roland J. Thornhill
MLA for Dartmouth South
In office
Preceded byD. Scott MacNutt
Succeeded byJohn Savage
Personal details
Born (1935-09-03) September 3, 1935 (age 84)
Grand Bank, Newfoundland
Political partyProgressive Conservative
ResidenceDartmouth, Nova Scotia
Occupationstockbroker, consultant

Roland John Thornhill (born September 3, 1935) is a Canadian politician. He represented the electoral district of Dartmouth South in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1974 to 1993. He is a member of the Progressive Conservative.[1]

Thornhill was born in Grand Bank, Newfoundland and Labrador. He attended the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Dalhousie University and was a stockbroker. From 1967 to 1973, he served as mayor of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In 1955, he married Joyce Marie Moore.[2] Thornhill is currently a financial consultant at Clarke, Inc.[3]

Political career[edit]

On February 3, 1971, while serving as mayor of Dartmouth, Thornhill announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.[4] At the leadership convention, Thornhill was eliminated on the first ballot, finishing third behind Gerald Doucet and John Buchanan. Thornhill threw his support to Buchanan, who overtook Doucet on the second ballot to win the leadership.[5]

Thornhill ran in the 1974 election, and defeated Liberal cabinet minister D. Scott MacNutt by 620 votes in the Dartmouth South riding.[6] He was re-elected in the 1978 election.[7] On October 5, 1978, Thornhill was appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia as Minister of Development, Chair of the Treasury Board, and Deputy Premier.[2][8] In June 1979, Premier John Buchanan restructured most government departments,[9] which included Thornhill giving up the Chair of the Treasury Board.[10]

In March 1980, it became public knowledge that in 1977 and 1978, Thornhill, who had personal financial problems negotiated with four banks for forgiveness of a series of loans he had made years earlier, some of this occurring while he was serving as Chair of the Treasury Board.[10] This resulted in an RCMP investigation into the forgiving of 75 percent of Thornhill's loans totaling about $140,000.[11] The investigation exonerated Thornhill, when a report on the matter in October 1980 said there was no evidence to lay charges.[11] Thornhill was re-elected in the 1981 election,[12] and remained as Minister of Development when Buchanan shuffled his cabinet in December 1981.[13] Thornhill was re-elected in the 1984 election,[14] and remained Minister of Development until November 25, 1987, when he became Minister of the Environment and Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.[15][16]

Thornhill's bank dealings of a decade earlier resurfaced in 1988.[17][18] On April 9, the Toronto Star reported that in 1980, the RCMP officers in charge of the investigation had enough evidence to press charges against Thornhill but were stopped by senior officials and the Nova Scotia Attorney Generals office who publicly exonerated him.[19][20][21][22] On April 12, Thornhill resigned from cabinet over the allegations, but remained as MLA.[23][24] He was re-elected in the 1988 election,[25] and returned to cabinet in December 1988, as Minister of Tourism.[26][27] The investigation into Thornhill's bank dealings was reopened by the RCMP on February 16, 1990.[28]

In September 1990, Buchanan resigned as premier,[29] and a leadership convention was scheduled for February 1991.[30] On November 14, 1990, Thornhill announced that he would seek the party leadership.[31] At the convention, Thornhill was defeated on the third ballot by Donald Cameron.[32] Less than two weeks later, on February 21, RCMP charged Thornhill with 17 fraud-related charges in relation to his bank dealings.[33] The charges included four counts of receiving a benefit, seven counts of forgery and six counts of false pretenses.[34] He immediately resigned from cabinet,[35] and on February 25, quit the Progressive Conservative caucus to sit as an independent.[36] On November 15, 1991, Thronhill received a discharge on 13 of the fraud-related charges,[37] and the remaining charges were dismissed in December.[38] He rejoined the Progressive Conservative caucus and was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Community Services.[39] Thornhill did not seek re-election in the 1993 election.[40]


  1. ^ "Electoral History for Dartmouth South" (PDF). Nova Scotia Legislative Library. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  2. ^ a b Elliott, Shirley B. (1984). The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, 1758–1983 : a biographical directory (PDF). Public Archives of Nova Scotia. p. 157. ISBN 0-88871-050-X. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  3. ^ "Roland J. Thornhill: Executive profile". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  4. ^ "Mayor seeks PC leadership". The Globe and Mail. February 4, 1971.
  5. ^ "N.S. Tories swing to right with election of Buchanan as leader". The Globe and Mail. March 8, 1971.
  6. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1974" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1974. p. 58. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  7. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1978" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1978. p. 59. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  8. ^ "Buchanan's Tory cabinet takes over in Nova Scotia". The Globe and Mail. October 6, 1978.
  9. ^ "Called out of control, Government of N.S. gets radical surgery". The Globe and Mail. June 23, 1979.
  10. ^ a b "Legal for banks to forgive Thornhill's loans, prober says". The Globe and Mail. March 18, 1980.
  11. ^ a b "N.S. Cabinet clears Thornhill over loans". The Globe and Mail. October 30, 1980.
  12. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1981" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1981. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  13. ^ "9 Nova Scotia ministers moved to new portfolios". The Montreal Gazette. December 11, 1981. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  14. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1984" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1984. p. 65. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  15. ^ "New-look cabinet for NS; surprise move changes ministers, departments". The Chronicle Herald. November 25, 1987.
  16. ^ "Shuffle seen as move to help ministers". The Globe and Mail. November 26, 1987.
  17. ^ Kavanagh, Peter (1988). John Buchanan: The Art of Political Survival. Formac Publishing Company Limited. p. 1. ISBN 978-0887800696.
  18. ^ "Thornhill scandal just won't go away". Toronto Star. April 16, 1988.
  19. ^ "Mounties in Nova Scotia wanted to charge deputy premier in 1980". Toronto Star. April 9, 1988.
  20. ^ "No news is good news in Nova Scotia". Ryerson Review of Journalism. April 1, 1989. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  21. ^ "RCMP considered charging Thornhill, files say". Toronto Star. May 22, 1988.
  22. ^ "Plan to charge cabinet minister foiled, Marshall Inquiry told". The Globe and Mail. September 13, 1988.
  23. ^ "N.S. Deputy Premier quits cabinet over allegations". The Globe and Mail. April 13, 1988.
  24. ^ "Nova Scotia's deputy premier resigns post". Toronto Star. April 13, 1988.
  25. ^ "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1988" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1988. p. 65. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  26. ^ "Quit over debt, Tory returned to N.S. cabinet". Toronto Star. December 24, 1988.
  27. ^ "Controversial minister returns as Buchanan shuffles cabinet". The Globe and Mail. December 24, 1988.
  28. ^ "RCMP reopen investigation into decade-old scandal". The Globe and Mail. February 17, 1990.
  29. ^ "Buchanan resigns to enter Senate". The Globe and Mail. September 13, 1990.
  30. ^ "Tories post leadership race rules". The Chronicle Herald. October 10, 1990.
  31. ^ "Thornhill enters Tory leadership race". The Globe and Mail. November 15, 1990.
  32. ^ "Cameron elected leader by Nova Scotia Tories". The Globe and Mail. February 11, 1991.
  33. ^ "Thornhill charged; Tourism minister faces 17 (fraud) charges". The Chronicle Herald. February 22, 1991.
  34. ^ "Thornhill charged with fraud". The Globe and Mail. February 22, 1991.
  35. ^ "N.S. minister quits cabinet over fraud charges". Toronto Star. February 22, 1991.
  36. ^ "Thornhill's defection leaves slim Tory majority". Toronto Star. February 26, 1991.
  37. ^ "Thornhill receives discharge in fraud case". The Globe and Mail. November 16, 1991.
  38. ^ "All charges in Thornhill case dismissed". The Globe and Mail. December 11, 1991.
  39. ^ "Thornhill back in cabinet after year of political exhile". The Globe and Mail. February 18, 1992.
  40. ^ "Political vet Thornhill calls it quits". The Chronicle Herald. April 1, 1993.