Steve Peters (Ontario politician)

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Steve Peters
40th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
In office
PremierDalton McGuinty
Lieutenant GovernorDavid Onley
Preceded byMichael A. Brown
Succeeded byDave Levac
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byNew riding
Succeeded byJeff Yurek
Personal details
Born (1963-01-19) 19 January 1963 (age 61)
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal

Stephen J. "Steve" Peters (born 19 January 1963) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada, who served as a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1999 to 2011. He served as a Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and was a Cabinet Minister in the government of Dalton McGuinty.


Peters was born in St. Thomas, in the southwestern section of Ontario. Both of his parents were the children of Ukrainian immigrants. He was educated at the University of Western Ontario, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1985. Peters subsequently worked as an archivist at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, and at Alma College in St. Thomas. He also worked as a stock clerk at an A&P food store in St. Thomas.


Peters began his political career at the municipal level, being elected to the St. Thomas city council in 1988. He became the city's mayor in 1991, and was the youngest mayor in the country at the time. Peters was re-elected by significant majorities in 1994 and 1997.

Peters ran as a candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party in the 1999 provincial election. He defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative (PC) MPP Bruce Smith in the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London by 1,171 votes.[1]

The election was won by the Progressive Conservatives, and Peters became the opposition critic for Disability issues on 26 June 1999. In September 2000, he was named opposition critic for Agriculture. For the next three years, most of his interventions in the legislature were focused on agricultural and rural issues.

Peters was easily re-elected in the 2003 provincial election, receiving over 57% of the vote. Bruce Smith, again running for the Progressive Conservatives, received just over 30%.[2] The election was won by the Liberals and Peters was named Minister of Agriculture and Food on 23 October 2003.[3] In late September 2004, he announced that the provincial government would provide $30 million to farmers affected by the BSE crisis, which had prevented Canadian beef from reaching the American market.

He was named as Ontario's Minister of Labour following a cabinet shuffle on 29 June 2005.[4]

Though he was re-elected in the general election of October 2007, he was dropped from cabinet in a post-election cabinet shuffle.[5] On 28 November 2007, he was elected by his fellow members as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on the fourth ballot, defeating Michael A. Brown, Ted Arnott, David Zimmer and Lorenzo Berardinetti.[6]

On 9 November 2010, Peters announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the 2011 Ontario general election.[7]

In 2013, he supported Gerrard Kennedy in his bid to become leader of the Liberal Party. The leadership race was won by Kathleen Wynne.[8]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario provincial government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chris Bentley Minister of Labour
Brad Duguid
Helen Johns Minister of Agriculture and Food
Leona Dombrowsky

After politics[edit]

After leaving the legislature, Peters became executive director of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors.[9]

Peters was elected to St. Thomas City Council in 2018.[10]


  1. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 3 June 1999. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 2 October 2003. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Premier Dalton McGuinty and his 22-member cabinet were sworn in Thursday". Canadian Press NewsWire. 23 October 2003. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Cabinet shuffle focuses on health care, education; McGuinty to head new Research and Innovation ministry". The Record. Kitchener, Ont. 30 June 2005. p. A5.
  5. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. 10 October 2007. p. 4 (xiii). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2009.
  6. ^ Ferguson, Rob (29 November 2007). "MPPs pick ex-cabinet minister as Speaker; Peters promises to be tough but fair in new job". Toronto Star. p. A19.
  7. ^ "Speaker Peters announces retirement". Toronto Star. 9 November 2010.
  8. ^ Benzie, Robert; Ferguson, Rob (28 November 2012). "Liberal bigwigs poised to play kingmaker: 'Ex-officio' delegates will hold big sway when next premier chosen". Toronto Star. p. A8.
  9. ^ Hall, Dave (17 April 2013). "Heinz changes may not affect Leamington; Ketchup plant employs 1,000 workers". The Windsor Star. p. C10.
  10. ^ "Coun. Steve Peters eager to continue his passion for politics at the municipal level".

External links[edit]