|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Etobicoke Centre
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
|Preceded by||Borys Wrzesnewskyj|
|Succeeded by||Borys Wrzesnewskyj|
August 25, 1961 |
|Profession||Soldier, political advisor|
|Years of service||1978-2011|
Ted J. Opitz, CD (born August 25, 1961) is a Canadian politician and a retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-Colonel who represented the electoral district of Etobicoke Centre as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada in the Canadian House of Commons from 2011 to 2015.
Opitz was born in the Parkdale area of Toronto in 1961 and is the youngest of four children. Opitz's parents were originally from Poland and immigrated to Canada shortly after World War II. During the war, his mother suffered in Nazi Germany as a forced labourer and his father served in the Polish 2nd Corps after being released by the Soviets as a prisoner of war in a gulag.[not verified in body]
In 1978, Opitz enrolled as a private in the Canadian Army Reserves and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel during 33 years of service. In 1998 and early 1999, he served in Bosnia as a member of NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR). During his military career, he performed various roles ranging from Assistant to the Chief of Staff at Canadian Forces College, a course instructor and military planner for Pope John Paul II and his World Youth Day visit to Canada in 2002. Prior to running and being elected to Parliament, Opitz was the Commanding Officer of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
During his military service, Opitz also had parallel careers in the Telecom industry, as well as completing a BA in English at York University. Starting as a technician, Opitz worked his way up to sales and marketing and managerial roles in product management and high speed internet development.
For the past two years, Opitz was the Senior Regional Advisor to Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. In that role, he represented the Government of Canada and the Minister in the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
In Etobicoke, Opitz has been recognized for his volunteer work with the Polish community and youth in the region. Opitz has lived in Etobicoke Centre with his wife Cynthia since 1994 and was elected as the Member of Parliament in May 2011.
He won by a margin of 26 votes over Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj in the initial count, triggering an automatic judicial recount. The recount ultimately confirmed his victory; but was later declared null and void on May 18, 2012 by a judge due to alleged irregularities in the voting registration process. However, Opitz appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, which reversed the lower court's ruling and upheld the original election result on October 25, 2012.
Member of 41st Parliament
As a Member of Parliament, Opitz sat on the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In February 2012, Opitz was chosen as a delegate to represent the Parliament of Canada at both the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region and at the 56th Conference on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. He also is a vice-chairman of the Canada-Poland Parliamentary Friendship Association and chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group.
On May 18, 2012, the election result in Opitz's riding that led to his election to Parliament were declared null and void by a judge following a challenging based on voting irregularities. The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled on October 25, 2012 that voting irregularities in the 2011 federal election in the riding of Etobicoke Centre were not serious enough to warrant calling for a new by-election within the riding.
Opitz was one of thirteen Canadians banned from traveling to Russia under retaliatory sanctions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2014. He replied via his official Twitter account, "Today's sanctions by Russia on myself and colleagues demonstrate Canada has been an effective voice in the world in support of Ukraine."
Honours and decorations
Opitz received the following honours and decorations during and after his military career.
- Canadian Government Volunteer Award and United Nations Volunteer Award
- Commanders Commendation for service to World Youth Days 2002
- Received Gold Cross for contributions to the Polish Combatants Association
- Canadian Forces Decoration with two bars for 32 years military service
- NATO Decoration for service in the former Yugoslavia
- Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
- Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Awarded Serving Brother of the Order of St. John
- Pro Memorial Medal (Poland)
- Knight’s Cross Order of Merit (Poland)
- 33 years of military service (reserve) in total, many years in full time service.
- Served overseas in Bosnia as a member of NATO's SFOR (Stabilization Force), working to bring stability and security to the country.
- "Member of Parliament: Etobicoke Centre." Conservative Party of Canada. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Conservative Party picks new candidate". Mississauga News. June 10, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- Election 2011: Don Valley West. The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2011.
- "Judicial recounts expected in 2 ridings". CBC News. March 3, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Recount confirms Tory win in Etobicoke Centre". Toronto Star. May 23, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Toronto riding's election result tossed by judge". CBC News. May 18, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Tory MP asks Supreme Court to uphold Toronto riding result". CBC News. May 28, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Conservative MP Ted Opitz can keep seat in Etobicoke Centre, Supreme Court rules". Toronto Star. October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
-  Retrieved January 30, 2015.
-  retrieved on January 30, 2014
- "MP Ted Opitz Joins Canadian Delegation at the 56th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women". tedopitz.ca, February 29, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Parliament of Canada, List of Interparliamentary Groups. Retrieved on March 10, 2015.
- "Elections Canada says Opitz exceeded 2008 nomination campaign donation, only had one other donor for $50". The Hill Times. February 19, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Elections watchdog says Ted Opitz exceeded campaign limit in 2008". Canada.com. January 28, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- Susana Mas (March 24, 2013). "Russian sanctions against Canadians a 'badge of honour'". CBC News. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj wins Etobicoke Centre". Toronto Star. October 19, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2015.