Bob Runciman

Last updated

Bob Runciman
Senator from Ontario
In office
January 29, 2010 August 10, 2017

Robert William "Bob" Runciman OOnt (born August 10, 1942) [1] is a Canadian politician and former provincial Leader of the Opposition in the Ontario Legislature. First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1981, he held the seat continuously for Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario for the next 29 years. On January 29, 2010, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada as a Conservative, where he served until August 10, 2017. [2]

Contents

Early career

Before going to Queen's Park, Runciman owned a local weekly newspaper, and sat as a municipal councillor in Brockville from 1972 to 1981. He also worked in production management in the chemical industry. [3]

Provincial politics

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1981 provincial election as a Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Leeds in eastern Ontario. [4] He was returned in each subsequent provincial election, and later represented the riding of Leeds—Grenville.[ citation needed ]

Miller cabinet

Runciman served as Minister of Government Services from February 8 to May 17, 1985, [5] and as Minister of Consumer Relations from May 17 to June 26, 1985, in the short-lived cabinet of Ontario Premier Frank Miller. [6]

Ontario provincial government of Frank Miller
Cabinet posts (2)
PredecessorOfficeSuccessor
Gordon Walker Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
1985 (May–June)
Monte Kwinter
George Ashe Minister of Government Services
1985 (February–May)
James Gordon

Opposition

With the defeat of Miller's government on a vote of confidence, Runciman joined his party on the opposition benches. He was nearly defeated by Liberal Jim Jordan in the 1987 election, winning by only 198 votes. [7] On all other occasions, he has been re-elected without difficulty. Despite being on the right-wing of the party, Runciman endorsed Red Tory Larry Grossman for the party leadership in November 1985. [8]

Harris and Eves cabinet

When the Tories returned to power in the 1995 election, Runciman became Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services in the government of Mike Harris, holding the position from June 26, 1995, to June 17, 1999. [9] During this period, he championed privately owned prisons, and was criticized on one occasion for revealing the name of a young offender in the legislature. On June 17, 1999, he was moved to the portfolio of Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, [10] and on February 8, 2001, was named Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

Runciman supported Ernie Eves's successful bid to succeed Harris as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2002. On April 15, 2002, Eves re-appointed Runciman to the position of Minister of Public Safety and Security (as the position of Solicitor General became known in the period following the September 11 attacks). [11]

On August 6, 2003, Runciman made controversial comments in the wake of tensions between Toronto's black community and the city's police. "I think some people make a living off this," Runciman said. "People who don't accept any degree of responsibility to solve the challenges and misunderstandings." After confirming that he was referring to members of the black community, he went on to say that "some folks here appear to have, in my view, a vested interest in seeing this kind of tension continue to exist." [12] His comments were later condemned by the Canadian Race Relations foundation and several other opposition MPP's. [13]

Ontario provincial government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet post (1)
PredecessorOfficeSuccessor
Rob Sampson Minister of Public Safety and Security
2002–2003
Monte Kwinter
Ontario provincial government of Mike Harris
Cabinet posts (4)
PredecessorOfficeSuccessor
Al Palladini Minister of Economic Development and Trade
2001–2002
Jim Flaherty [lower-alpha 1]
David Tsubouchi Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
1999–2001
Norm Sterling [lower-alpha 2]
David Christopherson Minister of Correctional Services
1995–1999
Rob Sampson
David Christopherson Solicitor General
1995–1999
David Tsubouchi

Return to opposition

Runciman returned to the opposition benches with the defeat of the Eves government in the 2003 election. [14] He supported John Tory in the leadership election to succeed Eves. Tory won the contest, and, not having a seat in the legislature, named Runciman to the position of interim Leader of the Opposition in September 2004.

Although Runciman holds strongly conservative views on matters such as criminal justice, he was not regarded as one of the more ideological members of his caucus. In recent years, he has played a significant role in his party's leadership transitions.

Runciman resumed the position of opposition leader following the 2007 provincial election in which John Tory failed to win a seat in the Legislature, losing to Liberal Minister Kathleen Wynne. Tory stayed on as Party Leader until March 2009 when he lost a subsequent bid to get elected in a by-election and resigned. Following Tory's resignation as Party Leader in March 2009, members of the PC Caucus selected Runciman as interim Party Leader until Tim Hudak was elected to the position in June 2009. [15]

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition in the
Ontario Legislature

2004–2005
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition in the
Ontario Legislature

2007–2009
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Interim Leader of the Ontario PC Party
2009 (March–June)
Succeeded by

Federal politics

Runciman supported Tom Long's bid to lead the Canadian Alliance in 2000. When Long was dropped from the contest after the first ballot, he turned his support to Stockwell Day, the eventual winner. [16]

In the 2004 federal Conservative leadership campaign, Runciman was an early supporter of eventual winner Stephen Harper. [17]

On May 17, 2005, Runciman was chastised for remarks he made about federal member of Parliament Belinda Stronach's decision to cross the floor from the Conservative Party of Canada to the Liberal Party of Canada. Runciman said, "She sort of defined herself as something of a dipstick, an attractive one, but still a dipstick." [18]

Runciman was appointed to the Canadian Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Harper on January 29, 2010. [17] He is seen as an ally of Harper in advocating of Senate reform and a "law and order" agenda. [19] He served in the Senate until reaching the mandatory retirement age on August 10, 2017.

Memoirs

Runciman officially released his memoirs of his 45-year career at an event at the Royal Brock Centre in Brockville, Ontario on June 30, 2023, two days after launching his website. [20] In the memoirs, Runciman discusses the Ipperwash shooting of Dudley George, his resignation as Solicitor-General over a breach of the Young Offenders Act which was later determined he was not guilty of, [21] and addresses his controversial remarks about Belinda Stronach [22] after she crossed the floor from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party in 2005. He also shares stories including hiding on the floor of the Ontario Legislature to avoid votes, his supportive relationship with father, Publisher and Musician Sandy Runciman, and his marriage to Jeanette Runciman (née Bax), who died in a tragic accident in 2020, and who has an island named for her in the Thousand Islands region of Eastern Ontario.

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References

Notes

  1. Ministry named as Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation.
  2. Ministry renamed as Consumer and Business Services.

Citations

  1. Senators' biographies: Robert William Runciman
  2. "Ontario's Runciman among 5 new senators". Toronto Star
  3. Runciman, Bob. "Senators – Detailed Information". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  4. Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Winds of change, sea of security". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  5. "The Ontario Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. February 9, 1985. p. 4.
  6. "The new Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. May 18, 1985. p. 11.
  7. "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.
  8. Lupton, Gary (October 7, 1985). "Tory leadership it's Timbrell 5, Grossman 3 as Leeds picks delegates". The Whig - Standard. Kingston, Ont. p. 1.
  9. "Mike Harris' cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 27, 1995. p. A7.
  10. "Ontario Cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 18, 1999. p. C8.
  11. "Ont-Cabinet". Toronto, Ont: Canadian Press NewsWire. April 15, 2002.
  12. Lindgren, April (August 7, 2003). "Racial profiling war widens; Runciman claims some 'have a vested interest' in keeping tensions heightened". The Windsor Star. p. B1.
  13. Van Rijn, Nicholaas (August 8, 2003). "Runciman 'took coward's way': Lincoln Alexander". Toronto Star. pp. A1, A25.
  14. "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  15. "Tory leader chides city unions". Toronto Star. June 29, 2009.
  16. Brennan, Richard (June 29, 2000). "Long taking top officials to Manning ; Campaign team is unanimous in its endorsement". Toronto Star. p. A6.
  17. 1 2 "MPP Runciman among 5 Tories headed to Senate". Toronto Star. January 29, 2010.
  18. "Women still outsiders in politics". Toronto Star. January 16, 2007. p. A18.
  19. "Runciman on same page as Harper over Senate". CTV News. January 30, 2010.
  20. "Home". Senator Bob Runciman: From Mad Dog to Senator. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  21. "Minister quits after MPP names offenders". The Globe and Mail. 2000-12-05. Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  22. "CTV.ca | Surprise defection triggers Conservative anger". 2006-01-14. Archived from the original on 2006-01-14. Retrieved 2023-07-01.