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Brian Charlton

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Brian Charlton

Brian Charlton
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by Riding established
Succeeded by Marie Bountrogianni
Constituency Hamilton Mountain
Personal details
Born (1947-05-22) May 22, 1947
Hamilton, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Political party New Democrat
Spouse(s) Chris Charlton
Residence Hamilton, Ontario
Profession Non-profit executive

Brian Albert Charlton (born May 22, 1947) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a New Democratic Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 1995, and was a cabinet minister in the government of Bob Rae. He serves on the board of directors of a sustainable living non-profit called Green Venture.


  • Background 1
  • Politics 2
    • In opposition 2.1
    • In government 2.2
    • Cabinet positions 2.3
  • Later life 3
  • Electoral record 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Charlton worked as a property assessor before entering political life.[1] His father, John Charlton, was a candidate for the Ontario NDP in the 1963 provincial election in the riding of Wentworth.[2] His wife Chris Charlton has campaigned for federal, provincial and municipal office numerous times since 1997, being elected in 2006 and re-elected since as Federal NDP Member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain.


In opposition

Charlton ran for the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1975, but lost to Progressive Conservative John Smith by 1,667 votes in Hamilton Mountain. He ran again in the 1977 provincial election, and defeated Smith by 373 votes.

In 1979, Charlton sponsored a private member's bill that would have given domestic workers the same protection as regular workers including a minimum wage of $3. At the time domestic workers were excluded form such protections as human rights, worker's compensation and minimum pay. The governing Tories killed the bill saying that many people could not afford to pay these workers such a high wage.[3] In 1980, he proposed an affirmative action bill that would have promoted equal pay for women and other job protections. The bill was blocked by the Tories.[4]

He was re-elected over Progressive Conservative Duncan Beattie in the 1981 provincial election by 197 votes.[5] He was appointed as the party's environment critic.[6] In 1982, Charlton proposed a bill called the Safe Drinking Water Act that would have protected water sources for human consumption. The bill was never passed but was a forerunner for legislation passed twenty years later in response to the Walkerton Inquiry.[7] Charlton supported Bob Rae for the provincial NDP leadership in 1982.

He was re-elected by a greater margin in the 1985 provincial election, and defeated Liberal Jane Milanetti by 1,632 votes in the 1987 election. After the election he was appointed as the party's energy critic.[8]

In government

The NDP won a majority government in the 1990 provincial election, and Charlton was re-elected by a landslide. After the election he was named as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, Jenny Carter.[9]

He was appointed to cabinet on March 18, 1991, as Minister of Financial Institutions.[10] He was also named Minister Responsible for Auto Insurance.[11] He was named acting Minister of Energy on February 14, 1992, finally being appointed to the full portfolio on September 23 of the same year.[12][13] Following a cabinet shuffle on February 3, 1993, he was named Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet as well as government House Leader.[14]

After campaigning on a platform of publicly funded automobile insurance, the New Democrats backtracked due to the recession in the 1990s. Charlton took over management of the issue in 1991 and handled it through to the passing of Bill 164 in July 1993. The bill increased benefits for accident victims under the new no-fault system.[15]

As Chair of the Management Board, Charlton faced a broad range of issues that concerned the public. However, one issue in particular raised a few eyebrows. In 1993 the government published a job advertisement for a management board director. The ad read that competition was limited to, "...aboriginal peoples, francophones, persons with disabilities, racial minorities and women." Many read this to mean that "white males" would be excluded and that this was a broad-minded government policy. Charlton said, "Most of the backlash was in fact the impression that all government jobs were going to be handled in that way, which wasn't correct." The government pulled the ad after the ensuing controversy.[16]

In February 1995, Charlton suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized but returned to work three weeks later.[17] He ran in the June 1995 provincial election but he finished third behind Liberal Marie Bountrogianni and the winner, Progressive Conservative Trevor Pettit.[18]

Cabinet positions

Provincial Government of Bob Rae
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Dave Cooke Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet
David Johnson
William Ferguson Minister of Energy
Bud Wildman
Peter Kormos Minister of Financial Institutions
Also Responsible for Auto Insurance
Position abolished

Later life

After leaving office, Charlton worked as an executive assistant to Howard Hampton, the Ontario NDP leader who followed Bob Rae.[19]

As of 2012, Charlton is the past chair of Green Venture, a non-profit group which focuses on sustainable living initiatives. and has chaired employment adjustment committees for the Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council and the Canadian Auto Workers.[1]

Electoral record

Ontario general election, 1977
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Brian Charlton 12,681 38.2
Progressive Conservative John Smith 12,308 37.1
Liberal Kris Chaman 7,919 23.9
Communist Mike Mirza 247 0.7
Total valid votes 33,155 100.00
Source:Canadian Press.[20]
Ontario general election, 1981
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Brian Charlton 11,008 36.0
Progressive Conservative Duncan Beattie 10,811 35.4
Liberal Vince Agro 8,738 28.6
Total valid votes 30,557 100.00
Source:Windsor Star.[21]
Ontario general election, 1985
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Brian Charlton 13,871 44.3
Progressive Conservative Steve Oneschuk 9,729 31.0
Liberal Dominic Agostino 24.7 38.08
Total valid votes 31,345 100.00
Source:Ottawa Citizen.[22]
Ontario general election, 1987
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Brian Charlton 14,743 42.82
Liberal Jane Milanetti 13,111 38.08
Progressive Conservative John Smith 6,580 19.11
Total valid votes 34,434 100.00
Source: Toronto Star.[23]
Ontario general election, 1990
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic Brian Charlton 22,488 59.76 +16.95
Progressive Conservative Grant Darby 7,709 20.49 +1.38
Liberal Al Bailey 7,432 19.75 -18.33
Total valid votes 37,629 100.00
Source: Toronto Star.[24]
Ontario general election, 1995
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Trevor Pettit 13,852 36.60 +16.14
Liberal Marie Bountrogianni 12,824 33.88 +14.16
New Democratic Brian Charlton 9,837 25.99 -33.81
Family Coalition Michael O'Grady 1,329 3.51
Total valid votes 37,822 100.00
Source: Elections Ontario.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Board of Directors". Green Venture. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Canadian Press (1963-09-26). "78 in Tory Blue Wave -- 23 Is All Grits Saved". The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario). p. 25. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Tories scrub better-wages bill for domestics". The Globe and Mail. 12 October 1979. p. 5. 
  4. ^ Stead, Sylvia (14 November 1980). "Bill on equal pay proposed by NDP blocked by Tories". The Globe and Mail. p. 5. 
  5. ^ Platiel, Rudy (21 March 1981). "Final verdict awaited in Parry Sound". The Globe and Mail. p. 5. 
  6. ^ "Cabinet order means Ontario Energy Corp. can skirt pollution law". The Globe and Mail. 21 January 1982. p. 4. 
  7. ^ Keating, Michael (8 June 1983). "How safe water quality fight faces complex labyrinth". The Globe and Mail. p. 4. 
  8. ^ Rickwood, Peter (7 July 1985). "Liberal caucus split over abandoning Darlington A-plant". Toronto Star. p. A9. 
  9. ^ Brennan, Richard (2 October 1990). "The new era has started: A cabinet of just regular folks". The Windsor Star. p. A1. 
  10. ^ "Firing may not change NDP plans, insurer says". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. 18 March 1991. p. A4. 
  11. ^ Hall, Chris (18 March 1991). "Rae fires Kormos". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A1. 
  12. ^ "A fourth local support? Wobbly cabinet". The Hamilton Spectator. 17 February 1992. p. A6. 
  13. ^ Casella, Emilia (24 September 1992). "Bell Cairn job 1 for Christopherson". The Hamilton Spectator. p. B1. 
  14. ^ Brennan, Richard (3 February 1993). "Cooke glad to shed old job: He gets new super education ministry". The Windsor Star. p. A1. 
  15. ^ "Bill 164 critics see big premium hike". Canadian Underwriter. September 1993. p. 6. 
  16. ^ "Ontario pulls minority hiring job ad: Civil service recruiting policy draws fire". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. 16 November 1993. p. A3. 
  17. ^ "Brian Charlton Pause to consider". The Spectator. 23 February 1995. p. A8. 
  18. ^ a b "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate (1995)". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. 
  19. ^ Poling, Jim (2 August 1996). "Charlton walks halls of Queen's Park again". The Spectator. p. A6. 
  20. ^ Canadian Press (1977-06-10). "Results across Ontario show few changes". The Toronto Daily Star (Toronto). p. A10. 
  21. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "It was a ho-hum turnout". The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario). p. 21. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  22. ^ Canadian Press (1985-05-03). "The night the Tories tumbled; riding by riding results". Ottawa Citizen (Toronto). p. 43. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  23. ^ "Winners Across Ontario". The Toronto Daily Star (Toronto). 1987-09-11. p. A13. 
  24. ^ "Results from across the province". The Toronto Daily Star (Toronto). 1990-09-07. p. A11. 

External links

  • Ontario Legislative Assembly Parliamentarian History

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