Michael Prue


Michael Prue
Michael D. Prue
MPP for Beaches—East York
Incumbent
Assumed office
September 20, 2001
Preceded by Frances Lankin
Toronto city councillor for Ward 32 Beaches-East York
In office
1998–2001
Preceded by New ward
Succeeded by Michael Tziretas
Mayor of East York
In office
1993–1997
Preceded by David Johnson
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born July 14, 1948 (1948-07-14) (age 63)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Shirley Prue
Residence Toronto
Occupation Civil servant

Michael D. Prue (born July 14, 1948) is a Canadian politician, who represents the riding of Beaches—East York in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He is the New Democratic Party (NDP) critic for Finance, Public Infrastructure Renewal, Community and Social Services and the Management Board of Cabinet, and for issues related to Toronto. He was a candidate in the 2009 Ontario NDP leadership election, finishing in fourth place and dropping off after the first ballot.

Contents

Education and early political career

Prue grew up in Toronto's poor Regent Park neighbourhood.[1] He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Arts degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. After graduation, he worked as counsel for the Minister of Employment and Immigration.

During his time as a federal government employee, Prue was an activist in the Canada Employment & Immigration Union, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

In the 1980 federal election, Prue ran as a federal NDP candidate in Scarborough Centre and received 9237 votes for a third-place finish. He ran in the same riding in the 1984 election, again placing third.

Prue became a councillor in East York in 1988. In 1993 he was appointed mayor of the borough. The previous mayor David Johnson resigned when he won a provincial by-election. Rather than pay for the expense of a mayoral campaign, the East York council decided to choose a candidate from amongst themselves. Prue won the position after five ballots.[2] The next year, he was elected Mayor in the 1994 municipal election and remained in the position until 1997, when East York and the other component municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto were merged into a single municipality (called the "megacity") by the Ontario government. As mayor, Prue was widely respected for bringing in five consecutive budgets with no tax increases, cutting East York's debt by $7.8 million, and ushering in new industry, commercial growth, and jobs to the community.[citation needed]

Before the megacity election, Prue successfully lobbied the provincial government to allot a third council seat for East York to improve its representation on Toronto City Council, and then was elected to that council. He was named "Best Local Politician" by the North Toronto Post in 1999.

Election to the Ontario legislature

On September 20, 2001 Prue won a by-election to replace retiring NDP MPP Frances Lankin in the Ontario legislature. There was some controversy during the by-election. Liberal candidate Bob Hunter accused the NDP of smearing his reputation. He accused Prue of calling him a pedophile based on a book he wrote in 1988. Pages of the book, which portrayed sexual encounters with young prostitutes, were faxed to journalists during the campaign. Hunter launched a libel lawsuit against Prue and NDP leader Howard Hampton but dropped the idea after the election.[3][4] Prue won the by-election with 50% of the vote while Hunter received 36%.

He was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 with large pluralities.

In 2002 Prue undertook a week-long "welfare diet", trying to live on $12.05 for an entire week to draw attention to the condition of Ontario's poorest residents under the Mike Harris government.[5] In 2004 during a debate over expenses charged by school trustees, Prue said that city councillors could do much of the work of trustees. He appeared to support combining the two roles.[6] In 2007 he supported a push for more accountability for executive compensation packages. In May, 2007, he tabled a private member's bill called the Conrad Black Executive Compensation Abuse Act which sought to have pay packages put to binding shareholder votes.[7]

He has also championed affordable housing in Toronto,[8] and measures to improve the lives of those with developmental disabilities.[citation needed]

NDP leadership convention

On July 18, 2008, Prue announced his intention to seek the leadership of the Ontario NDP at its 2009 leadership convention.[1] At a press conference to announce his bid to replace Howard Hampton as leader of the Ontario NDP party, Prue made remarks on public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario. "The NDP policy is there, it says that we support the dual system," he said. "It is time though, I think, that we take a look at that, but we need to leave that to [the] convention. It cannot be my position or an individual's position... rather it must be a party position and we must have an open and frank debate to get to that point." He insisted he wasn't trying to reopen the debate about religion and schools.[9]

Prue received 11.5% of the votes (weighted) on the first ballot, finishing in fourth place. According to the rules of the contest, as the last place finisher he was dropped off the next ballot. Prue gave his personal endorsement to Gilles Bisson who finished in third place on the first ballot with 23.7% of the weighted vote. After Bisson was eliminated on the next ballot, Prue endorsed Andrea Horwath, who won the leadership on the third ballot with 60.4% over rival Peter Tabuns.

Prue reported income of $79,411.74 for his leadership bid, the lowest of the four contestants. His expenses were the second highest at $222,320.94. His reported deficit was $142,909.20, the highest of the four contestants.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b Keith Leslie. Former East York mayor Michael Prue launches bid to be Ontario NDP leader. The Globe and Mail, July 18, 2008.
  2. ^ John Duncanson. East York appoints a new mayor. Toronto Star. April 8, 1993. pg A5.
  3. ^ Prue off to Queen's Park as NDP wins by-election. Teresa Boyle, Caroline Mallan. Toronto Star. September 21, 2001. pp. F1, F4.
  4. ^ Liberal candidate suing NDP in melee over book: Greenpeace co-founder's 'satire' depicted sex with teenage girls. Robert Benzie. National Post. September 19, 2001. pg. A15
  5. ^ New Democrats mock Eves's 'Gucci shoes': NDP MPP Prue boasts of his week on welfare diet. Robert Benzie. Toronto Star. September 24, 2002. pg A8
  6. ^ Toronto trustees roll back expenses, Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, November 19, 2004. pg A12.
  7. ^ 'Say on pay' fight heads north. Janet McFarland. The Globe and Mail. June 11, 2007. pg. B3.
  8. ^ NDP supported non-profit housing. Michael Prue. Letter to the Editor. Toronto Star. August 2, 2002. pg. A23
  9. ^ Prue opens NDP leadership bid with school funding controversy. CBC.ca. July 18, 2008. [1]
  10. ^ 2009 Leadership Contest NDP. Elections Ontario. March 7, 2009

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