Al Leach

Allan F. Leach (born December 9, 1935) is a former transportation executive and politician in Ontario, Canada. In the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s he was the head of GO Transit and later the Toronto Transit Commission. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1995 to 1999, and was a prominent cabinet minister in the government of Mike Harris.

Al Leach
Ontario MPP
In office
1995–1999
Preceded byTim Murphy
Succeeded byRiding abolished
ConstituencySt. George—St. David
Personal details
Born (1935-12-09) December 9, 1935
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
CitizenshipCanadian / American
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Spouse(s)Barbara Finegan
ResidenceRye, New York
OccupationCivil Servant

Background

Before entering politics, Leach spent 23 years in various managerial positions with the Ministry of Transportation of the Government of Ontario. He later moved to GO Transit, and was GO's Managing Director from 1977 to 1987. He was hired as Chief General Manager of the Toronto Transit Commission in 1987, and served in that position until resigning in early 1995 to seek political office. Leach was named North American Transit Manager of the year in 1994 by the American Transit Association.

Civic offices
Preceded by
Alf Savage
Chief General Manager of the TTC
19871995
Succeeded by
David L. Gunn

Politics

Leach was elected to the provincial legislature in the 1995 Ontario election, narrowly defeating Liberal incumbent Tim Murphy and New Democrat Brent Hawkes in the downtown Toronto riding of St. George—St. David.[1] His victory was generally considered an upset. In 1995, the Progressive Conservative Party's electoral strength was concentrated in rural areas and the commuter regions around Toronto—Leach's victory in an urbane, downtown riding was atypical of his party's showing elsewhere. Many consider Leach's victory to have been the result of a vote split between the Liberal and NDP candidates: he received less than 34% of the riding's vote, out polling Murphy by only 337 votes and Hawkes by 963.

Leach was appointed as the Harris government's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on June 26, 1995, and held this position until the 1999 provincial election.[2] In this capacity, Leach presided over a number of controversial issues, including amalgamating the City of Toronto with five of its suburbs, ending rent control, and cutting provincial grants to the metropolitan region. He also presided over market value reassessment for private property in downtown Toronto.

Former Mayor of Toronto John Sewell emerged as a leader of the anti-amalgamation forces in Toronto, and threatened to challenge Leach as an independent candidate in the 1999 election. Many believed Sewell's participation would help Leach be re-elected by splitting the vote. However, Leach had always stated he intended to retire from politics at age 65 after a single term.

Cabinet posts

Ontario Provincial Government of Mike Harris
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Ed Philip
[note 1]
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
1995–1999
Steve Gilchrist

After politics

In 2000 Leach joined the firm of SNC-Lavalin, Canada's largest engineering and construction company and was a member of the Board of Directors. He also represented SNC-Lavalin on the Hwy 407 Board of Directors.[3]

After the 1999 election, the Harris government appointed Leach to the Toronto Police Services Board, and as vice-chair of the GO Transit Board. In December 2003, he resigned from the TPSB.[4] He was not reappointed to the Go Transit Board by the new Liberal Party government.[5]

Leach has also served as a Director of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the American Public Transit Association, the Toronto Police Crime Stoppers, the United Way Campaign and as a member of the St. Michael's Hospital Governor's Council.

Personal life

In February 2013, Leach moved from Toronto to Rye, New York. He married Barbara Finegan on May 17, 2013. Leach has two children and two granddaughters. Finegan has three sons, one daughter and seven grandchildren. Leach applied for and received a green card and is now a permanent resident of the United States.

References

Notes

  1. Prior to 1995, the ministry was split between Ed Philip (Municipal Affairs) and Richard Allen (Housing)

Citations

  1. "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  2. "Mike Harris' cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. June 27, 1995. p. A7.
  3. Blackwell, Tom (September 10, 1999). "Former Ontario minister joins board of toll highway co-owner: Liberals cry conflict as Leach was in cabinet that approved deal". National Post. p. A7.
  4. Lewington, Jennifer (December 24, 2003). "Leach quits police board". The Globe and Mail. p. A12.
  5. McGran, Kevin (April 9, 2004). "Miller to join GO panel". Toronto Star. p. B02.
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