Andy Mitchell (politician)

Andrew Mitchell, PC (born April 21, 1953) is a Canadian politician. He served in the House of Commons of Canada from 1993 to 2006, representing Parry Sound—Muskoka as a member of the Liberal Party. He was a minister in the government of Jean Chrétien and a cabinet minister in the government of Paul Martin.

Andrew Mitchell

Member of the House of Commons of Canada for Parry Sound—Muskoka
In office
October 25, 1993  January 23, 2006
Preceded byStan Darling
Succeeded byTony Clement
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
In office
July 20, 2004  February 5, 2006
Preceded byBob Speller
Succeeded byChuck Strahl
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
In office
December 12, 2003  July 20, 2004
Preceded byBob Nault
Succeeded byAndy Scott
Secretary of State for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Styled as Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario in 2005–06.
In office
June 28, 2005  February 5, 2006
Preceded byJoe Comuzzi
Succeeded byTony Clement
In office
August 3, 1999  December 11, 2003
Preceded byposition created
Succeeded byJoe Comuzzi
Secretary of State for Rural Development
In office
August 3, 1999  December 11, 2003
Secretary of State for Parks
In office
June 11, 1997  August 2, 1999
Deputy Reeve of Selwyn and member of the Peterborough County Council
In office
Preceded byMary Smith
Succeeded bySherry Sennis
Personal details
Born (1953-04-21) April 21, 1953
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Professionbanker, administrator

Early life and career

Mitchell was born in Montreal, Quebec, and has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Carleton University (1972). Before running for public office, he worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia in Ottawa, Toronto, Cornwall, Elliot Lake, and Gravenhurst.[1] He was also active with several local Chamber of Commerce organizations. Mitchell joined the Liberal Party in 1991.[2]


Government backbencher

Mitchell was first elected in the 1993 federal election, winning a seat that had been held by the Progressive Conservatives since 1957. At the time, he did not have a strong public profile outside of his riding.[3] The Liberals won a majority government, and Mitchell entered parliament as a backbench supporter of Jean Chrétien's government.

He chaired a parliamentary task force that examined banking and small business policy in 1994.[4] Its recommendations included a code of conduct for banks regarding small business loans, an ombudsman to oversee this code of conduct, and a provision allowing entrepreneurs to borrow up to twenty per cent from their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). The proposed code of conduct was intended to facilitate more bank loans to small businesses.[5]

In 1996, Mitchell was appointed to another task force that examined the role of the federal government in relation to Canada's disability community.[6] It recommended that the government cancel its plans to wind down assistance programs for disabled people and instead introduce new programs and tax credits. Mitchell argued this investment was necessary to ensure disabled Canadians could enjoy the full rights of citizenship.[7]

In the same period, he chaired a standing committee on natural resources with a focus on economic development in rural Canada.[8] He supported construction of Fenbrook Institution, a medium security prison in Gravenhurst, as a benefit to the local economy.[9]


Secretary of State for Parks

Mitchell was re-elected in the 1997 federal election against a strong challenge from former general Lewis MacKenzie, who was running for the Progressive Conservative Party. The Liberals were re-elected with a second majority government nationally, and Mitchell was appointed as secretary of state for parks in Chrétien's government. This was a ministerial position but not a full cabinet portfolio.[10]

Shortly after his appointment, Mitchell announced that Canada's national parks would not be privatized or commercialized apart from a small number of projects that had already been approved in the previous parliament.[11] He following year, he introduced legislation to create a permanent agency for Parks Canada. The oversight of national parks had previously shifted among various ministries, and Mitchell argued that the new agency would allow for more and better-managed parks.[12]

In April 1998, Mitchell said the Canadian government would block a salvage company's plans to dynamite the wreckage of the Empress of Ireland ocean liner to recover an estimated one million dollars' worth of nickel ingots. Over one thousand people were killed when ship sank in the Saint Lawrence River in 1914, and Mitchell argued the detonation would violate Canada's laws against interference with human remains. Many of the deceased were members of the Salvation Army, which strongly opposed the detonation plans.[13]

Mitchell joined with environmental groups in late 1998 to oppose a bid by the government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit, and the Toronto-based company Falconbridge Ltd. to change a proposed boundary of the Tuktut Nogait National Park and permit nickel mining in the disputed area. Mitchell argued that the change would endanger the local caribou population and noted that eighty per cent of the nickel find was already located outside of the park's boundaries. A committee of the Senate of Canada decided against moving the boundary in December 1998.[14] The following year, Mitchell introduced legislation to restrict future development in all national parks and announced the creation of an aboriginal affairs secretariat to assist Parks Canada in matters relating to First Nations communities.[15]

Mitchell supported a private member's bill introduced by Liberal backbencher Albina Guarnieri in 1998 to reduce parole opportunities for criminals convicted of multiple murders.[16]

Secretary of State for Rural Development

In October 1999, Mitchell was reassigned as secretary of state for rural development and secretary of state for the federal economic development initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor). In early 2000, he hosted Canada's first national rural conference in Magog, Quebec.[17] He also introduced thirty-seven million dollars for small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario and new money for advanced grain identification technology in Manitoba.[18]

Re-elected in the 2000 federal election, Mitchell helped formulate a federal loan to prevent bankruptcy at Algoma Steel in 2001.[19] He later announced the creation of a sixteen-member advisory committee on rural issues at the second national rural conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.[20]

In May 2002, Mitchell led a trade delegation to Atlanta, Georgia, to promote trade with Northern Ontario.[21] Later in the same year, he promoted increased high-speed internet service for rural Canada and announced a fifteen million dollar plan to support co-operatives.[22] In August 2003, he joined with Chrétien and Industry Minister Allan Rock to unveil Canada's Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, valued at one billion dollars.[23]

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mitchell supported Paul Martin's bid to succeed Jean Chrétien as Liberal Party leader in 2003.[24] When Martin replaced Chrétien as prime minister, he promoted Mitchell to a full cabinet position as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.[25] Mitchell introduced new self-government legislation for Canadian indigenous communities in January 2004 and said that he would not re-introduce his predecessor's First Nations Governance Act, which had met with significant opposition from indigenous leaders.[26]

Mitchell attended the Martin government's one-day summit with leaders of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and the Native Women's Association of Canada in April 2004.[27] He indicated that he was willing to fund a housing secretariat that would be operated by the AFN.[28]

In early 2004, Mitchell recognized embattled grand chief James Gabriel and the elected band council as the legitimate authority in Kanesatake, Quebec.[29] The Kanesatake community was divided into rival factions, and Gabriel was forced to leave the community for his safety after his house was burned down.

Minister of Agriculture

Mitchell was re-elected by a narrower margin in the 2004 federal election, as the Liberals were reduced to a minority government nationally. Following the election, he was reassigned as the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food. He was also appointed as minister of state for the federal economic development initiative for Northern Ontario in June 2005, after Joe Comuzzi's resignation.[30]

When Mitchell became agriculture minister, the American border was closed to Canadian cattle due to a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) found in a single Canadian cow in 2003. Mitchell's initial efforts to lift the ban were unsuccessful, and he announced $488 million to aid the ailing sector in September 2004.[31] When other instances of BSE were discovered in early 2005, Mitchell said that a "low level and a declining level" of the disease in older cattle was not surprising, that changes introduced in 1997 would ensure the safety of Canadian beef, and that an organized cull of older animals would be too extreme a reaction.[32]

Mitchell announced one billion dollars in aid farm aid in March 2005, primarily in response to the border closure but also to grain harvests affected by frost, drought in the Prairies, and trade difficulties associated with the higher Canadian dollar relative to the American dollar.[33] The border eventually reopened in July 2005.[34] Mitchell subsequently established a beef and cattle advisory group to assist the government on export policy.[35]

Mitchell withdrew the government's support for a conference promoting agricultural exports to Iran in April 2005, following revelations that Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi had died from torture in an Iranian prison two years earlier.[36]

In early 2005, the National Farmers Union (NFU) charged that proposed federal legislation would make it difficult for independent farmers to retain seeds from one year to the next and that the government was abandoning its commitment to public plant breeding by closing four experimental research farms. The NFU further argued that these changes would benefit large companies like Monsanto over Canadian farmers. A representative for Mitchell responded that the government would protect the right of farmers to save their seeds.[37] In response to further criticism, Mitchell announced a moratorium on the farm closures in June 2005.[38]

Mitchell spent part of the 2006 federal election participating in previously scheduled World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong on agricultural subsidies. After extended negotiations, Mitchell and International Trade Minister Jim Peterson announced their support for a tentative deal that would end farm export subsidies while allowing the Canadian Wheat Board's operations to continue.[39]

Mitchell lost to high-profile Conservative candidate Tony Clement by only twenty-eight votes in the 2006 election, as the Conservatives won a minority government nationally.

After career

Mitchell served as chief of staff for official opposition leader Bill Graham in 2006.[40] He later became executive director and chair of the Greater Peterborough Economic Development Corporation (GPAEDC), led a non-profit organization called the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster, and became an adjunct professor at Trent University.[41]

Mitchell was elected as deputy reeve of Selwyn in the 2010 municipal elections.[42] By virtue of holding this position, he also served on the Peterborough County Council.[43] Mitchell also served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Hon. Jeff Leal, MPP and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.[44] He served until 2014.

Mitchell also served as campaign manager to the Maryam Monsef campaign in 2015 federal election in which Monsef won. He also worked as a professor at Trent University in the Political Studies department following his leaving federal politics.

On October 22, 2018 he won election to become mayor of Selwyn, Ontario

Electoral record

2006 Canadian federal election: Parry Sound—Muskoka
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
ConservativeTony Clement18,51340.10+3.75$ 78,455.14
LiberalAndy Mitchell18,48540.04−3.8276,877.80
New DemocraticJo-Anne Boulding5,47211.85+0.0817,712.85
GreenGlen Hodgson3,7018.02  4,700.60
Total valid votes 46,171 100.0  +5.09$ 80,177.85
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 147 0.32 +0.03
Turnout 46,318 67.54 +3.51
Electors on the lists 68,577 -0.35
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +3.78
"Official Voting Results — Thirty-Ninth General Election 2006 (Table 11)". Elections Canada.
"Official Voting Results — Thirty-Ninth General Election 2006 (Table 12)".
"Candidate's Electoral Campaign Return – Candidates' Summary (As reviewed by Election Canada)".
2004 Canadian federal election: Parry Sound—Muskoka
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalAndy Mitchell19,27143.86−3.73$73,114
ConservativeKeith Montgomery15,97036.35−7.57$64,246
New DemocraticJo-Anne Boulding5,17111.77+7.31$10,914
GreenGlen Hodgson3,5248.02+3.99$4,271
Total valid votes 43,936 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 126 0.29 −0.07
Turnout 44,062 64.03 +5.33
Electors on the lists 68,819
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution. Conservative Party percentages are contrasted with the combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative percentages from 2000.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
2000 Canadian federal election: Parry Sound—Muskoka
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalAndy Mitchell17,91147.52+5.92$50,894
AllianceGeorge Stripe9,56925.39−0.17$27,742
     Progressive Conservative Keith Montgomery 7,055 18.72 −8.07 $32,500
New DemocraticJoanne Bury1,6654.42+0.44$4,021
GreenRichard Thomas1,4953.97+2.77$1,893
Total valid votes 37,695 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 134 0.35 +0.04
Turnout 37,829 58.70 −10.41
Electors on the lists 64,448
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
1997 Canadian federal election: Parry Sound—Muskoka
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalAndy Mitchell17,75241.60−2.39$50,060
     Progressive Conservative Lewis MacKenzie 11,435 26.79 +6.13 $57,680
ReformPeter Spadzinski10,90925.56−2.71$37,010
New DemocraticCarl Wirth1,7003.98−0.77$9,543
GreenGlen Hodgson5131.20$1,385
Canadian ActionJackie Raney2360.55$1,277
Natural LawRick Alexander1330.31$0
Total valid votes 42,678 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 135 0.32 −0.15
Turnout 42,813 69.11 +0.01
Electors on the lists 61,951
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
1993 Canadian federal election: Parry Sound—Muskoka
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalAndy Mitchell20,42744.22+13.13$35,935
  Reform Jim Newman 13,022 28.19 $33,012
  Progressive Conservative Terry Clarke 9,529 20.63 −22.62 $47,594
  New Democratic Party Shirley Davy 2,164 4.68 −20.98 $22,828
  National John Marshall 581 1.26 $529
  Natural Law Russell Guest 263 0.57 $0
  Independent John Farr 181 0.39 $0
  Abolitionist Jim Journeau 26 0.06 $0
Total valid votes 46,193 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 215 0.46 0.00
Turnout 46,408 69.11 −0.63
Electors on the lists 67,150
Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.
2010 Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield municipal election, Deputy Reeve of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield
Candidate Total votes % of total votes Notes
Andy Mitchell 4,207 57.92
Greg Braund 3,057 42.08
Total valid votes 7,264 100

Source: Official results, Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield.


  1. Neville Nankivell, "Reform phenomenon heads north in Ontario," Financial Post, 12 October 1993, p. 15; Sue Bailey, "New Indian Affairs minister an unknown entity as native file gets focus," Canadian Press, 17 December 2003, 17:58.
  2. "The Federal Election: Riding Profiles: 162 Parry Sound–Muskoka". Archived from the original on November 16, 2004. Retrieved 2017-07-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed 16 January 2011.
  3. "Popular ex-soldier wants to be an MP," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 22 January 1997, A8.
  4. Steve Cannon, "Small business lost in red tape, Liberal says," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 18 June 1994, B6.
  5. "Liberals back RRSP use for small business," Hamilton Spectator, 11 August 1994, D3; "Use of RRSPs to aid business urged," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 11 August 1994, D5.
  6. "Ministers Young, Martin And Stewart Announce Task Force On Disability Issues," Canada NewsWire, 5 June 1996, 19:04.
  7. Scott Feschuk, "Ottawa should boost support for disabled, task force says," Globe and Mail, 29 October 1996, A6.
  8. Patricia Mills, "Forestry a thriving industry in Parry Sound-Muskoka," Northern Ontario Business, 1 September 1996, p. 26.
  9. Tracey Tyler, "New medium-security prison confirmed for Muskoka area," Toronto Star, 16 February 1994, A12.
  10. Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation: Secretaries of State, Parliament of Canada, accessed 13 January 2011.
  11. "Ottawa won't turn parks commercial," Winnipeg Free Press, 16 July 1997, A9; Kathryn May, "We won't 'Disneyize' parks, Ottawa vows," Hamilton Spectator, 16 July 1997, D14.
  12. Anne McIlroy, "Parks to get legal guardian in new Canadian agency," Globe and Mail, 6 February 1998, A4; "New Parks Canada agency," Toronto Star, 7 February 1998, A12.
  13. "Canadian government will block plan to blow up sunken ocean liner," Associated Press Newswires, 23 April 1998, 19:03.
  14. Heather Scoffield, "Senate committee rejects plea for adjusting border on proposed park," Globe and Mail, 2 December 1998, B7.
  15. "Ottawa introduces bill to streamline national parks law," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 17 March 1999, D12; "Parks Canada Takes Steps to Strengthen Ties With Aboriginal Peoples," Canada NewsWire, 20 April 1999, 10:23.
  16. Christine Cox, "No 'freebies' for multiple murders," Hamilton Spectator, 4 December 1998, C3.
  17. "MEDIA NOTICE - FIRST-EVER NATIONAL RURAL CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN THE EASTERN TOWNSHIPS," Canada NewsWire, 20 March 2000, 15:05; "Federal Secretary of State for Rural Development announces two initiatives for rural Canada," Canada NewsWire, 28 April 2000, 16:03; "Secretary of State for Rural Development releases first annual progress report on rural Canada," Canada NewsWire, 4 May 2000, 14:25.
  18. Bill Redekop, "Research money is definitely going with the grain," Winnipeg Free Press, 8 April 2000, B14; "Ottawa funds plan to separate wheat from chaff," Hamilton Spectator, 8 April 2000, B03; "Eight fires set at Hamilton schools since February," Canadian Press, 19 July 2000, 23:00.
  19. Heather Scoffield, "Ottawa, Algoma reach agreement," Globe and Mail, 18 December 2001, B8; "$50 million lifeline for Algoma Steel," Toronto Star, 23 December 2001, A02.
  20. "Sixteen people named to federal advisory committee on rural issues," Canadian Press, 6 April 2002, 20:46.
  21. "Expanding trade with the southeastern U-S," Broadcast News, 5 May 2002, 14:35.
  22. "Canadian Govt Launches Co-Operative Initiative," Resource News International, 2 July 2002, 10:29; "Ottawa offers $105M subsidy for hinterland high-speed Internet access," Canadian Press, 5 September 2002, 19:46.
  23. "Government of Canada Announces New $1 Billion Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund," Canada NewsWire, 20 August 2003.
  24. Campbell Clark and Daniel Leblanc, "Cabinet out of woodwork to back Martin for leadership," Globe and Mail, 15 March 2003, A5.
  25. Jane Taber, "Martin keeps earliest backer out of cabinet," Globe and Mail, 12 December 2003, A3. Mitchell also served on an expenditure review committee of cabinet. See "Martin puts Chrétien projects on ice," Hamilton Spectator, 17 December 2003, A08.
  26. "Minister Announces Collaborative Legislative Strategy for Aboriginal Affairs" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 21 January 2004, 16:34. See also Andy Mitchell, "Paul Martin's promise to natives," National Post, 6 March 2004, A19.
  27. "MEDIA ADVISORY - Government of Canada," Canada NewsWire, 16 April 2004, 08:46.
  28. Mary Gordon, "Summit called first step to dismantling Indian Act," Toronto Star, 20 April 2004, A06.
  29. "Statement from the Federal and Provincial Ministers Responsible for Native Affairs and Public Safety," Canadian NewsWire, 19 January 2004, 16:33.
  30. Tim Naumetz, "For better or worse: House of Commons approves same-sex marriage 158-133," National Post, 29 June 2005, A1.
  31. "Agriculture Minister to lobby U.S. on BSE," Globe and Mail, 28 August 2004, A28; Leah Janzen, "$488M to aid cattle industry," Winnipeg Free Press, 10 September 2004, A3; James Stevenson, "Mad cow aid increased," Toronto Star, 11 September 2004, A06.
  32. Dawn Walton, "U.S. lobby assails Canadian beef," Globe and Mail, 4 January 2005, A8; Terry Pedwell, "Industry, government reject mass cull of cows as too extreme," Canadian Press, 14 January 2005, 01:07.
  33. Brian Laghi and Steven Chase, "More federal cash on way for farmers," Globe and Mail, 29 March 2005, A1.
  34. Simon Doyle, "U.S. lifts ban on Canada's cattle: Appeals court rejects mad cow concerns," Montreal Gazette, 15 July 2005, A1.
  35. "Ottawa sets up advisory group on expanding beef and cattle trade," Canadian Press, 12 September 2005, 17:49.
  36. Graham Fraser, "Ottawa pulls support for Iran forum," Toronto Star, 7 April 2005, A06.
  37. "Government giving away plant breeding: farmers," Guelph Mercury, 8 March 2005, A6.
  38. "Ottawa suspends decision to close four experimental research farms," Canadian Press, 23 June 2005, 21:55.
  39. "Trade talks deadlocked," Guelph Mercury, 15 December 2005, A9; Peter Morton, "Canadians welcome tentative WTO pact," National Post, 19 December 2005, FP1; Elaine Kurtenbach, "Breakthrough deal for shaky WTO," Montreal Gazette, 19 December 2005, A3.
  40. Joan Bryden, "Liberal caucus retreat plagued by controversy, disarray," Canadian Press, 24 August 2006, 19:35.
  41. Kathryne Miller, "New man at the helm of GPA EDC Board," Peterborough This Week, 31 January 2008, p. 1; "Speaker of the House of Commons Shares Experiences with Trent Community," M2 Presswire, 12 November 2009; "Letter of Intent Marks Milestone towards Initiative for Small Ruminant Research," M2 Presswire, 16 November 2009.
  42. County Council Archived 2011-05-15 at the Wayback Machine, County of Peterborough, accessed 16 January 2011.
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