Art Eggleton

Arthur C. "Art" Eggleton, PC (born September 29, 1943) is a retired Canadian Senator representing Ontario. He was the longest serving Mayor of Toronto, leading the city from 1980 to 1991. Eggleton has held several federal government posts, including President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Infrastructure from 1993–1996, Minister for International Trade from 1996–1997, and Minister of National Defense from 1997 until 2002.

Arthur C. Eggleton

Senator for Ontario (Toronto)
In office
March 24, 2005  September 29, 2018
Nominated byPaul Martin
Appointed byAdrienne Clarkson
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for York Centre
In office
October 25, 1993  June 28, 2004
Preceded byBob Kaplan
Succeeded byKen Dryden
59th Mayor of Toronto
In office
December 1, 1980  November 30, 1991
Preceded byJohn Sewell
Succeeded byJune Rowlands
Personal details
Born (1943-09-29) September 29, 1943
Toronto, Ontario
Political partyIndependent Liberal
Other political
Liberal (until 2014)
Spouse(s)Camille Bacchus
ChildrenStephanie Vass
CabinetMinister of National Defence (1997–2002)
Minister for International Trade (1996–1997)
Minister responsible for Infrastructure (1993–1996)
President of the Treasury Board (1993–1996)

City council

Eggleton, an accountant by profession, was first elected to Toronto City Council in the 1969 municipal election as the junior alderman for Ward 4. He served as budget chief in the council elected in 1973 under David Crombie. He was the Liberal Party of Canada's candidate in the October 16, 1978 federal by-election held in Toronto's west-end Parkdale electoral district[1] in which he was defeated by Progressive Conservative candidate Yuri Shymko.[1] He ran for reelection to Toronto City Council in Ward 4.[2] finishing first amongst a field of 10 candidates to become Ward 4's senior alderman on council (at the time, two alderman were elected from each ward).[2]

As Mayor of Toronto

Eggleton served the city of Toronto as a member of Toronto City Council and the Metropolitan Toronto Council for 22 years. He was Mayor of Toronto from 1980 until 1991, when he retired from municipal politics as the longest-serving mayor in Toronto history.[3]

In 1980, he was elected Mayor of Toronto after defeating incumbent John Sewell. During Eggleton's time as Mayor, the City moved forward on implementing its new official plan which resulted in several new significant buildings in the downtown west, or railway lands area – the Convention Centre, Skydome, and the CBC Broadcast Centre, to name a few. The City administration under his leadership also produced a record level of social housing projects for low income people; 50 acres (20 ha) of new parks; innovative new responses to the problems of the homeless and emotionally troubled with projects like Street City, the Singles Housing Opportunities Program, and the Gernsteins Centre.

Art Eggleton established the Mayor's Committee on Community and Race Relations to help bring about the successful integration of people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. As mayor he supported human rights including gay rights, but did not attend the city's annual Gay Pride Parade as mayor. At the time, he did not see the parade as the usual kind of event appropriate for a mayor's official declaration.[4] Eggleton has attended the parade several times as a member of federal government. In 2011, Eggleton's expressed support for the Pride Parade, urging then Mayor Rob Ford to attend[5]

Eggleton was finally outvoted by his fellow council members in 1991, his last year in office. In 1985, he withstood a challenge from city councillor Anne Johnston, a fellow Liberal, who ran against Eggleton for the mayoralty in that year's civic election. In recognition of his service to the City, Mr. Eggleton received Toronto's highest honour, the Civic Award of Merit in 1992.

Member of Parliament

Eggleton ran in the 1993 election in the suburban Toronto riding of York Centre, again as a Liberal, and won election. He was appointed to the position of President of the Treasury Board and Minister for Infrastructure in the new cabinet.

From January 1996 to June 1997, he served as Minister for International Trade. Eggleton retained his seat in the 1997 election, and was appointed Minister of National Defence. In 1999, Eggleton supported Canada's involvement in NATO's campaign in Kosovo.

He was re-elected again in the 2000 election, and continued as Minister of Defence, focusing on sweeping changes to the National Defence Act which implemented changes to the military justice system, including the set up of several oversight entities including a Military Ombudsman and a Military Police Complaints Commission. He also improved compensation and benefits for Canadian Forces personnel and their families. In January 2002, Chrétien and Eggleton were accused of misleading Parliament. Both Chrétien and Eggleton when asked in Question Period if Canadian troops had handed over captured Taliban and al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan to the American forces amid concerns about the treatment of POWs at Guantanamo Bay, replied that was in Chrétien's words only a "hypothetical question" and that the Canadians had taken no POWs.[6] Critics of the government such as Joe Clark then proceeded to point out that in the previous week, the Toronto newspaper the Globe & Mail had run on its frontpage a photo of Canadian soldiers turning over POWs to American troops.[6] Eggleton maintained that he and the rest of the Cabinet had been kept unaware that the Canadian Forces were taking POWs in Afghanistan and turning them over to the Americans, claiming that he had only learned of the policy of handing over POWs several days after the photo had appeared in the Globe & Mail.[6]

Eggleton resigned from the cabinet in May 2002, amid allegations he hired a former girlfriend for a research contract. The ethics commissioner, Howard Wilson, concluded Eggleton breached conflict guidelines for cabinet ministers, and Eggleton voluntarily stepped down.[7] This happened during the growing leadership turmoil between Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who left the cabinet the following week in disputed circumstances.[8] Increased scrutiny on Chrétien's government and cabinet may have contributed to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien pressuring him to resign.[9][10]

Eggleton then became a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade. On May 13, 2004, Eggleton announced he would not be a candidate in the 2004 federal election, making way for the nomination of Ken Dryden as the Liberal candidate in York Centre.[11]

Senator for Ontario

He was appointed to the Senate by Paul Martin on March 24, 2005. He served as both Chair and Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology for 12 years in which his focus was on social justice and health care issues. He served on the Bureau of Liberal International, representing the Liberal Party of Canada, as a vice-president for two years and treasurer for one year. He was co-opted to the Bureau of Liberal International as a Vice President at the 185th Executive Committee in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2010.[12] Art Eggleton also served on the Senate Modernization Committee, and at different times on the National Finance, Transportation and Communications committees

On January 29, 2014, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau announced all Liberal Senators, including Eggleton, were removed from the Liberal caucus, and would continue sitting as Independents.[13] The Senators will refer to themselves as the Senate Liberal Caucus even though they are no longer members of the parliamentary Liberal caucus.[14]

Eggleton's recent focus has been Toronto's community housing.[15][16] On the Social Affairs Committee he has been instrumental in studies and reports on such matters as poverty, housing, and homelessness; early learning and child care; autism; the Health Accord; prescription pharmaceuticals; obesity; and dementia. In 2012, he founded the All-Party, Anti-Poverty Caucus.[17]

He also started and convened the Open Caucus a non-partisan discussion open to all Senators and MPs on major issues of the day bringing together expert panelists to dialogue with parliamentarians.

In 2015-16, in addition to his Senate work, he served as the volunteer chair of the Toronto Mayor's Task force on Toronto Community Housing which recommended substantive reforms for the largest social housing provider in Canada. Many of the recommendations are now in different stages of implementation.[18]

Eggleton retired from the Senate on September 29, 2018, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.[19]


  1. Claridge, Thomas (1978-10-16). "Eggleton beaten but unbowed as Shymko cites Polish papacy". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. 9.
  2. City Staff (1978-11-14). "Metro Elections, How You Voted, City of Toronto". The Toronto Star. Toronto. p. A12.
  4. Eggleton, Art. "Eggleton supported gay rights". The Toronto Star. TorStar. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  6. "Eggleton confirms JTF2 has taken prisoners in Afghanistan". CBC News. January 30, 2002. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  7. "Eggleton resigns amid allegations of conflict". CBC News. May 27, 2002. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  8. CBC News Indepth: Paul Martin. Retrieved 2017-12-21
  9. Martin, Lawrence Iron Man, Toronto: Viking 2003 page 361.
  10. "Jean Chrétien v Paul Martin: now it's really war". The Economist. 2002-06-06. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  11. "Eggleton will not seek re-election". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  12. "Senators – Detailed Information". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  14. "Trudeau's expulsion catches Liberal senators by surprise". Globe and Mail. January 29, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  15. "Art Eggleton picked to lead overhaul of Toronto community-housing body". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  16. Young, Leslie. "Ontario government, Senator calling for guaranteed annual income pilot project". Global News. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  17. "Senator Art Eggleton tries a new tack in his fight against poverty | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  18. Nickle, David. "Art Eggleton heads up Toronto Mayor John Tory's task force on community housing". Metroland Media Group. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
Parliament of Canada
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Doug Young Minister of National Defence
John McCallum
Roy MacLaren Minister for International Trade
Sergio Marchi
Jim Edwards President of the Treasury Board
Marcel Massé
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
position created Minister responsible for Infrastructure
Marcel Massé
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