Ralph Goodale

Ralph Edward Goodale PC (born October 5, 1949) is a Canadian politician and former Minister of Public Safety under Justin Trudeau. He was Canada's Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2006, and leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party from 1981 to 1988. He was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Regina-Wascana from 1993 to 2019 (the riding was known as simply Wascana from 1997 to 2015), having previously served as the member for Assiniboia from 1974 to 1979. He was named Opposition House Leader by interim Liberal leader Bill Graham in 2006, and continued to serve in this role under the leadership of Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff until September 2010 when he was promoted to Deputy Leader—a post he retained under Trudeau.

Ralph Goodale

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
In office
September 7, 2010  November 3, 2015[1]
LeaderMichael Ignatieff
Bob Rae (interim)
Justin Trudeau
Preceded byMichael Ignatieff
Succeeded byVacant
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
In office
November 4, 2015  November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded bySteven Blaney
Succeeded byBill Blair
Minister of Finance
In office
December 11, 2003  February 6, 2006
Prime MinisterPaul Martin
Preceded byJohn Manley
Succeeded byJim Flaherty
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
In office
May 26, 2002  December 11, 2003
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byDon Boudria
Succeeded byStephen Owen
Minister of Natural Resources
In office
June 11, 1997  January 14, 2002
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byAnne McLellan
Succeeded byHerb Dhaliwal
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
In office
November 4, 1993  June 10, 1997
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byCharles Mayer
Succeeded byLyle Vanclief
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Regina—Wascana
In office
October 19, 2015  October 21, 2019
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byMichael Kram
In office
October 25, 1993  June 2, 1997
Preceded byLarry Schneider
Succeeded byRiding dissolved
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Wascana
In office
June 2, 1997  October 19, 2015
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byRiding dissolved
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
In office
Preceded byAllen Engel
Succeeded byJack Wolfe
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Assiniboia
In office
July 8, 1974  May 22, 1979
Preceded byBill Knight
Succeeded byLeonard Gustafson
Personal details
Ralph Edward Goodale

(1949-10-05) October 5, 1949
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Pam Goodale
Alma materUniversity of Regina
University of Saskatchewan

Early life

Goodale was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and raised on a farm near Wilcox, Saskatchewan, the son of Winnifred Claire (Myers) and Thomas Henry Goodale.[2][3] He was a member of Scouts Canada and earned the rank of Queen's Scout.[4] He first attended the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus and then obtained a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he was awarded the Gold Medal for academic achievement.

Federal politics, 1974–1979

Active at politics from a young age, he was first elected to the Parliament of Canada in the 1974 election at the age of 24 from the seat of Assiniboia. He served as a government backbencher until the 1979 election, when he was defeated.

Provincial politics

In 1981, Goodale was named leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party.

He led that party to a very poor showing in the 1982 provincial election, in which the party received 4.51% of the popular vote and won no seats in the provincial legislature. However, Goodale was the only Liberal candidate to receive more than 1,000 votes.[5]

The party won 9.99% of the vote in the 1986 provincial election, but only Goodale was elected to the legislature. Goodale ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility in this election, arguing that both the Progressive Conservative and New Democrat (NDP) parties favoured excessive spending policies, typified by their proposals for a Keynesian-style stimulation of the provincial economy through subsidized home improvement and renovation schemes.

Return to federal politics

Defeated in 1988 election

Goodale resigned as leader to run for the federal Liberals in the 1988 election for the seat of Regina—Wascana, but he was narrowly defeated by former Regina mayor Larry Schneider, who later went on to serve briefly in Kim Campbell's cabinet. Beginning earlier that year and prior to his resignation, Goodale's executive assistant was Jason Kenney. Kenney would become a Conservative Party of Canada MP in a Calgary riding and later Premier of Alberta.

Goodale then spent five years in the private sector, working for companies such as the Pioneer Life Assurance Company, Pioneer Lifeco Inc., and Sovereign Life Insurance Co.; he has stated in interviews that he felt his political career had ended.

In government, 1993-2006

Goodale contested Regina-Wascana again in the 1993 federal election and was elected as part of the Liberal landslide that year. As a member of the new Chrétien cabinet, Goodale was named Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He has the prenominal "the Honourable" and the postnominal "PC" for life by virtue of being made a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on November 4, 1993.[6] He has been reelected for this riding, known as Wascana from 1997 to 2015, at every election since then.

In 1997, he became the Minister of Natural Resources. In May 2002, he was named Minister of Public Works and Government Services, a few weeks after the Auditor General Sheila Fraser issued a report accusing the department of inappropriate contracting practices.[7] This began the exposure of the Sponsorship scandal.

A close ally of Paul Martin, Goodale was appointed to the senior portfolio of Finance Minister when Martin became Prime Minister on December 12, 2003. In that capacity he tabled two consecutive balanced budgets and launched the Government's productivity agenda.

On December 28, 2005, a letter surfaced from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli confirming the force was launching a criminal investigation into whether details regarding government tax policies relating to income trust funds were leaked from the Finance Minister's office. Goodale said he would co-operate completely with any investigation, but would not step aside while the RCMP continued their probe. The investigation dealt only with the Department of Finance, and not the minister himself.[8] On February 15, 2007 the RCMP announced the conclusion of the income trust investigation and laid a charge of 'Breach of Trust' against Serge Nadeau, an official in the Department of Finance,[9] who pleaded guilty in 2010.[10] Goodale was cleared of any wrongdoing,[11] and blamed the NDP's Judy Wasylycia-Leis for sabotaging the Liberals in the 2006 election.[12]

In opposition, 2006-2015

Goodale was re-elected to the House of Commons in the general election on January 23, 2006 but lost his cabinet position with the Liberal defeat.

2006 Liberal Party leadership election

After the Liberals' defeat and Paul Martin's election night announcement that he would be resigning as party leader, Goodale initially indicated that he was not interested in succeeding Martin in that post. "I do not anticipate ever having to cross that bridge," he said. "I rule it out."[13] On March 13, 2006, the Toronto Star reported that Goodale was reconsidering his decision, and stated that he may enter the Liberal leadership election after all.[14] In the end, he declined, citing his inability to speak French as a key reason. On November 28, 2006, he endorsed Bob Rae to be the next leader of the Liberal Party.[15] After the third ballot, Bob Rae, who finished third, was eliminated. Goodale then endorsed Stéphane Dion, the eventual winner.

Goodale was opposed to David Orchard's candidacy in the by-election for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.[16] Dion terminated the nomination contest and appointed Joan Beatty as the candidate.

Proposed coalition government, 2008

Goodale was re-elected once more in the fall of 2008. One month later,in November 2008, the three opposition parties in the Canadian parliament indicated their intention to defeat the Stephen Harper government in a motion of no confidence, and expressed their desire for Governor General Michaëlle Jean to ask a member of the opposition to form a new government. While there was initially some speculation that Goodale would become Prime Minister of Canada as leader of the proposed coalition government,[17] the coalition agreement simply made "the leader of the Liberal Party" Prime Minister. The Liberals agreed shortly after that Stéphane Dion would lead the government on an interim basis until a new Liberal leader was chosen.[18] In the end, parliament was prorogued by Jean at the request of the prime minister before a confidence vote could be put to the house. By the time parliament resumed in January 2009, Michael Ignatieff had become interim leader of the party. He did not seek to bring down the government and agreed to support Harper's budget with amendments.

2011 election

Goodale was one of the 34 Liberal MPs who was returned in the 2011 federal election, the worst showing by the Liberal Party of Canada in history.

The NDP surpassed the Liberals in number of seats, becoming the official opposition, resulted in priority in choosing parliamentary offices. They requested that Goodale forfeit his suite in the coveted Central Block. The Liberals saw this as a measure of disrespect to Goodale, noting that he had seniority as a former cabinet minister and house leader, despite this being standard practice and noting the Conservatives had not asked any Liberals to give up their offices.[12]

In government, 2015-2019

The Liberals won a majority government in the 2015 federal election, and Goodale was re-elected to a ninth term in the House of Commons, once again representing Regina—Wascana as a consequence of redistricting. He was named Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.[19] He is the only MP to serve in government with both Pierre and Justin Trudeau.[20] Mr Goodale has announced that he will seek re election in the 2019 federal election.

An order in council on November 4, 2015,[21] places Goodale as first in line to assume the prime minister's powers & duties as acting prime minister, should Prime Minister Justin Trudeau become incapacitated. Trudeau did not appoint a deputy prime minister.

Despite having represented the riding since 1993, Goodale was defeated in the 2019 federal election by more than 16 percentage points.

Electoral record


2019 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
ConservativeMichael Kram22,18649.56+19.29
LiberalRalph Goodale14,99833.50-21.63
New DemocraticHailey Clark5,72212.78+0.23
GreenTamela Friesen1,2902.88+0.82
People'sMario Milanovski4430.99-
IndependentEvangeline Godron1280.29-
Total valid votes/Expense limit 100.0  
Total rejected ballots
Turnout 44,767
Eligible voters
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +20.46
Source: Elections Canada[22]
2015 Canadian federal election: Regina-Wascana
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalRalph Goodale23,55255.13+13.37$96,786.47
ConservativeMichael Kram12,93130.27-5.44$89,000.81
New DemocraticApril Bourgeois5,36212.55-7.53$21,735.49
GreenFrances Simonson8782.06-0.4$4,601.01
Total valid votes/Expense limit 42,723100.0   $193,043.93
Total rejected ballots 176
Turnout 42,88975.4
Eligible voters 56,656
Source: Elections Canada[23][24][25]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale15,82340.8-5.2$65,366
ConservativeIan Shields14,29136.9+2.3$74,976
New DemocraticMarc Spooner7,68119.8+5.1$25,821
GreenBill Clary9542.5-2.1$755
Total valid votes 38,749100.0
Total rejected ballots 1060.3 0.0
Turnout 38,85568.1+3.9
Eligible voters 57,034
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale17,02846.0-5.7$66,057
ConservativeMichelle Hunter12,79834.6+4.4$66,686
New DemocraticStephen Moore5,41814.7+0.2$19,393
GreenGeorge Wooldridge1,7064.6+1.1$4,204
Total valid votes/Expense limit 36,950 100.0$77,030
Total rejected ballots 121 0.3+0.1
Turnout 37,07164.2-6
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale20,66651.8-5.4$66,648
ConservativeBrad Farquhar11,99030.0+5.8$67,579
New DemocraticHelen Yum5,88014.7-1.3$30,123
GreenNigel Taylor1,3783.5+0.9$1,653
Total valid votes 39,914100.0
Total rejected ballots 94 0.20.0
Turnout 40,00870+7
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale20,56757.2+16.0$43,226
ConservativeDoug Cryer8,70924.2-11.9$57,802
New DemocraticErin M.K. Weir5,77116.0-5.5$29,783
GreenDarcy Robilliard9282.6
Total valid votes 35,975100.0
Total rejected ballots 800.2-0.1
Turnout 36,05563.1+0.9
2000 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale14,24441.2-0.7$56,685
AllianceJames Rybchuk12,49236.1+7.2$59,667
New DemocraticGarth Ormiston7,44621.5-6.8$58,098
Canadian ActionWayne Gilmer4011.2+0.4$1,619
Total valid votes 34,583100.0
Total rejected ballots 98 0.3-0.1
Turnout 34,68162.3-4.0
1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale14,07741.9-2.4$54,021
New DemocraticJohn Burton9,53028.4+7.2$37,942
ReformGlen Blager7,26121.6+5.9$39,285
Progressive ConservativeMichael Morris2,4777.4-8.4$18,266
Canadian ActionWalter P. Sigda2640.8$1,822
Total valid votes 33,609 100.0
Total rejected ballots 1360.4
Turnout 33,74566.2
1993 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Liberal(x) Ralph Goodale19,55544.3+11.5
New DemocraticDonna Shire9,32321.1-11.8
Progressive ConservativeLarry Schneider6,94315.7-18.3
ReformAndrew Jackson6,93515.7
NationalJohn Keen7341.7
Natural LawC. Angus Hunt2280.5
Christian HeritageHugh Owens1920.4
IndependentBarry James Farr1850.4
Canada PartyWalter P. Sigda640.1
Total valid votes 44,159100.0
1988 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%
Progressive Conservative(x) Larry Schneider15,33934.0
New DemocraticDickson Bailey14,82932.9
LiberalRalph Goodale14,80432.8
CommunistKimball Cariou760.2
LibertarianIan Christopher Madsen650.1
Total valid votes 45,113100.0


Saskatchewan General Election 1986: Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
Party Candidate Votes % ±
LiberalRalph Edward Goodale3,24641.01+8.66
New DemocraticAllen Willard Engel2,39530.26-3.43
     PC Bill Fancourt 2,273 28.72 +0.14
Total 7,914 100.00
Saskatchewan General Election 1982: Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
Party Candidate Votes % ±
New DemocraticAllen Willard Engel2,87533.69-4.80
LiberalRalph Edward Goodale2,76032.34-0.43
     PC Rene Archambault 2,438 28.57 -0.13
Western Canada ConceptHugh Clarke4595.37-
Total 8,532


1980 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive ConservativeLen Gustafson11,251
LiberalRalph Goodale10,167
New DemocraticRandy MacKenzie9,710
Social CreditWalton Eddy178
1979 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive ConservativeLen Gustafson12,365
New DemocraticBill Knight11,183
LiberalRalph Goodale9,955
Social CreditWalton Eddy292
1974 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes
LiberalRalph Goodale9,986
New DemocraticBill Knight9,441
Progressive ConservativeTom Hart7,105
Social CreditRod McRae246


  1. Library of Parliament
  2. Archived November 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. Biodata Archived August 12, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Martin, Lawrence Iron Man, Toronto: Viking, 2003 page 358
  6. "RCMP to investigate allegations of income trust leak". CBC News. 2005-12-29. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  7. "RCMP investigation conclusion". News.gc.ca. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  8. "Former Finance Department bureaucrat pleads guilty to illegal stock trades". www.guelphmercury.com. Guelph Mercury. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  9. "Goodale cleared in trust case". Canada.com. 2007-02-16. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  10. Taber, Jane (May 31, 2011). "First went their colleagues, now the Grits are losing office space". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  11. "Ralph Goodale rules out run for Liberal leadership | CBC News". CBC News. April 21, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  12. Gordon, Sean (March 13, 2006). "Rae speaks today, and Liberals are listening; Ex-NDP premier not expected to formally announce leadership bid yet But Winnipeg address raises profile in a crowded field of potential rivals". The Toronto Star.
  13. Whittington, Les (November 29, 2006). "Goodale backing boosts Rae bid". The Toronto Star. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  14. Delacourt, Susan (January 5, 2008). "Dion accused of snubbing Orchard". The Toronto Star. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  15. Whittington, Les; Tonda MacCharles; Bruce Campion-Smith (November 30, 2008). "Tories blink first in showdown". Toronto Star. Retrieved December 14, 2018. One prominent name being mentioned is former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale.
  16. "Liberals, NDP, Bloc sign deal on proposed coalition". CBC News. December 1, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  17. "Saskatchewan MP Ralph Goodale sworn in as minister of public safety". CBC News. November 4, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  18. Cassidy, Tiffany (October 21, 2015). "Ralph Goodale only MP to serve under both Trudeau prime ministers". CBC News. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  19. Office, Government of Canada Privy Council. "Orders in Council - Search". www.pco-bcp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  20. "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  21. "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". www.elections.ca.
  22. Canada, Elections. "Error page".
  23. Canada, Elections. "Résultats du soir d'élection - Circonscriptions".
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Don Boudria Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Stephen Owen
  Minister of State
NB: no portfolio specified (while House Leader)
Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources
Herb Dhaliwal
Charlie Mayer Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
NB: "Minister of Agriculture" before 1995
Lyle Vanclief
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
New office Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board
Reg Alcock
Anne McLellan Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Denis Coderre
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Don Boudria
27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
John Manley Minister of Finance
Jim Flaherty
Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Hill
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons
Succeeded by
David McGuinty
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Steven Blaney Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Bill Blair
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