David Christopherson

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David Christopherson : biography

5 October 1954 –

Federal politician

Christopherson returned to political life a few months later, defeating Liberal cabinet minister Stan Keyes to win the Hamilton Centre riding in the 2004 federal election. The Liberal Party won a minority government, and Christopherson served as NDP critic for cities, community infrastructure, labour and steel policy in the 38th parliament. He was part of a Canadian delegation that observed presidential elections in Ukraine in late 2004."Hamilton New Democrat M-P David Christopherson is heading to Ukraine for Christmas", Broadcast News, 17 December 2004, 03:58 report.

He was re-elected in the 2006 federal election with an increased majority, as the Conservatives won a minority government nationally. In May 2006, he called for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police rather than the government to investigate a leak of the Auditor General’s report into the Canadian gun registry. Christopherson suspected that someone connected to the government may have been responsible for the leak, given its "self-serving" nature."Who leaked Fraser’s report? Harper to probe", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 May 2006, A11. He has also criticized the previous Liberal government for allowing billions in unpaid tax monies to remain uncollected.Carly Weeks, "Agency lets billions in tax money slip away: Problems reported in 1994 never fixed", Ottawa Citizen, 17 May 2006, A5.

Christopherson was re-elected to his federal seat again in the 2008 federal election, and the 2011 federal election.

Christopherson is often described as a pragmatic politician. He once said that he has never been a "hard-line ideologue", but "the NDP is where I’m most comfortable."

He was appointed Defence Critic for the NDP after Jack Layton’s death, and appointed one of the three deputy leaders, by Layton’s successor Thomas Mulcair.

Member of Provincial Parliament

Government backbencher

Christopherson was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1990 provincial election, defeating Liberal cabinet minister Lily Oddie Munro in Hamilton Centre as the NDP won a majority government across the province. He was chair of caucus and parliamentary assistant to Provincial Treasurer Floyd Laughren from 1990 to 1992.Emilia Cassella, "Sunday shopping", Hamilton Spectator, 13 May 1992, A1; Emilia Cassella, "NDP betting on optimistic projections", Hamilton Spectator, 1 May 1992, A1.

Cabinet minister

Christopherson was respected by all parties for his legislative work ethic and contributions to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, and was widely considered as one of the most skilled backbenchers in the government caucus.Emilia Cassella, "Christopherson touted for NDP cabinet shuffle", Hamilton Spectator, 14 August 1992, A1. There was little surprise when he was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Correctional Services on September 23, 1992, notwithstanding that Hamilton already had three representatives in cabinet.

Christopherson’s portfolio was extremely challenging, and was described by one journalist as "one of the worst jobs in government". The Correctional Services ministry had previously been damaged by reports of sexual abuse and intimidation involving staff at Ontario jails and training centres, and Christopherson was required to enact substantial internal reforms.Richard Mackie, "Critics brand cabinet shuffle ‘damage control’", Globe and Mail, 24 September 1992, A7 and "Hiring, Property and Internal Investigations", Hamilton Spectator, 22 July 1993, B4. He supported former NDP leader Stephen Lewis’s recommendations on race relations in the criminal justice system, and made efforts to address racism in Ontario prisons."Ontario unveils policy for police race relations", Globe and Mail, 6 April 1993, A12; Sean Fine, "Prison racism rampant, panel finds", Globe and Mail, 2 February 1994, A5.