Michael Wilson (Canadian Politician)
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Michael Wilson Canadian Politician

Michael Wilson

Diplomat Michael Wilson.png
33rd Chancellor of the University of Toronto

July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2018
David Peterson
Rose Patten
Canadian Ambassador to the United States

March 13, 2006 - October 19, 2009
Stephen Harper
Frank McKenna
Gary Doer
9th Minister of International Trade

April 21, 1991 - June 24, 1993
Brian Mulroney
John Crosbie
Tom Hockin
Minister of Finance

September 17, 1984 - April 20, 1991
Brian Mulroney
Marc Lalonde
Don Mazankowski
Member of Parliament
for Etobicoke Centre

May 22, 1979 - October 24, 1993
Constituency established
Allan Rock
Personal details
Michael Holcombe Wilson

(1937-11-04)November 4, 1937
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedFebruary 10, 2019(2019-02-10) (aged 81)
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Spouse(s)Margie Wilson

Michael Holcombe Wilson (November 4, 1937 - February 10, 2019) was a Canadian businessman, politician and diplomat. He was the Chairman of Barclays Capital Canada Inc. from May 2010 until his death in February of 2019.[1] He was a Bay Street investment executive when he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament in the 1979 general election. He served in various portfolios in the governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney between 1979 and 1993. He was the Canadian Ambassador to the United States from 2006 until 2009, when he was succeeded by Gary Doer.

Early life

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Wilson was the son of Constance L. (Davies) and Harry Holcombe Wilson.[2] Wilson attended Upper Canada College and then Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where he joined the Kappa Alpha Society.

Political career

Wilson was a candidate at the 1983 Progressive Conservative leadership convention. He tried to woo young delegates by having the rock group Spoons perform on his behalf. He dropped off after the first ballot and urged his supporters to vote for Brian Mulroney, the eventual winner. Mulroney appointed Wilson as Minister of Finance when the party formed a government after the 1984 election.

Wilson reformed the tax system to broaden the tax base and lower tax rates, removing many special tax provisions, and helped negotiate the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement. He also announced the Goods and Services Tax in his 1989 budget, a tax introduced in 1990 which is still in place today and is considered a necessary source of federal income, despite being unpopular with consumers.[3]

In 1991, after seven years as Minister of Finance, Wilson became Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister of International Trade. In that role, he participated in negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Return to private life

Wilson was not a candidate in the 1993 election, and he returned to Bay Street to head his own consulting and financial services firm. He later rejoined Royal Bank of Canada, and he was Chairman and CEO of RT Capital when that business was sold to UBS AG. Wilson served as Chairman of UBS Canada from 2001 to 2006.

In recent years, he was a spokesman for a lobby group promoting public-private partnerships, and he was the Chairman of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance. From 2003 to 2007, Wilson served as the Chancellor of Trinity College. In July 2012, he became the Chancellor of the University of Toronto, and he was re-elected to an additional three-year term in 2015.[4]

Wilson was a mental health advocate, having lost a son to depression and suicide.[5] Wilson established the Cameron Parker Holcombe Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at the University of Toronto. He also sat on the board of directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Wilson was active in many other organizations, including the NeuroScience Canada Partnership, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, the Loran Scholars Foundation, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

On 30 October 2003, Wilson was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2010.[6]

On 9 April 2015, it was announced that Wilson was appointed as the new board chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.[7] He was also a member of the Trilateral Commission.[8]

Ambassador to the United States

On 16 February 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the nomination of Wilson as Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America. He succeeded Frank McKenna in Washington, D.C. Wilson became the 22nd Canadian Ambassador to the United States on 13 March 2006, when U.S. President George W. Bush accepted his credentials.

Allegation of leaks during 2008 Democratic presidential campaign

In March 2008, it was alleged that Wilson told the Canadian media that U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama was not serious about his promise to opt out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Liberal MP Navdeep Bains called on Wilson to step down as Canada's ambassador to Washington while the alleged leaks were investigated. Wilson publicly acknowledged that he spoke to then-CTV reporter Tom Clark, who first reported the leaks, before the story aired, but he refused to discuss what was said.[9][10]

Personal life

Wilson was married to Margie Wilson and was predeceased by son Cameron, who suffered from depression and died by suicide in 1995.[11] Following his son's death, Wilson devoted considerable time to advocate for mental health. The couple had two other children: son Geoff Wilson and daughter Lara O'Brien, both of whom married and have children.[12] Wilson died from cancer on February 10, 2019.[13]


There is a Michael Wilson fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[14]

Electoral record

1988 Canadian federal election:
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Michael Wilson 24,338 48.4 -8.4
Liberal Mary Schwass 20,342 40.5 +10.6
New Democratic Phil Jones 4,815 9.6 -3.2
Libertarian Janice E. Hazlett 373 0.7 +0.2
Green Isabel Van Humbeck 187 0.4
Communist Dan Goldstick 81 0.2
Commonwealth of Canada John J. Benz 70 0.1
Independent Jeanne Gatley 62 0.1
Total valid votes
1984 Canadian federal election:
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Michael Wilson 34,026 56.8 +9.7
Liberal Jim Brown 17,853 29.8 -11.6
New Democratic Phil Jones 7,657 12.8 +2.0
Libertarian Shirley Yamada 339 0.6 0.0
Total valid votes
1980 Canadian federal election:
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Michael Wilson 26,969 47.1 -4.2
Liberal Joe Cruden 23,715 41.4 +3.7
New Democratic Dan Shipley 6,181 10.8 +0.6
Libertarian Norman R. Andersen 308 0.5 +0.1
Marxist-Leninist Anne Boylan 88 0.2 +0.1
Total valid votes
1979 Canadian federal election:
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Michael Wilson 31,498 51.3
Liberal Alastair Gillespie 23,141 37.7
New Democratic Dan Shipley 6,237 10.2
Libertarian Norman R. Andersen 272 0.4
Communist Nick Hrynchyshyn 112 0.2
Independent Helen Obadia 54 0.1
Marxist-Leninist James H. Reid 38 0.1
Total valid votes


  1. ^ "Barclays rolls out big guns". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved .
  2. ^ https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wilson-hon-michael-holcombe-pc-bcomm
  3. ^ Simpson, Jeffery. "The GST Hated By Many Stands The Test Of Time". theglobeandmail.com. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "About the Chancellor". University of Toronto. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Students are not fragile flowers - we must care about their mental health". TheGlobeAndMail.com. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". GG.ca. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "Statement from Louise Bradley on the appointment of new board chair". Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION" (PDF). www.trilateral.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-26.
  9. ^ Clark, Campbell. "Envoy faces calls to resign in NAFTA leak probe". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Harper, Tim (11 March 2008). "Envoy's role in leak questioned". Toronto Star. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Macdonald, Cynthia. "A Canadian Hero for Mental Health". University of Toronto Magazine.
  12. ^ "Michael Wilson - obituary". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Former finance minister, ambassador and businessman Michael Wilson dies at 81". Retrieved 2019 – via The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ "Michael Wilson fonds, Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved .

External links

Parliament of Canada
21st Ministry - Cabinet of Joe Clark
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Minister of State for International Trade
24th Ministry - Cabinet of Brian Mulroney
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
John Crosbie Minister for International Trade
Tom Hockin
Benoît Bouchard Minister of Industry, Science and Technology
Jean Charest
Marc Lalonde Minister of Finance
Don Mazankowski
Academic offices
Preceded by
John C. Bothwell
Chancellor of the University of Trinity College
Succeeded by
Bill Graham
Preceded by
David Peterson
Chancellor of the University of Toronto
Succeeded by
Rose Patten

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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