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Herb Gray

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Title: Herb Gray  
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Subject: Jean Chrétien, Windsor West, John Turner, John Manley, Robert de Cotret
Collection: 1931 Births, 2014 Deaths, Canadian Queen's Counsel, Cancer Survivors, Companions of the Order of Canada, Deputy Prime Ministers of Canada, Jewish Canadian Politicians, Lawyers in Ontario, Leaders of the Opposition (Canada), Liberal Party of Canada Mps, McGill University Alumni, Members of the House of Commons of Canada from Ontario, Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Politicians from Ottawa, Politicians from Windsor, Ontario, Recipients of the 125Th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, Solicitors General of Canada
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Herb Gray

The Right Honourable
Herb Gray
PC, CC, QC, BComm, LLB, LLD(Hon)
Gray in 2008
Leader of the Opposition
In office
February 8, 1990 – December 10, 1990
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by John Turner
Succeeded by Jean Chrétien
Member of Parliament for Essex West
In office
September 27, 1962 – June 24, 1968
Preceded by Norman Spencer
Succeeded by riding dissolved
Member of Parliament for Windsor West
In office
June 25, 1968 – January 14, 2002
Preceded by first member
Succeeded by Brian Masse
7th Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
In office
June 11, 1997 – January 14, 2002
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Preceded by Sheila Copps
Succeeded by John Manley
Personal details
Born Herbert Eser Gray
(1931-05-25)May 25, 1931
Windsor, Ontario
Died April 21, 2014(2014-04-21) (aged 82)
Ottawa, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Sharon Sholzberg
Children Jonathan David
Elizabeth Anne
Residence Ottawa, Ontario
Alma mater McGill University
Osgoode Hall Law School
Religion Jewish

Herbert Eser "Herb" Gray, PC CC QC (May 25, 1931 – April 21, 2014) was a Canadian Member of Parliament for four decades, and cabinet minister under three prime ministers, who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1997 to 2002. He was Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister,[1] and is one of only a few Canadians ever granted the honorific The Right Honourable who was not so entitled by virtue of a position held.


  • Early life 1
  • Politics 2
  • Retirement and death 3
  • Honours 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Electoral record 6
    • Essex West 6.1
    • Windsor West 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Gray was born in Windsor, Ontario, the son of Fannie (née Lifitz), a nurse, and Harry Gray, who had a business selling yard goods. His parents were both from Belarusian Jewish families.[2] Gray attended Victoria School and Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor[1] before receiving a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1952 from McGill University.[3] He then attended Osgoode Hall Law School where he received a Bachelor of Laws degree and was called to the bar becoming a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.[4] On July 23, 1967, Gray married lawyer Sharon Sholzberg, with whom he had two children: Jonathan David and Elizabeth Anne.[1]


He was first elected to Parliament for the riding of Essex West on June 18, 1962, as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was re-elected in twelve subsequent federal elections, making him the longest continuously-serving Member of Parliament in Canadian history.[5]

Gray served in a variety of roles during his parliamentary career, including cabinet ministries and committee chairmanships during the Liberal governments of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, and as Opposition House Leader from 1984 to 1990.

From February 6, 1990, to December 21, 1990, he was Leader of the Opposition, between the resignation of John Turner as Liberal leader and the election to Parliament of his successor, Jean Chrétien.

When the Liberals returned to power after the 1993 election, Gray was appointed Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada. On June 11, 1997, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

Gray also retained an interest in provincial politics in the Windsor area. In 1996, he was named as honorary co-chair of Dwight Duncan's bid to the lead the provincial Liberal Party. (Windsor Star, June 26, 1996) Duncan had previously worked in Gray's office.

Retirement and death

Bronze bust by sculptor Christopher Rees in Windsor, Ontario

Gray retired from Parliament on January 14, 2002, and was appointed Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission, a bilateral organization which deals with Canada-United States transboundary issues on water and air rights.

On November 28, 2008, Carleton University announced that Gray had been appointed as the university's 10th chancellor.[6] He died at a hospital in Ottawa on April 21, 2014, aged 82.[7]


On January 15, 2002, then-Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson granted Gray the title "The Right Honourable", in honour of his distinguished and record-setting contribution to Canadian political life. In 2003, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, a designation which can be bestowed on only 165 outstanding Canadians at any given time, in recognition of being "an enduring force in Canadian politics".[8] He was a recipient of the Canadian Centennial Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He received honorary degrees from the University of Windsor, Assumption University (Windsor), Catholic University of Lublin (Poland), McGill University, and the University of Ottawa, and Honorary Lifetime Membership as Governor #71 with Junior Chamber International Canada (JCI Canada).[1] In 2009, he became an honorary brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi.[9]

The upgraded Windsor-Essex Parkway has been renamed the Right Honourable Herb Gray Parkway.

Personal life

Gray was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in 1996 and recovered after radiation therapy. In 1999, he had an operation to treat a prostate condition unrelated to the cancer. In August 2001, Gray underwent valve replacement surgery to correct a heart condition he had known about for years.[7]

Electoral record

Essex West

Canadian federal election, 1962
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 18,152 45.55 +11.25
Progressive Conservative Norman L. Spencer 11,018 27.65 −18.10
New Democratic Bill Tepperman 9,771 24.52 +5.43
Social Credit Ray Gagnier 649 1.63 +0.77
     Co-operative Builders Edgar-Bernard Charron 261 0.65
Total valid votes 39,851 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1963
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 23,165 56.14 +10.59
Progressive Conservative Tom Brophey 10,946 26.53 −1.12
New Democratic Trevor Price 6,267 15.19 −9.33
Social Credit Ray Gagnier 884 2.14 +0.51
Total valid votes 41,262 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1965
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 21,525 56.12 −0.02
Progressive Conservative Austin Dixon 10,298 26.85 +0.22
New Democratic Hugh Peacock 5,739 14.96 −0.23
Independent Don Armstrong 413 1.08
Social Credit Jack Backer 379 0.99 −1.15
Total valid votes 38,354 100.00

Windsor West

Canadian federal election, 1968
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 16,442 54.06
New Democratic Stuart Ross 8,972 29.50
Progressive Conservative William J. Waldron 5,002 16.45
Total valid votes 30,416 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1972
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 17,966 49.20 −4.86
New Democratic Paul Forder 13,110 35.90 +6.40
Progressive Conservative John Gunning 5,441 14.90 −1.55
Total valid votes 36,517 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1974
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 19,474 55.97 +6.77
New Democratic Ron Seale 10,630 30.55 −5.35
Progressive Conservative Bill McKay 4,466 12.84 −2.06
Marxist–Leninist Ray Greig 222 0.64
Total valid votes 34,792 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1979
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 16,943 48.56 −7.41
New Democratic Maxine Jones 11,906 34.12 +3.57
Progressive Conservative Bob Krause 5,869 16.82 +3.98
Communist Gerard O'Neill 102 0.29
Marxist–Leninist M. Villamizar 74 0.21 −0.43
Total valid votes 34,894 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 19,755 58.50 +9.94
New Democratic Maxine Jones 9,785 28.98 −4.14
Progressive Conservative Ned Griffith 4,107 12.16 −4.66
Communist Gerard O'Neill 72 0.21
Marxist–Leninist Margaret Villamizar 49 0.15 −0.06
Total valid votes 33,768 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1984
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 13,624 40.55 −17.95
New Democratic Paul Forder 11,503 34.23 +5.25
Progressive Conservative Marty Goldberg 8,158 24.28 +12.12
Rhinoceros Martin X. Deck 232 0.69
Communist Mike Longmoore 84 0.25 +0.04
Total valid votes 33,601 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1988
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 23,796 56.24 +15.69
New Democratic Paul Forder 12,143 27.80 −6.43
Progressive Conservative Bert Silcox 6,131 14.49 −9.79
Independent Robert Cruise 127 0.30
Communist Maggie Bizzell 112 0.26
Total valid votes 42,309 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1993
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 27,008 73.00 +16.76
Reform Brett Skinner 4,179 11.30
New Democratic Emily Carasco 3,359 9.08 −18.72
Progressive Conservative Dan Friesen 1,663 4.49 −10.00
Green Sarah Atkinson 395 1.07
Natural Law Larry Decter 138 0.37
Independent Bill Steptoe 128 0.35
Marxist–Leninist Robert Cruise 93 0.25 −0.05
Abolitionist Rose Pope 35 0.09
Total valid votes 36,998 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 21,877 55.20 −17.80
New Democratic Tom Milne 9,411 23.74 +14.66
Reform Jeff Watson 5,295 13.36 +2.06
Progressive Conservative Dan Friesen 2,452 6.19 +1.70
Green Richard Warman 398 1.00 −0.07
Marxist–Leninist Robert Cruise 199 0.50 +0.25
Total valid votes 39,632 100.00
Canadian federal election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Herb Gray 20,729 54.21 −0.99
Alliance Jeff Watson 8,777 22.95 +9.59
New Democratic John McGinlay 6,080 15.90 −7.84
Progressive Conservative Ian West 2,116 5.53 −0.66
Independent Christopher Soda 304 0.80
Marxist–Leninist Enver Villamizar 229 0.60 +0.10
Total valid votes 38,235 100.00

Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to the Reform vote in 1997 election.


  1. ^ a b c d "Commissioners' Biography".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ "McGill News - Spring '98". 
  4. ^ "Member Contact Information".  
  5. ^ Members of the House of Commons—1867 to Date—Continuous Years of Service. Parliament of Canada. Retrieved on December 6, 2006.
  6. ^ Carleton University Newsroom - The Right Honourable Herb Gray, P.C., C.C., Q.C. Named Carleton University Chancellor. Retrieved on December 5, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Herb Gray, former deputy prime minister, dies at 82". The Globe and Mail. April 21, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ Order of Canada citation
  9. ^ "Gray goes Greek". The Charlatan: Carleton's Independent Weekly. March 27, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 

External links

  • Herb Gray – Parliament of Canada biography
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
John Manley
Doug Lewis Solicitor General of Canada
Andy Scott
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
' Minister responsible for the Millennium Bureau of Canada
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Doug Lewis Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Don Boudria
23rd Ministry – Cabinet of John Turner
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
cont'd from 22nd Min. President of the Treasury Board
Robert de Cotret
22nd Ministry – Second cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Don Johnston President of the Treasury Board
cont'd into 23rd Min.
Pierre de Bané Minister of Regional Economic Expansion
Ed Lumley
Robert de Cotret Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce
Ed Lumley
20th Ministry – First cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet Posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Bob Andras Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs
André Ouellet
Jean-Pierre Côté Minister of National Revenue
Robert Stanbury
' Minister without Portfolio
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sheila Copps
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Succeeded by
John Manley
Academic offices
Preceded by
Marc Garneau
Chancellor of Carleton University
Succeeded by
Charles Chi
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