Ron Johnson (Ontario politician)

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Ron Johnson
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byBrad Ward
Succeeded byriding abolished; Dave Levac elected for the successor riding of Brant
Personal details
Born (1966-11-18) November 18, 1966 (age 53)
Brantford, Ontario
Political partyProgressive Conservative
OccupationNewspaper editor

Ron Wayne Johnson (born November 18, 1966) is a Canadian political figure who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1995 to 1999, representing the division of Brantford as a Progressive Conservative.


Johnson was born in Brantford, and was educated at the Brantford Collegiate Institute, Lambton College, McMaster University, and the Transport Canada Training Institution. Prior to his election, he was the editor of a weekly community newspaper called Brant News. During the 1993 federal election, he and other community newspaper representatives took part in a roundtable discussion with Prime Minister Kim Campbell.[1]

Provincial politics[edit]

Johnson was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1995 provincial election, defeating former Liberal Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Dave Neumann. New Democratic Party incumbent Brad Ward finished third.[2] The Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in this election under the leadership Mike Harris, and Johnson entered the legislature as a government backbencher. He lobbied in support of completing Highway 403 during his first year in office.[3]

Johnson considered voting against the Harris government's Bill 152 in 1997. This bill transferred the cost of social services from the province to municipalities, and Johnson expressed concern that it could result in higher property taxes for Brantford residents. He later announced that he would likely support the bill due to its amendment, after a meeting with senior cabinet ministers.[4][5]

Johnson did not play a major role in the legislature and was often criticized for his absences. A 1998 newspaper report described him as "among the worst attendees in the legislature," and other Progressive Conservative MPPs openly teased him for his record.[6][7] He was dropped from all legislative committees in 1997, and his office was relocated to a basement corner.[8] There was little surprise when he chose not to run in the 1999 provincial election.

The Brantford Expositor ran a scathing editorial about Johnson in June 1999, stating there was "no way [he] could win re-election because he simply had not done the job." The paper's editor accused Johnson of ignoring the concerns of his constituents and spending more time on golf courses than in the legislature, adding that it was "galling" to learn he would collect $39,000 in severance pay.[9]

He supported Chris Stockwell's bid to lead the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the party's 2002 leadership contest, which was called after Mike Harris's retirement.[10] He later backed Frank Klees's bid to lead the party in 2004, and supported Tim Hudak in 2009.[11]

Federal politics[edit]

Johnson supported an alliance between the centre-right Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the more right-wing Reform Party of Canada in the mid-1990s. He attended a 1996 meeting in Calgary that called for a formal alliance of the parties,[12] and indicated that he contributed money to both parties in the 1997 federal election.[13] He was the co-chair of a planned conference for Ontario's Young Progressive Conservatives (YPCs) in 1993, and in this capacity invited Reform Party leader Preston Manning to speak to the delegates. This idea was rejected by the YPC leadership, which postponed the conference and removed Johnson from his position.[14][15]

Later life[edit]

After standing down from the legislature, Johnson was hired as director corporate development for a pharmaceutical company in Toronto.[16] Ronald Johnson is now chair of the Ontario College of Trades.

Electoral record[edit]

1995 Ontario general election: Brantford
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Ron Johnson 13,745 41.01 +32.55 $36,072
Liberal Dave Neumann 10,418 31.08 −6.33 $25,897
New Democratic Brad Ward 8,165 24.36 −24.27 $41,119
Family Coalition Paul Vandervet 762 2.27 −1.60 $776
Green William Darfler 430 1.28 +0.08 $622
Total valid votes 33,520 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 288
Turnout 33,808 59.90 −6.81
Electors on the lists 56,445


  1. ^ James Elliott, "The public pulse can be measured in doughnut shop", Hamilton Spectator, 12 October 1993, B3.
  2. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Archived from the original on April 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  3. ^ Ruby, Michelle (March 27, 1996). "Homeowners end battle to block Highway 403 link". Hamilton Spectator. p. B2.
  4. ^ Nolan, Dan (November 20, 1997). "Harris shrugs at hint of revolt: Backbench flak all in the 'family'". Hamilton Spectator. p. D7.
  5. ^ "Tories make $670-million change to plans". Kitchener-Waterloo Record. November 26, 1997. p. A5.
  6. ^ Abraham, Carolyn (June 26, 1997). "Hampton's expenses total $96,647: Travel, accommodation responsible for major increase in costs". Hamilton Spectator. p. C3.
  7. ^ Brennan, Richard; Foot, Richard (June 26, 1998). "Big spenders grilled over expense bills". Hamilton Spectator. p. C4.
  8. ^ Brennan, Richard; Foot, Richard (June 26, 1998). "Grilling over travel expenses leaves Hampton visibly upset". Kitchener-Waterloo Record. p. A4.
  9. ^ "An unearned severance [editorial]". Brantford Expositor. June 12, 1999. p. A12.
  10. ^ Marion, Michael-Allen (March 21, 2002). "Area Tories all ready to pick a new premier". Brantford Expositor. p. A3.
  11. ^ "Hudak's momentum on voting day will lead to victory". Tim Hudak leadership campaign press release. June 24, 2009.
  12. ^ Steinhart, David (May 28, 1996). "Tory-Reform merger idea called a joke by Charest: But Conservative executive member says proposal will pass". Hamilton Spectator. p. A2.
  13. ^ Ferguson, Derek (August 29, 1997). "Charest shrugs off Manning speech". Toronto Star. p. A10.
  14. ^ "Feud with Reform wipes out convention of young Tories". Toronto Star. September 5, 1997. p. A14.
  15. ^ "PC meeting stalled to stop Manning appearance". Kitchener-Waterloo Standard. September 6, 1997. p. B5.
  16. ^ "Ron Johnson has new job". Brantford Expositor. June 4, 1999. p. A3.

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