Michael Bryant, Ontario's former attorney-general, is in police custody after a fatal hit-and-run in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood Monday night. Here is some background on the former politican
- Born April 13, 1966, 43 years old
- Has represented the Toronto riding of St. Paul from 1999 to 2009. He won three elections.
- His portfolios included Minister of Economic Development, Attorney-General and Aboriginal Affair Minister. Mr. Bryant was also the House Leader since 2007.
- Born in Victoria and educated at the University of British Columbia, Osgoode Hall Law School and Harvard University. He is married to Susan Abramovitch and the couple have two children.
- Mr. Bryant was a lawyer in Toronto where he also taught law and politics. He had also clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada
- He left politics in 2009 to become president and CEO of Toronto Mayor David Miller's new economic development corporation, Invest Toronto. His departure form politics was blamed partly on a notorious speech Mr. Bryant gave espousing "reverse Reaganomics" and on his leadership ambitions. Mr. Bryant's wave-making speech given to at least two audiences in May played a major role in his departure, clearly upsetting a Premier who prefers his ministers take a more subdued role.
- Counts Muhammad Ali as his idol
Some of Mr. Bryant's accomplishments, according to the Premier's website :
"legalized paralegals, fixed election dates, banned pit bulls, overhauled the human rights system, re-created the Law Reform Commission, re-established civilian oversight of police, depoliticized Justice of the Peace appointments, called three public inquiries, passed the Same Sex Spousal law in a week, and established Canada's first-ever Organized Justice prosecutor-police operations centre."
"He's pretty passionate about Toronto, which is what we need. And he's highly intelligent, a fast learner, good on his feet and reads the room well." City councillor Kyle Rae in a Globe interview earlier in 2009
On whether he would run for Mayor: "No, not ever. We have a fabulous mayor who I support, and he's the chairman of my board"
Mr. Bryant on his departure from politics: "I'm honoured to have served the people of St. Paul's under the incredible leadership of the Premier, for the past 10 years."
From John Allemang's profile of Mr. Bryant
A self-described man of "serious gusto," he no longer has a political need to play to the crowd - not since he abruptly departed his cabinet post amid speculation of a rift with his boss to become the key player in Toronto's ambitious new economic development corporation. The control freaks in the Premier's office can rest easy - gone are the days when they'd turn on the TV and find Mr. Bryant talking up a new era of "reverse Reaganism."
How long can a man like this last in politics? "I'm going to miss a lot of what I've been doing for the last 10 years," says the Harvard-educated lawyer who was first elected as MPP in the midtown riding St. Paul's in 1999 and became a hyperactive attorney-general at the age of 37. "But I'm really looking forward to executing a strategy without being limited by the need to hit certain political points along the way. At Invest Toronto, I'm the first employee, and I'm going to run a shop we can create from the ground up. There's a measure of independence with this that you just can't get in politics. It's accountable to its board and to the Mayor, but there's an opportunity to try different things, to innovate without limitations."
He'll have encouragement to talk this way at Invest Toronto, an arms-length public agency that will allow him greater leeway in asserting his personal style. But the greater freedom to speak his mind comes with a trade-off: It slows down his rapid political ascent.
"I'll be done as a politician," he says with what sounds like finality. "So when people ask me questions about bike lanes on Jarvis Street - I've had people come up to me and say, 'Let's talk about economic development and Jarvis Street' - I'm like, 'Talk to the hand, or talk to the Mayor.' I'm not in that business any more. I'm sure there'll be moments when I find it difficult to keep my trap shut. But I will keep my trap shut."
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