|Name||Andrew "Andy" Thompson|
, Ontario , Canada
|| December 14, 1924
|Last Modifed||Magical Horse|
Apr 12, 2011 02:47pm
|Info||Andrew Ernest Joseph "Andy" Thompson (born December 14, 1924) is a former Canadian politician. Thompson was leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and later served as a Senator. |
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he was educated at Monkton Combe School in England and Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto. He attended the University of Toronto from 1942 to 1943 until he joined the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant. He completed his education at Queen's University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947. He received a Master of Social Work from the University of British Columbia in 1949.
Thompson was first elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament in the 1959 Ontario election as a candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party in the Toronto riding of Dovercourt. Thompson was close to federal Liberal cabinet minister Walter Gordon having organized his federal candidacy in the federal equivalent of Thompson's Dovercourt constituency.
He made his name in the Ontario legislature in March 1964 when he assailed Attorney-General Fred Cass over Bill 99, which would have amended the Police Act to allow the Ontario Police Commission to interrogate individuals in secret leading to it being derisively referred to as the "Police State Bill". The scandal forced Cass to resign and enhanced Thompson's reputation considerably. He was elected leader of the party in the fall of 1964 when he defeated Charles Templeton on the sixth ballot.
Thompson suffered a physical breakdown. He also had health problems, specifically a heart murmur, combined with exhaustion, high blood pressure and a lengthy bout of influenza. On the advice of doctors, Thompson resigned as leader in November 1966 without ever having led his party in an election. He was succeeded as Liberal leader by Robert Nixon.
Thompson was named to the Canadian Senate in April 1967.
Thompson's time in the Senate was relatively uneventful.
He kept a low profile until his woeful attendance was revealed in a series of investigative reports by journalist Jack Aubry of the Ottawa Citizen. Thompson told the reporter he was unable to attend Senate sessions due to illness, but continued to draw his salary by showing up for a few days at the beginning of each session. Thompson had technically not violated any Senate rules, as he has not yet missed two complete consecutive sittings and produced medical certificates for his absence.
With growing media attention on Thompson's lengthy absences from the red chamber, the Reform Party made Thompson's absence a cause celebre, repeatedly pointing to the fact that he was living in Mexico. Reform Members of Parliament hired a Mariachi band and served burritos in the lobby of the Senate to draw attention to the issue. Thompson was held up as an example of why the Senate needed to be reformed.
The resulting furor resulted in Thompson being expelled from the Liberal caucus on November 19, 1997. The Senate first voted to strip him of his privileges and other perks. Later they found Thompson in contempt of the upper chamber for not complying with orders to return to Ottawa to explain his attendance record, resulting in his suspension of his $64,400 salary and $10,100 tax-free expense allowance. In December 2007, Thompson lost his Senate office and other privileges. Some Senators disagree with the suspension, arguing that it was too lenient and that he should have been expelled from the chamber instead, as one colleague suggested that Thompson had brought disrepute to the upper chamber. He resigned on March 23, 1998, 20 months ahead of his scheduled retirement, and was entitled to a pension of $48,000.
The media's exposure of Thompson's attendance and his colleagues' tolerance of it led the Senate to toughen the rules governing its members and sick leave while also increasing the financial penalties for missing too many sittings during a session.