Bob was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislature between 1978 and 2013. He served as Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995 and Interim Federal Leader and foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011- 2013, a time of significant restructuring. In 2011 he was chosen by his colleagues as Parliamentarian of the Year and has also twice been named “Orator of the Year”.
Bob resigned from Parliament in 2013 to return to legal practice and, in particular, to use his legal, political and strategic skills to assist First Nations communities.
Throughout his career, Bob has been strongly committed to advancing Aboriginal rights and the critically important goal of reconciliation between Aboriginal people and all Canadians. Bob participated in the negotiations which resulted in the inclusion of Aboriginal rights in Section 35 of Canada’s constitution in 1982, and also represented Ontario in the negotiations for the Charlottetown Accord. While Premier of Ontario he developed the “Statement of Relationship” which set the framework for a new political relationship based on mutual respect and consultation between First Nations and the province. He also served as a mediator during the Burnt Church fishing dispute in New Brunswick. Bob graduated as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in 1971 and University of Toronto Law School in 1979. He was named Queen’s Council in 1984. He has received numerous Honorary Degrees and Awards from universities, colleges, and a wide assortment of organizations across Canada and abroad for his public service. He was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada in 1998, named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and received the Order of Ontario in 2004.
A past President and founding Chairman of the Forum of Federations (where he remains a Fellow) and served as Chairman of the Institute of Research on Public Policy (IRPP). He has served as Chair of both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as National Spokesman of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Bob was chief negotiator for the Canadian Red Cross in its restructuring. He served as a member of the Canada Transportation Act Review and the Security and Intelligence Review Committee for Canada (SIRC). Bob has served and continues to serve on the Boards of a number of public companies, arts and sports organizations and charities. He was Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University from 2002 to 2007. In 2005, Bob, after broad consultation, wrote a report about the needs and challenges for higher education in the province: “Ontario, A Leader in Learning”. He also, after wide consultation with affected families and many others issued a federal report about the tragic 1985 Air India bombing: “Lessons to be Learned”.
Bob has written five books: “From Protest To Power”, “The Three Questions”, “Canada in the Balance”, “Exporting Democracy”, and his newest addition “What’s Happened To Politics?” which released on August 2015. As a student he co-authored a report on governance entitled “Towards Community in University Government”.
Bob is bilingual. Along with music and reading, he loves tennis, golf and fishing.