David Smith (Canadian senator)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David P. Smith
Senator for Cobourg, Ontario
In office
June 25, 2002 – May 16, 2016
Appointed byJean Chrétien
Member of Parliament
for Don Valley East
In office
Preceded bySam Wakim
Succeeded byBill Attewell
Personal details
David Paul Smith

(1941-05-16)May 16, 1941
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedFebruary 26, 2020(2020-02-26) (aged 78)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal (until 2014)
Independent Liberal
SpouseHeather Forster Smith
CabinetMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism) (August 12, 1983 - September 16, 1984)

David Paul Smith, PC QC (May 16, 1941 – February 26, 2020) was a Canadian lawyer, politician and senator.

Municipal politics[edit]

Smith was an alderman on Toronto City Council in the 1970s. He served a period as deputy mayor and president of city council. He ran for Mayor of Toronto in 1978, but was defeated by John Sewell in a three-way split. Smith became a backroom lobbyist for developers and was instrumental in helping Art Eggleton defeat Sewell in 1980.

Member of Parliament[edit]

After his defeat in municipal politics, Smith ran for and was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1980 election as the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Don Valley East in a suburb of Toronto.

In 1982, he became Deputy Government House Leader, and joined the Canadian Cabinet in 1983 as Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism. Smith was appointed to the same position when John Turner became Prime Minister of Canada in 1984. Smith was defeated in the subsequent 1984 election.

Out of parliament[edit]

Smith returned to the legal profession and served as Chairman Emeritus of Dentons LLP, one of Canada's largest law firms.[1] In the 1990s, he worked as a senior backroom adviser to Liberal leader Jean Chrétien and played a leading role in the party's election campaigns.

Senate career[edit]

A Chrétien loyalist, Smith was appointed to the Senate in 2002 and was outspoken in his support for Chrétien against attempts by Paul Martin to force the Prime Minister to retire. After Martin became Liberal leader, Smith urged party unity.

He was a key backer of former Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff. He was later appointed by Liberal leader Stéphane Dion to serve as party's National Campaign Co-Chair with Mark Marissen and Nancy Girard.

On January 29, 2014, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau announced all Liberal Senators, including Smith, were removed from the Liberal caucus and would continue to sit as independents.[2] The senators referred to themselves as the Senate Liberal Caucus even though they were no longer members of the parliamentary Liberal caucus.[3]

Smith retired from the Senate upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 on May 16, 2016.[4]


Smith also served on the cabinet of the capital campaign of Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto.[5]


He died in February 2020, at the age of 78, due to cardiac complications.[6]

Electoral record[edit]

1984 Canadian federal election: Don Valley East
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Bill Attewell 29,706 54.4 +11.4
Liberal David Smith 18,578 34.0 -10.6
New Democratic Joe Macdonald 5,842 10.7 -0.9
Libertarian Robert Champlain 356 0.7 +0.1
Independent Arthur V. Wright 162 0.3 +0.1
Total valid votes 54,644 100.0
1980 Canadian federal election: Don Valley East
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Smith 21,944 44.6 +4.8
Progressive Conservative Sam Wakim 21,119 43.0 -4.2
New Democratic Saul Paton 5,713 11.6 -0.7
Libertarian Gordon Keys 286 0.6 0.0
Independent Arthur V. Wright 98 0.2
Total valid votes 49,160 100.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biography from Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP law firm. (undated)
  2. ^ "Justin Trudeau removes senators from Liberal caucus | CBC News".
  3. ^ "Trudeau's expulsion catches Liberal senators by surprise". Globe and Mail. January 29, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Joyal, Serge (July 2003). Protecting Canadian Democracy: The Senate You Never Knew. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2619-8. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  5. ^ Lloyd Mackey, Tyndale Launches Capital Campaign, Canadian Christianity.com, June 5, 2008.
  6. ^ LLP, Dentons Canada. "The Honourable David P. Smith, P.C., Q.C., has passed away". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved 2020-02-27.

External links[edit]