Belinda Stronach

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Belinda Stronach was the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Newmarket_Aurora FED in Ontario in the Canadian federal election, 2006. She won handily and became a Liberal MP. This was her first election as a Liberal, in the Canadian federal election, 2004 she had run for the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada.

former Liberal leadership candidate

When frontrunners Frank McKenna, Brian Tobin and John Manley dropped out, Stronach was left by surprise as the most popular candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention, 2006. She had the support of 9% of Liberals, behind McKenna's 17%, Tobin's 13%, and ahead of Manley's 8%. It was unclear how the many dropouts would affect the dynamics of the race however.

As it happened, Stronach left the race relatively early, before its rules were announced, advocating one member one vote rules for election of the leader. Only the Green Party of Canada actually has this structure.

crossed the floor to Liberals

As she was a former Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate, when Belinda Stronach, MP from Newmarket, Ontario joined the Liberal Party of Canada on May 17, 2005, it came as a total surprise.

Her well-timed move crippled the Conservatives, ended the Canadian federal confidence crisis, 2005 and won her the HRDC portfolio in Paul Martin's cabinet.

While Paul Martin clearly sought to avoid an election, Stronach's move across the floor caught many by suprise, party defections traditionally limited to backbench MPs, have seriously hurt the newly re-united Conservatives who nonetheless gained a minority government in the Canadian federal election, 2006.

former Conservative Party leadership candidate

As a former CEO and heir to Frank Stronach's billion dollar Magna Corporate empire, Stronach's entry into Canadian politics is remarkable not only because of her wealth, but her youth and connections. Supported by former conservative heavyweights Brian Mulroney, Bill Davis and Mike Harris, unlike all these men, she never served a political apprenticeship or climbed through the party ranks. Instead, her self funded and well covered run for the Conservative Party leadership quickly lifted her to the top rung of recognizable Canadian politicians, leading to speculation about her someday becoming Canada's second female Prime Minister. "Because of her background and the boards she's sat on, she has a constellation of networks which are amazingly deep and wide," said Entwistle. "People whom she knows and who think a lot of her and who give of their time freely if she needs them." On her leaving the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper remarked that "There's no grand principle involved in this decision, just ambition."

See also: News:Belinda Stronach dumps the Tories


In 2003, Stronach's political machine resembled that of George W. Bush's - a charismatic spokeperson fronting a highly talented team, which is both highly connected and deep pocketed. Her political positions, which are more similar to those of Paul Martin than Stephen Harper, likely made the switch easier for other Liberals to accept.


May 17, 2005, Stronach defects to the Liberal Party.

Ending the Canadian federal confidence crisis, 2005.
It was simultaneously announced that she would join the cabinet as Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal.

April 2005, clashes with Conservative leader Harper on forcing an election.

The Hill Times - Newspaper Online.

According to one of her top political advisors: "She has her eyes on the leadership of the party and she also wants to become the Prime Minister if possible. Do you think she came to Ottawa just to be one of the 308 MPs? Do you think she's travelling across the country, helping people raise funds, giving media interviews just to be another MP? No, no, no. It's all about the next leadership. She's new in politics and she doesn't want to stay in politics for a long time."


January 8, 2005, Stronach confirmed that she is dating deputy Conservative leader Peter MacKay.

January 2004, Announces a bid for the Conservative leadership.

Summer and fall of 2003, facilitates the merger of the right.

In 2003, "talks were undertaken by officials of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance party with respect to a merger of those parties. Meetings between the parties were overseen by a facilitator, who was later revealed to have been Stronach. She was among many who had called for PC leader Peter MacKay and Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper to undertake the merger talks in the first place."

June 2003 noticed attending events with former US president Bill Clinton.

"Canadian Papers were running items about what was called 'a close and personal business relationship' between Bill Clinton and Canadian Billionaire Belinda Stronach"

January 2002, succeeds her father as CEO of Magna

She began working full-time at Magna in 1986 after a one-year stint at York University, moving up the ranks quickly and getting elected to the board of directors in 1988, at 23. Seven years later, she made vice-president. When Magna found itself seeking a new CEO in 2000, she says, the management team went to the board and recommended she take the helm. "My father wasn't so keen at the time," she says. "You're out there publicly and if you mess up, it's in a very public way." She was appointed CEO in February 2001, and president in January 2002. During her tenure, Magna International enjoyed record profits each year and its share value nearly doubled. In 2002 and 2003, Fortune magazine ranked her the second most powerful woman in international business.

But her pedigree comes with a price. The drawback to her Magna-made connections is the persistent suspicion that she's the public face for a set of private interests, and not the one making the decisions for Team Belinda. Similar criticism surrounds her work at the company. Current and former Magna employees quietly scoff at her leadership role, alleging that her father was pulling the strings all along and that she had very little involvement in day-to-day operations. "Belinda was never equipped to do that job," says one former executive. "She doesn't know what the plants do, doesn't know the processing, doesn't even know, other than broadly, what each of the groups do. You can't talk business strategy with her — because she's not a strategist.""

2001-2004, acclaimed as a leading business woman and member of the power elite

"In 2001, the National Post named Stronach as the most powerful businesswoman in Canada; and, in the same year, the World Economic Forum named her a "Global Leader of Tomorrow." Fortune Magazine ranked her #2 in its list of the world's most powerful women in business in 2002. She was also named one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40". In April 2004, Time Magazine ranked her as one of the world's 100 most influential people."

2003-2004, Protégé of former Liberal MP Dennis Mills

Former Liberal backbencher Denis Mills is the Vice President of Magna Entertainment Corporation.

"After his election defeat, Mills returned to the Magna fold, never to be heard from again."

"Back in the days when he was grooming Stronach for public office, Ottawa Life wrote that "Dennis Mills is very close to Belinda." They attended many events together.

On the Issues

Stronach says the Conservative Party's policies should be built "from the grassroots up, not the leader down." That might be difficult to do with an election expected to be called this spring. The new Conservative Party will not have time to hold a policy convention before the election, and the winner of the Conservative leadership vote March 19-21 will likely have just a matter of weeks to prepare for a national election campaign against Paul Martin, Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton. Hopefully Stronach's high-powered team is busy fleshing out the bare bones of the policy positions that have been expressed so far.


Stronach says she wants less government, and more collaboration and consultation.
  1. plans to encourage more active involvement of young Canadians in politics and public service
  2. will promote a "more constructive approach to political debate."


Stronach says she is a fiscal conservative.
  1. plans to make Canada more competitive globally and "bake a bigger economic pie" rather than cut social spending.
  2. puts the emphasis on "strong job creation, high productivity, a competitive tax structure, as little debt as possible and a flourishing manufacturing sector."

Social Issues

Stronach says she is modern and moderate.
  1. Education - Parents and students should be able to deduct post-secondary tuition from their income taxes.
  2. Same-sex marriages - A human right and people should be treated equally under the law. Says she understands others will disagree and the decision should be left to a free vote in Parliament.
  3. Decriminalization of marijuana - Against it.
  4. Abortion - Pro-choice.

International Relations

Stronach wants Canada respected as a leader on global issues.
  1. War on Iraq - Supports it, but when asked if she would have committed Canadian troops retreats to "I'm not a military expert."
  2. Canada-U.S. Relations - Canada should build closer relations with the U.S. in order to establish a North American security perimeter.


Stronach promises to rebuild the Canadian military.