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John Munro
Member of Parliament for Hamilton East
In office
Preceded byQuinto Martini
Succeeded bySheila Copps
Personal details
John Carr Munro

March 16, 1931
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
DiedAugust 19, 2003(2003-08-19) (aged 72)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal

John Carr Munro PC (March 16, 1931 – August 19, 2003) was a Canadian politician. He was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1962 election, and served continuously as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Hamilton, Ontario in the electoral riding of Hamilton East until his resignation in 1984, following his defeat for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada which was eventually won by John Turner.


John Munro (left) at a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser in Burlington, Ontario, in the 1960s
John Munro (left) at a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser in Burlington, Ontario, in the 1960s

John Carr Munro was born in Hamilton, Ontario on March 16, 1931 to John Anderson Munro and Katharine Alexandra Carr. He was the grandson of Dr. Leeming George Carr, physician and politican, and Katharine Anderson, author.

After receiving a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall, Munro entered politics as an alderman for Hamilton, Ontario City Council in 1954. Munro was called to the bar in 1956.[citation needed]

Munro was first elected to the House of Commons in 1962, representing the riding of Hamilton East. From 1963 to 68, Munro served as Parliamentary Secretary to a number of ministers in Lester B. Pearson's government, including the Ministers Manpower and Immigration, Trade and Commerce and National Health and Welfare. Munro was an early supporter of medicare legislation and helped it passed through parliamentary committees while Parliamentary Secretary to Health and Welfare Minister Judy La Marsh from 1964 to 1965.[citation needed]

Munro was appointed to Cabinet by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and served variously as Minister of Amateur Sport, Minister of Health and Welfare and Minister of Labour from 1968 to 1978.[citation needed] Munro worked closely with Lou Lefaive as the director of the Directorate of Fitness and Amateur Sport to develop the government's policies on sport.[1]

Munro resigned after calling an Ontario judge in 1978 to offer a character reference for a constituent facing sentencing on an assault conviction.[citation needed] He returned to cabinet when Trudeau returned to power in the 1980 federal election and served as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development throughout Trudeau's final term.[citation needed]

On June 21, 1981, the Toronto Sun ran a front-page story accusing Munro of profiting from illegal insider trading through his advance knowledge of Petro-Canada's bid to acquire Petrofina Canada. Munro sued the paper, its editors, and the two reporters for libel. There no evidence that the stock transaction described in the Sun had ever taken place, and the corporation through which the deals were said to have been made never actually existed. Even with the Sun's retraction and apology, the paper was ordered to pay Munro $75,000, then a very high award for a libel case in Canada. One of the reporters was fired, and the other was allowed to resign.[citation needed]

On June 27, 1978, Munro married future David Peterson Cabinet Minister Lilly Oddie, who took his surname. The couple would later divorce after his career, when Oddie returned to using her original name.[2]

Munro ran at the 1984 Liberal leadership convention coming in sixth. Munro attempted to return to Parliament in the 1988 general election in the riding of Lincoln but was defeated by Progressive Conservative Shirley Martin. He again attempted to win the Liberal nomination in the riding of Lincoln in the 1993 general election, but the nomination eventually went to Tony Valeri after an acrimonious fight between Munro and the Liberal Party national office.[citation needed]

His leadership campaign led to trouble when Munro and his associates were investigated under the Criminal Code and faced 37 charges alleging illegal kickbacks to his 1984 leadership campaign and other irregularities. The charges were thrown out in 1991, but Munro's reputation was ruined, and he was nearly bankrupted by legal expenses. He sued the federal government in 1992 for compensation over being wrongfully charged. The case dragged on for seven years until the government agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $1.4 million, of which $1.2 million went to Munro's lawyers and other creditors.[3]

In 2000, he ran for Mayor of Hamilton, but eventually finished in fourth place, earning nearly 10 percent of the popular vote.[citation needed]

He died on August 19, 2003.[citation needed] Munro was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Hamilton.[citation needed]


Munro was the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs who, in November 1982, announced the federal government's conditional approval of the creation of the Nunavut territory, setting off the official chain of events that culminated in the division of the Northwest Territories and the establishment of the new Arctic territory in 1999.

Hamilton's John C. Munro International Airport is named after him.[citation needed]

Following Munro's death, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said he was "a very good man. He was a very good Member of Parliament and he was a very good minister and a guy who worked very, very hard (on) all the files that (were) given to him. He was a...grassroots politician, very socially oriented and a very effective minister.[4]


  1. ^ Macintosh, Donald (1987). Sport and Politics in Canada. Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 57. ISBN 0-7735-0665-9 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "The joys of slow roasting | The Star". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  3. ^ "Munro legal tab hit $1.4M; Taxpayers on hook for $600,000 in extra interest, fees", Gloria Galloway, Hamilton Spectator, July 27, 1999, p. A1.
  4. ^ Canadian Press, Torstar News Service, with files from Susan Delacourt, as reported in The Toronto Star, August 20, 2003: A14.