The New Democratic Party of Canada ran a full slate of candidates in the 1997 federal election, and won 21 seats out of 301 to emerge as the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of Canada. Many of the party's candidates have their own biography pages; information about others may be found here.


Brome—Missisquoi: Nicole Guillemet

Nicole Guillemet was born in Paris, France. She was a social worker in 1997.[1] She received 781 votes (1.72%), finishing fourth against Liberal Party incumbent Denis Paradis. In 2007, she was listed as a member of the Memphremagog Caregiver's Network.[2]

Richelieu: Sylvain Pelletier

Sylvain Pelletier was a labour-relations consultant.[3] He received 1,028 votes (2.13%), finishing fourth against Bloc Québécois incumbent Louis Plamondon.


Eglinton—Lawrence: Sam Savona

Savona is a veteran political organizer for Canadians with disabilities. In 1986, he criticized the federal government of Brian Mulroney for taking insufficient steps to promote job equity for women, the disabled, visible minorities and native Canadians.[4] Two years later, as spokesperson for the group People Using Self-Help, he criticized the Toronto Transit Commission for taking insufficient steps to address the needs of the disabled.[5] He served as co-chair of the Trans-Action Coalition in the early 1990s, fighting for better access to transportation services.[6] He was also a prominent member of the Tenants' Rights Advocacy Project, established in 1992.[7] Savona himself has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.[8] In 1996, he opposed plans by the Ontario government of Mike Harris to introduce fingerprinting for welfare recipients.[9]

He campaigned for New Democratic Party in Eglinton—Lawrence in 1997, after unsuccessfully seeking its nomination in St. Paul's.[10] He received 3,955 votes (9.02%), finishing third against Liberal incumbent Joe Volpe. He was thirty-eight years old, and is believed to have been the first person with cerebral palsy to seek election in Canada.[11] His campaign focused on jobs, health services and education.[12]

Savona has written against Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer's decision to kill his severely disabled daughter, an act that some in the Canadian media described as a mercy killing. He has noted that doctors once told his own parents he would suffer from intellectual disabilities as an adult, and that this did not occur. Savona has written, "What Robert Latimer did is simple: He murdered his daughter. I am living proof that you can't say what tomorrow will bring."[13]

As of 2006, Savona is a member of the TTC's disability advisory committee.[14]

In 2007 Savona received the city of Toronto's "Unsung Hero" award.

In March, 2011, Sam was elected as the Chair for the TTC Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT).

On October 17, 2013 Savona was awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.[15]

Parry Sound—Muskoka: Carl Wirth

Carl Wirth was a telephone technician during the election, having worked for Bell Canada since 1983. He is active in the labour movement and has held several executive positions with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) Local 39. He has also fought against deregulation, cutbacks to social services, poverty, and child labour.[16]

Wirth joined the Parry Sound—Muskoka NDP association in 1989 and worked on several campaigns. Fifty-two years old in 1997, he acknowledged he had no change of winning the riding.[17] He received 1,700 votes (3.98%), finishing fourth against Liberal incumbent Andy Mitchell.[18]

St. Catharines: Ed Gould

Gould was educated at Niagara College, and worked as a millwright for General Motors. A veteran of the labour movement, he served as acting president of the Canadian Auto Workers Local 199 (Buffalo News, 26 February 1999) and participated in "Days of Action" protests against the provincial government of Mike Harris in the late 1990s (Canada NewsWire, 7 April 1998). Gould has also served as recording secretary of the Niagara Falls Regional Skilled Trades Council and president of the St. Catharines labour council.[1]

He received 4,657 votes (9.60%) in 1997, finishing fourth against Liberal incumbent Walt Lastewka.

Scarborough Southwest: Dave Gracey

Gracey began his professional career as a foreign service officer, and later worked as a high school teacher and principal. He had retired by the time of the 1997 election (Toronto Star, 30 May 1997). During the 1980s, he served as chair of the Scarborough Peace Association (Toronto Star, 23 June 1987).

He sought election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Scarborough Centre in the 1975 and 1977 Ontario elections, as a candidate of the provincial New Democratic Party. He came close to winning in 1975, but lost to Progressive Conservative candidate Frank Drea on both occasions.

Gracey campaigned for the federal NDP in Scarborough West in 1984 and 1988, and in Scarborough Southwest in 1997. He lost to Progressive Conservative Reg Stackhouse on the first occasion, and to Liberal Tom Wappel on the latter two. In 1988, he defeated Judy Rebick for the Scarborough West NDP nomination (Toronto Star, 19 April 1988).

Following his defeat in 1988, he said that the NDP had made a serious mistake by not focusing more of its attention on opposition to the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (Toronto Star, 24 November 1988). Gracey was 48 years old at the time of this election (Toronto Star, 16 November 1988).

He wrote an article in 2004 arguing that temporary deficits, while not desirable, can be appropriate for some economic situations. He has also proposed that the Bank of Canada be given more authority in Canada's economic system.[2]

Gracey continues to serve on the executive of the Scarborough Southwest NDP association as of 2005,[3] and has endorsed Dan Harris as the party's candidate in the 39th Canadian federal election.[4]

There is a different politician named Dave Gracey in British Columbia.

Sudbury: John Filo

John Filo is a former geophysics teacher at Cambrian College, and a longtime labour leader and social activist in Sudbury.[19] He holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts and P.Eng degrees, and has worked in South Africa, Botswana, Saudi Arabia and Europe.[20] His father was a working-class immigrant from Slovakia, who worked in the steel industry.[21]

Filo served as president of the Sudbury and District Labour Council in the 1990s and 2000s, and led protests against the labour policies of Mike Harris's provincial government. In 1995, he called for a boycott of local businesses that were identified as anti-labour.[22] He nevertheless opposed a "Day of Action" protest against the Harris government slated for February 1997, due to both harsh winter conditions and opposition from the United Steelworkers of America.[23]

A longtime New Democratic Party supporter, Filo ran as a party candidate in 1997 on the advice of Elie Martel, a candidate in the neighbouring riding of Nickel Belt. Martel noted that Filo's candidacy was meant to keep the Liberal Party election machine in Sudbury busy, and prevent it from intervening in his own campaign; Filo himself acknowledged that this was true.[24] Filo received 8,471 votes (21.12%), finishing second against Liberal incumbent Diane Marleau.

Filo was a co-chair of the Sudbury United Way campaign in 1999-2000.[25] He continued to oppose the Harris government's policies, describing the 2000 Employment Standards Act as an affront to working men and women.[26] In 2002, he opposed the provincial government's plans to privatize Ontario Hydro.[27]

He was honoured for his contribution to Sudbury in 2007, in a meeting at the city's Steelworkers' Hall. He was 72 years old at the time.[21]

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex: Bela Trebics

Bela "Bill" Trebics was a Wallaceburg labourer and an instructor on workplace health and safety issues for his union, UAW local 251. He ran for the only time in 1997, improving the NDP's standing in his riding from fifth to fourth place and increasing their share of the vote to 5.44%.


Glen Hallick (Portage—Lisgar)

Hallick graduated from Sanford Collegiate in 1983, and later received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba. He was a part-time employee of the Rural Municipality of Macdonald during the campaign.[5].

Hallick had previously been a candidate of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba in the 1995 provincial election, in the rural constituency of Morris. He finished third with 1,158 votes, against Frank Pitura of the Progressive Conservative Party. In the 1997 federal election, he received 2,420 votes (7.20%) to finish fourth against Jake Hoeppner of the Reform Party.

At the 2001 Manitoba NDP convention, Hallick was one of the most vocal advocates of a return to the monopoly hog marketing board system removed by the previous PC government (Winnipeg Free Press, 11 February 2001). The motion was defeated.

Hallick is a freelance writer who has written for the Morris, MB. based Crow Wing Warrior and Scrathing River Post, the Headliner (then owned by Transcontinental Media) and currently the Carman-based Valley Leader.

Martha Wiebe Owen (Provencher)

Martha Wiebe Owen is a housewife and activist in Pinawa,[28] and has been a candidate for the New Democratic Party at both the federal and provincial levels.

She called for the NDP to promote more co-operation with small business at its 1994 national convention.[29] She appeared before the Manitoba meetings of the House of Commons of Canada finance committee in 1994 and 1995, and engaged in a tense verbal exchange with committee chair Jim Peterson on the latter occasion.[30] Owen supported Herschel Hardin's bid to lead the federal New Democratic Party in 1995.[31]

Owen has written letters in support of the Canadian Wheat Board, shorter working weeks, and a fair minimum wage.[32] She endorsed the NDP's decision to offer parliamentary support to the Liberal government of Paul Martin in 2005, arguing that the arrangement would force the Liberals to pass good legislation.[33] As of 2008, Owen serves on the Manitoba Council on Aging.[34]

Electoral record
Election Division Party Votes % Place Winner
1993 federal Provencher New Democratic Party 1,818 4.97 4/7 David Iftody, Liberal
1995 provincial Tuxedo New Democratic Party 1,457 3/3 Gary Filmon, Progressive Conservative
1997 federal Provencher New Democratic Party 3,137 8.60 4/4 David Iftody, Liberal

Kathleen McCallum (Selkirk—Interlake)

McCallum was a researcher at the time of the election,[35] and had previously been a candidate for the New Democratic Party of Manitoba in the 1990 provincial election. Considered a serious contender in 1997, she finished third in a narrow three-way contest. She later worked as an assistant to the provincial Minister of Agriculture and Food,[36] and as of 2007 is a project manager for Manitoba Competitiveness, Training and Trade.[37]

Electoral record
Election Division Party Votes % Place Winner
1990 provincial St. Vital New Democratic Party 2,368 3/4 Shirley Render, Progressive Conservative
1997 federal Selkirk—Interlake New Democratic Party 10,749 27.81 3/5 Howard Hilstrom, Reform


Walter Kyliuk (Wanuskewin)

Kyliuk was a school principal in the small town of Radisson before running for office. In 1988, he took part in a civic mission to Toronto to solicit funding for a hockey arena and community hall to save the community from destitution (Toronto Star, 21 July 1988). The efforts were eventually successful. Kyliuk was awarded a "laurel" by the Toronto Star newspaper for his actions (23 July), and Ken Dryden mentioned the initiative in his book, The Game (6 January 1990).

He received 8,793 votes (26.79%) in the 1997 election, finishing second against Reform Party candidate Maurice Vellacott.

In 2004, Kyliuk took part in protests to preserve Radisson's public school (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 20 July 2004).

In December 2004, Walter Kyliuk was part of the Canadian team of election observers who took part in the re-run of the Ukrainian Presidential Election.


  1. ^ History of Federal Ridings since 1867, RICHELIEU (1997/06/02), Parliament of Canada, accessed 6 December 2010; Tony Hill, Canadian Politics: Riding by Riding, Minneapolis: Prospect Park Press, 2002, p. 93 [place of birth].
  2. ^ Brion Robinson, "Constant care is exhausting," Sherbrooke Record, 14 February 2007, p. 1.
  3. ^ History of Federal Ridings since 1867, RICHELIEU (1997/06/02), Parliament of Canada, accessed 13 August 2009.
  4. ^ Paula Todd, "Job equity bill 'has no teeth' disabled say", Toronto Star, 15 April 1986, A4.
  5. ^ "TTC failing to aid disabled alderman says", Toronto Star, 13 January 1988, A27.
  6. ^ John Feld and Sam Savona, "Government turns its back on disabled", Toronto Star, 21 May 1992, A25.
  7. ^ Helen Henderson, "Special-care tenants need to be protected, too", Toronto Star, 26 February 1994, K9.
  8. ^ Susan Reid, "When the transit system rules your life", Toronto Star, 5 June 1989, A20.
  9. ^ Margaret Philp, "Metro to debate welfare ID technology", Globe and Mail, 30 April 1996, A6.
  10. ^ John Feld, "Sam Savona: What a candidate! What a campaign!", Abilities, Issue 32 pp. 13-14, Fall 1997.
  11. ^ Laurie Monsebraaten, "Disabled candidate's tough race", Toronto Star, 21 May 1997, A16.
  12. ^ Nicolaas Van Rijn and Patty Winsa, "Eglinton-Lawrence", Toronto Star, 30 May 1997, A15.
  13. ^ Sam Savona, "Thank God my parents let me live", Toronto Star, 8 November 1997, p. 1.
  14. ^ Helen Henderson, "City still debating Segways", Toronto Star, 15 April 2006, L07.
  15. ^ "Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship".
  16. ^ The Federal Election: Riding Profiles: 162 Parry Sound-Muskoka, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed 18 January 2011.
  17. ^ Daniel Girard, "Ex-general's campaign for Tories in high gear," Toronto Star, 30 April 1997, A12; John Ibbitson, "General opens voters' eyes to world issues," Ottawa Citizen, 18 May 1997, A3.
  18. ^ Thirty-sixth General Election 1997: Official Voting Results: Synopsis, Elections Canada, accessed 18 January 2011.
  19. ^ Carol Mulligan, "Women driving union growth", Sudbury Star, 4 September 2004, A1.
  20. ^ John Filo, "Sudbury’s Cambrian College Closes Desperately Needed Geology Programs", Republic of Mining, 28 March 2008, accessed 12 April 2008.
  21. ^ a b Heidi Ulrichsen, "Community pays tribute to Sudbury union leader" Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, Northern Life, 27 February 2007, accessed 12 April 2008.
  22. ^ Kathryn Pearsall, "Bill 40's demise splits community", Northern Ontario Business, 1 December 1995, p. 1; Denis St. Pierre, "Unions talk tough about use of replacements", Sudbury Star, 26 September 2000, A1.
  23. ^ "Labor groups oppose Sudbury protest plan", Toronto Star, 30 November 1996, A6.
  24. ^ Thomas Walkom, "Wake-up call NDP's high-profile recruits running hard in Ontario to syphon off Liberal strength", Toronto Star, 17 May 1997, D4.
  25. ^ Bob Vaillancourt, "United Way chairmen upbeat about campaign", Sudbury Star, 10 September 1999, A1.
  26. ^ Mike Whitehouse, "New employment act greeted with mixed reviews", Sudbury Star, 4 September 2001, A1.
  27. ^ "Keep hydro public: city council", Sudbury Star, 14 June 2002, A9.
  28. ^ History of Federal Ridings since 1867: Provencher, 1997, Parliament of Canada, accessed 8 August 2008.
  29. ^ Hugh Winsor, "NDP fails to resolve policy dilemmas", Globe and Mail, 29 August 1994, A4. Owen was quoted as saying, "We lost support, especially from small businessmen, because the NDP is perceived as the (enemy) of business. They think we want to take over the corner store. We need to promote co-operation with business."
  30. ^ Frances Russell, "Seminar gets them thinking", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 1994; Frances Russell, "Budget talks focus on core values", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1995, A14; Martha Owen, "Consultation in name only Marth Owen MPs did not want to hear opposing opinions" [editorial], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 December 1995, A13.
  31. ^ Martha Owen, "Hardin coverage misses mark" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 August 1995, A7.
  32. ^ Martha Owen, "One farmer, one vote" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 1997, B3; Martha Owen, "Well-worn groove benefits society" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1997, A11; Martha Owen, "Let business leaders live on minimum wage" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 October 2000, A13.
  33. ^ Martha Owen, "Liberal-NDP deal good legislation" [letter], Toronto Star, 7 May 2005, F07.
  34. ^ Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Hansard Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine, 8 May 2008, accessed 8 August 2008.
  35. ^ Darcy Henton, "Liberals lose lock on Manitoba", Toronto Star, 3 June 1997, B5.
  36. ^ Provinces-State Agriculture Group Meeting Attendees As of February 9, 2001, accessed 1 August 2007.
  37. ^ Kathleen McCallum: Government of Manitoba listing, accessed 1 August 2007.