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John Paul Harney

John Paul Harney
Member of Parliament
for Scarborough West
In office
Preceded by David Weatherhead
Succeeded by Alan Martin
Personal details
Born Jean-Paul Harney
(1931-02-02) February 2, 1931
Lévis, Quebec[1]
Political party New Democrat
Parents Michael Harney, Blanche Lemieux[1]
Residence Prince Edward County, Ontario
Alma mater Queen's University
Profession Poet, Professor
Religion Unitarian

John Paul Harney (born Jean-Paul Harney; born February 2, 1931) is a professor and former Canadian politician.


  • Academic life 1
  • Political career 2
  • Electoral record 3
    • Federal 3.1
      • Wellington South 3.1.1
      • Scarborough West 3.1.2
      • Lévis 3.1.3
    • Québec 3.2
      • Louis-Hébert 3.2.1
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
    • Bibliography 5.1
  • External links 6

Academic life

After completing his M.A. at Queen's University in 1961, he became an assistant professor of English at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, Ontario, and taught there until 1966.[2] He was also a poet, and gave readings at the Guelph Public Library.[3] In 1970, he became a humanities professor at York University,[4] and was still a professor of Canadian studies there in 1992.[5]

Political career

Harney ran as a candidate for the New Democratic Party throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

From 1962 to 1965, he stood as a candidate for the House of Commons of Canada in Wellington South.[1] After moving to Toronto, he then stood once more as a candidate in Scarborough West in the 1968 federal election. He won a seat in the House of Commons in the 1972 federal election, but was defeated in 1974. He continued to campaign in subsequent elections there up to 1980. In addition, he sought the NDP nomination in the 1978 federal byelection for Broadview, but lost out to Bob Rae.[7]

He was the Provincial Secretary for the Ontario New Democratic Party from 1966 to 1970. In that time, he was also the campaign manager for that party's breakthrough campaign in the 1967 general election.[8]

He campaigned to become national leader at the NDP's 1971 leadership convention, coming in third behind winner David Lewis and runner-up James Laxer. He stood as a candidate again at the 1975 leadership convention,[9] where he got as far as the second ballot.

Pierre-Marc Johnson questions John Harney about the future of his party

Born in Quebec and fluently bilingual, Harney returned to the province and became leader of the Quebec wing of the federal NDP in 1984. He continued to teach at York University, while living in Sillery, Quebec.[1] He led the relaunching of the New Democratic Party of Quebec as a provincial party in 1985[10] but was unable to win a seat either in the federal House of Commons (running in Lévis in two elections) or in the Quebec National Assembly (running in Louis-Hébert).[11]

Late in the 1988 federal election campaign, he called a press conference to support using the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution to protect Quebec's francophone culture and restrict the use of other languages.[12] This press conference was not endorsed by the NDP leadership, and many believe that it cost the party support among Quebec's anglophones.[13] He stepped down later that year. Although he favoured the Bloc Québécois position on Quebec sovereignty, he refused to consider becoming one of its candidates as long as it pursued independence from Canada.[5]

Harney is retired and lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and has been involved in promoting local causes.[14]

Electoral record


Wellington South

Canadian federal election, 1962
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Alfred Dryden HALES 11,345 42.0 -17.4
Liberal Roy MCVITTIE 8,508 31.5 -0.6
New Democratic John HARNEY 6,989 25.9 17.4
Social Credit Reginald YOUD 174 0.6 0.6
Total valid votes 27,016 100.0
Canadian federal election, 1963
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Alfred Dryden HALES 11,350 39.7 -2.3
Liberal Ralph DENT 10,713 37.5 6.0
New Democratic John HARNEY 6,391 22.3 -3.6
Social Credit Reginald YOUD 150 0.5 -0.1
Total valid votes 28,604 100.0
Canadian federal election, 1965
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Alfred Dryden HALES 11,264 38.8 -0.9
New Democratic John HARNEY 9,190 31.6 7.3
Liberal Donald E. MCFADZEN 8,595 29.6 -7.9
Total valid votes 29,049 100.0

Scarborough West

Canadian federal election, 1968
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal David WEATHERHEAD 14,889 42.9
New Democratic John Paul HARNEY 12,473 35.9
Progressive Conservative Herb CROSBY 7,340 21.2
Total valid votes 34,702 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1972
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
New Democratic John Paul HARNEY 15,028 36.4 +0.5
Liberal David WEATHERHEAD 13,635 33.0 -9.9
Progressive Conservative Basil CLARK 12,539 30.4 +9.2
Independent Roger TENTREY 103 0.2 +0.2
Total valid votes 41,305 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1974
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Alan MARTIN 13,702 36.6 +3.6
New Democratic John Paul HARNEY 12,298 32.8 -3.6
Progressive Conservative Basil CLARK 11,339 30.2 -0.2
Marxist–Leninist Linda TURNBULL 89 0.2 +0.2
Independent Harold ROWBOTTOM 61 0.2 0.0
Total valid votes 37,489 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1979
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Bill WIGHTMAN 15,697 36.4 +6.2
Liberal Alan MARTIN 13,523 31.4 -5.2
New Democratic John Paul HARNEY 13,437 31.2 -1.6
Libertarian D'Arcy J. CAIN 257 0.6 +0.6
Communist Tom BULL 114 0.3 +0.3
Marxist–Leninist Brenda MILLER 56 0.1 -0.1
Total valid votes 43,084 100.00
Canadian federal election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal David WEATHERHEAD 14,316 35.1 +3.7
New Democratic John Paul HARNEY 13,146 32.2 +1.0
Progressive Conservative Bill WIGHTMAN 12,744 31.3 -5.1
Libertarian D'Arcy J. CAIN 401 1.0 +0.4
Communist John MACLENNAN 92 0.2 -0.1
Marxist–Leninist Brenda MILLER 66 0.2 +0.1
Total valid votes 40,765 100.00


Canadian federal election, 1984
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Gabriel Fontaine 32,338 49.6
Liberal Gaston Gourde 17,283 26.4
New Democratic Jean-Paul Harney 12,076 18.5
Parti nationaliste Antoine Dubé 1,649 2.5
Rhinoceros Raymond Emiliano Marquis 1,630 2.5
Social Credit Jean-Paul Rhéaume 216 0.3
Total valid votes 65,192 100.0
Canadian federal election, 1988
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Gabriel Fontaine 33,673 57.4 7.8
Liberal Denis Sonier 13,002 22.2 -4.2
New Democratic Jean-Paul Harney 11,501 19.6 1.1
Social Credit Jean-Paul Rhéaume 445 0.8 0.5
Total valid votes 58,621 100.0



Quebec general election, 1985
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Réjean Doyon 16,913 51.9 -0.9
Parti Québécois Louise Beaudoin 12,279 37.7 -6.4
     New Democrat Jean-Paul Harney 2,798 8.6 +8.6
     Progressive Conservative Claudette J. Hethrington 287 0.9 +0.9
     Independentist Emmanuel Le Brasseur 252 0.8 +0.8
     Christian Socialist Michel Durocher 58 0.2 +0.2


  1. ^ Since 1898, it had been the policy of the provincial government that no civil servant, under any condition, could ever be involved in politics. As the Ontario Agricultural College was then a branch of the Ontario Department of Agriculture, Harney was subject to the policy. The ensuing controversy in 1962 was resolved when Premier John Robarts announced that civil servants would be entitled to take a leave of absence in order to campaign.[6]


  1. ^ a b c  
  2. ^ "Four chase Lewis for the NDP leadership".  
  3. ^ Joan Finnigan (January 20, 1962). "Canadian poetry finds its voice in a Golden Age".  
  4. ^ Canadian Press (June 3, 1985). "Quebec's fledgling NDP picks Harney to lead way".  
  5. ^ a b Yves Boisvert (June 22, 1992). "Le Bloc québécois: une coalition plutôt hétéroclite" (PDF).  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Rae, Bob (1996). From Protest to Power: Personal Reflections on a Life in Politics. Toronto. p. 57. 
  8. ^ Jack Cahill (January 17, 1967). "The gray flannel "brains trust" that runs Ontario's NDP".  
  9. ^ Peter Daniel (June 27, 1975). "Ed Broadbent: Race for the leadership".  
  10. ^ Fraser, Graham, "Toronto university professor runs as Quebec NDP chief," Globe and Mail, September 3, 1984
  11. ^ "General election results , 2 December 1985". 
  12. ^ Jennifer Robinson, "NDP would restrict English rights; 'West Island' no longer running party, vice-president declares," Montreal Gazette, 5 November 1988, A1.
  13. ^ Ingrid Peritz, "Language hard-liners hurt NDP in west end," Montreal Gazette, 23 November 1988, A10.
  14. ^ "Minutes: Corporation of the County of Prince Edward". County of Prince Edward. June 28, 2004. p. 3. 


  • John Paul Harney (1960). "Alternatives for My Son".  
  • John Paul Harney (1961). Matter, spirit and Paradise Lost (M.A.).  

External links

  • John Paul Harney – Parliament of Canada biography
  • "Ontario CCF-NDP Oral History Project". Oral History Centre. 
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