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Ralph Goodale

The Honourable
Ralph Goodale
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Regina—Wascana
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Riding re-established
In office
October 25, 1993 – June 2, 1997
Preceded by Larry Schneider
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Wascana
In office
June 2, 1997 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by first member
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Assiniboia
In office
July 8, 1974 – May 22, 1979
Preceded by Bill Knight
Succeeded by Len Gustafson
MLA for Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
In office
Preceded by Allen Engel
Succeeded by Jack Wolfe
Personal details
Born Ralph Edward Goodale
(1949-10-05) October 5, 1949
Regina, Saskatchewan
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Pam Goodale
Residence Regina, Saskatchewan
Profession Barrister, solicitor, broadcaster, business executive, lawyer
Religion Lutheran

Ralph Edward Goodale, PC, MP (born October 5, 1949) was Canada's Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2006, and leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party from 1981 to 1988. He has been the Liberal Member of Parliament for Regina-Wascana since 1993 (known as simply Wascana from 1997 to 2015), having previously served as the member for Assiniboia from 1974 to 1979. He was named Opposition House Leader by interim Liberal leader Bill Graham in 2006, and continued to serve in this role under the leadership of Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff until September 2010 when he was promoted to Deputy Leader—a post he retained under Justin Trudeau.


  • Early life 1
  • Federal politics, 1974-1979 2
  • Provincial politics 3
  • Return to federal politics 4
    • Defeated in 1988 election 4.1
    • In government, 1993-2006 4.2
    • In opposition, 2006-present 4.3
      • 2006 Liberal Party leadership election 4.3.1
      • Proposed coalition government, 2008 4.3.2
      • 2011 election 4.3.3
  • Electoral record 5
    • Regina—Wascana 5.1
    • Assiniboia-Gravelbourg 5.2
    • Assiniboia 5.3
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Goodale was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and raised on a farm near Wilcox, Saskatchewan. He was a member of Scouts Canada and earned the rank of Queen's Scout.[1] He first attended the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus and then obtained a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he was awarded the Gold Medal for academic achievement.

Federal politics, 1974-1979

Active at politics from a young age, he was first elected to the Parliament of Canada in the 1974 election at the age of 24 from the seat of Assiniboia. He served as a government backbencher until the 1979 election, when he was defeated.

Provincial politics

In 1981, Goodale was named leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party.

He led that party to a very poor showing in the 1982 provincial election, in which the party received 4.51% of the popular vote and won no seats in the provincial legislature. However, Goodale was the only Liberal candidate to receive more than 1,000 votes.[2]

The party won 9.99% of the vote in the 1986 provincial election, but only Goodale was elected to the legislature. Goodale ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility in this election, arguing that both the Progressive Conservative and New Democrat (NDP) parties favoured excessive spending policies, typified by their proposals for a Keynesian-style stimulation of the provincial economy through subsidized home improvement and renovation schemes.

Return to federal politics

Defeated in 1988 election

Goodale resigned as leader to run for the federal Liberals in the 1988 election for the seat of Regina—Wascana, but he was narrowly defeated by former Regina mayor Larry Schneider, who later went on to serve briefly in Kim Campbell's cabinet. Beginning earlier that year and prior to his resignation, Goodale's executive assistant was Jason Kenney. Kenney would become a Conservative Party of Canada MP in a Calgary riding.

Goodale then spent five years in the private sector, working for companies such as the Pioneer Life Assurance Company, Pioneer Lifeco Inc., and Sovereign Life Insurance Co.; he has stated in interviews that he felt his political career had ended.

In government, 1993-2006

Goodale in 2004.

Goodale contested Regina-Wascana again in the 1993 federal election and was elected as part of the Liberals' massive landslide that year. As a member of the new Chrétien cabinet, Goodale was named Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He has the prenominal "the Honourable" and the postnominal "PC" for life by virtue of being made a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on November 4, 1993.[3] He has been reelected for this riding, known as Wascana from 1997 to 2015, at every election since then.

In 1997, he became the Minister of Natural Resources. In 2002, he was named Minister of Public Works and Government Services. The Department of Public Works and Government Services had been plagued by scandals.

A close ally of Paul Martin, Goodale was appointed to the senior portfolio of Finance Minister when Martin became Prime Minister on December 12, 2003. In that capacity he tabled two consecutive balanced budgets and launched the Government's productivity agenda.

On December 28, 2005, a letter surfaced from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli confirming the force was launching a criminal investigation into whether details regarding government tax policies relating to income trust funds were leaked from the Finance Minister's office. Goodale said he would co-operate completely with any investigation, but would not step aside while the RCMP continued their probe. The investigation deals only with the Department of Finance, and not the minister himself.[4] On February 15, 2007 the RCMP announced the conclusion of the income trust investigation and laid a charge of 'Breach of Trust' against Serge Nadeau, an official in the Department of Finance.[5] Goodale was cleared of any wrongdoing.[6] Goodale blamed the NDP's Judy Wasylycia-Leis for sabotaging the Liberals in the 2006 election.[7]

In opposition, 2006-present

Goodale won re-election to the House of Commons in the general election on January 23, 2006, but lost his cabinet position with the Liberal defeat.

2006 Liberal Party leadership election

After the Liberals' defeat, and Paul Martin's election night announcement that he would be resigning as party leader, Goodale initially indicated that he was not interested in succeeding Martin in that post. "I do not anticipate ever having to cross that bridge," he said. "I rule it out."[8] On March 16, 2006, however, the Toronto Star reported that Goodale was reconsidering his decision, and stated that he may enter the Liberal leadership election after all.[9] In the end he declined, citing his inability to speak French as a key reason. On November 28, 2006, he endorsed Bob Rae to be the next leader of the Liberal Party.[10] After the third ballot, Bob Rae, who finished third, was eliminated. Goodale then endorsed Stéphane Dion, the eventual winner.

Goodale was opposed to David Orchard's candidacy in the by-election for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.[11] Dion terminated the nomination contest and appointed Joan Beatty as the candidate.

Proposed coalition government, 2008

In November 2008, the three opposition parties in the Canadian parliament indicated their intention to defeat the Stephen Harper government in a motion of no confidence, and expressed their desire for Governor General Michaëlle Jean to ask a member of the opposition to form a new government. There was initially some speculation that Goodale would become Prime Minister of Canada as leader of the proposed coalition government.[12] However, the coalition agreement simply made "the leader of the Liberal Party" Prime Minister, and the Liberals agreed shortly after that Stéphane Dion would lead the government on an interim basis until a new Liberal leader was chosen.[13] In the end, parliament was prorogued by Jean at the request of the prime minister before a confidence vote could be put to the house. By the time parliament resumed in January 2009, Michael Ignatieff had become interim leader of the party. He did not seek to bring down the government and agreed to support Harper's budget with amendments.

2011 election

Goodale was one of the 34 Liberal MPs who was returned in the 2011 federal election.

The NDP surpassed the Liberals in number of seats, becoming the official opposition, resulted in priority in choosing parliamentary offices. They requested that Goodale forfeit his suite in the coveted Central Block. The Liberals saw this as a measure of disrespect to Goodale, noting that he had seniority as a former cabinet minister and house leader, despite this being standard practice and noting the Conservatives had not asked any Liberals to give up their offices.[7]

Electoral record


Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Ralph Goodale 23,552 55.13 +13.37
Conservative Michael Kram 12,931 30.27 -5.44
New Democratic April Bourgeois 5,362 12.55 -7.53
Green Frances Simonson 878 2.06 -0.4
Total valid votes/Expense limit 42,723 100.0     $191,756.36
Total rejected ballots 176
Turnout 42,889 75.4
Eligible voters 56,656
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 15,823 40.8 -5.2 $65,366
Conservative Ian Shields 14,291 36.9 +2.3 $74,976
New Democratic Marc Spooner 7,681 19.8 +5.1 $25,821
Green Bill Clary 954 2.5 -2.1 $755
Total valid votes 38,749 100.0
Total rejected ballots 106 0.3 0.0
Turnout 38,855 68.1 +3.9
Eligible voters 57,034
Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 17,028 46.0 -5.7 $66,057
Conservative Michelle Hunter 12,798 34.6 +4.4 $66,686
New Democratic Stephen Moore 5,418 14.7 +0.2 $19,393
Green George Wooldridge 1,706 4.6 +1.1 $4,204
Total valid votes/Expense limit 36,950 100.0 $77,030
Total rejected ballots 121 0.3 +0.1
Turnout 37,071 64.2 -6
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 20,666 51.8 -5.4 $66,648
Conservative Brad Farquhar 11,990 30.0 +5.8 $67,579
New Democratic Helen Yum 5,880 14.7 -1.3 $30,123
Green Nigel Taylor 1,378 3.5 +0.9 $1,653
Total valid votes 39,914 100.0
Total rejected ballots 94 0.2 0.0
Turnout 40,008 70 +7
Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 20,567 57.2 +16.0 $43,226
Conservative Doug Cryer 8,709 24.2 -11.9 $57,802
New Democratic Erin M.K. Weir 5,771 16.0 -5.5 $29,783
Green Darcy Robilliard 928 2.6
Total valid votes 35,975 100.0
Total rejected ballots 80 0.2 -0.1
Turnout 36,055 63.1 +0.9
Canadian federal election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 14,244 41.2 -0.7 $56,685
Alliance James Rybchuk 12,492 36.1 +7.2 $59,667
New Democratic Garth Ormiston 7,446 21.5 -6.8 $58,098
Canadian Action Wayne Gilmer 401 1.2 +0.4 $1,619
Total valid votes 34,583 100.0
Total rejected ballots 98 0.3 -0.1
Turnout 34,681 62.3 -4.0
Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 14,077 41.9 -2.4 $54,021
New Democratic John Burton 9,530 28.4 +7.2 $37,942
Reform Glen Blager 7,261 21.6 +5.9 $39,285
Progressive Conservative Michael Morris 2,477 7.4 -8.4 $18,266
Canadian Action Walter P. Sigda 264 0.8 $1,822
Total valid votes 33,609 100.0
Total rejected ballots 136 0.4
Turnout 33,745 66.2
Canadian federal election, 1993
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal (x) Ralph Goodale 19,555 44.3 +11.5
New Democratic Donna Shire 9,323 21.1 -11.8
Progressive Conservative Larry Schneider 6,943 15.7 -18.3
Reform Andrew Jackson 6,935 15.7
National John Keen 734 1.7
Natural Law C. Angus Hunt 228 0.5
Christian Heritage Hugh Owens 192 0.4
Independent Barry James Farr 185 0.4
Canada Party Walter P. Sigda 64 0.1
Total valid votes 44,159 100.0
Canadian federal election, 1988
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative (x) Larry Schneider 15,339 34.0
New Democratic Dickson Bailey 14,829 32.9
Liberal Ralph Goodale 14,804 32.8
Communist Kimball Cariou 76 0.2
Libertarian Ian Christopher Madsen 65 0.1
Total valid votes 45,113 100.0


Saskatchewan General Election 1986: Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Ralph Edward Goodale 3,246 41.01 +8.66
New Democratic Allen Willard Engel 2,395 30.26 -3.43
     PC Bill Fancourt 2,273 28.72 +0.14
Total 7,914 100.00

Saskatchewan General Election 1982: Assiniboia-Gravelbourg
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Allen Willard Engel 2,875 33.69 -4.80
Liberal Ralph Edward Goodale 2,760 32.34 -0.43
     PC Rene Archambault 2,438 28.57 -0.13
Western Canada Concept Hugh Clarke 459 5.37 -
Total 8,532


Canadian federal election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Len Gustafson 11,251
Liberal Ralph Goodale 10,167
New Democratic Randy MacKenzie 9,710
Social Credit Walton Eddy 178
Canadian federal election, 1979
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Len Gustafson 12,365
New Democratic Bill Knight 11,183
Liberal Ralph Goodale 9,955
Social Credit Walton Eddy 292
Canadian federal election, 1974
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ralph Goodale 9,986
New Democratic Bill Knight 9,441
Progressive Conservative Tom Hart 7,105
Social Credit Rod McRae 246


  1. ^ [4] Archived November 28, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [5]
  3. ^ Biodata
  4. ^ "Department of Finance investigation". 2005-12-29. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  5. ^ "RCMP investigation conclusion". 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  6. ^ "Goodale cleared in trust case". 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  7. ^ a b Taber, Jane (May 31, 2011). "First went their colleagues, now the Grits are losing office space". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  8. ^ 
  9. ^ The Star (Toronto) 
  10. ^ [6] Archived November 16, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Delacourt, Susan, "Dion accused of snubbing Orchard", Toronto Star, January 5, 2008
  12. ^ Whittington, Les; Tonda MacCharles; Bruce Campion-Smith (2008-11-30). "Tories blink first in showdown".  
  13. ^ "Liberals, NDP, Bloc sign deal on proposed coalition".  

External links

  • Ralph Goodale – Parliament of Canada biography
27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
John Manley Minister of Finance
Jim Flaherty
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Don Boudria Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Stephen Owen
' Minister of State
NB: no portfolio specified (while House Leader)
Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources
Herb Dhaliwal
Charlie Mayer Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
NB: "Minister of Agriculture" before 1995
Lyle Vanclief
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
position created Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board
Reg Alcock
Anne McLellan Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Denis Coderre
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Don Boudria
Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Hill, Conservative
Opposition House Leader
Succeeded by
David McGuinty, Liberal
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