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Bill Graham (politician)

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Bill Graham
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Bill Graham

William C. Graham (born March 17, 1939, in Montreal, Quebec) is Canada's current Minister of National Defence.

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Personal life

Graham grew up in Montreal and Vancouver. He attended Upper Canada College, Trinity College, Toronto, the University of Toronto and the University of Paris where he received his Doctorate in Law. While attending Trinity College he served as XCVI, the 96th scribe of the Venerable Father Episkopon. After some time in private practise, he went on to become a professor at the University of Toronto teaching subjects such as International Trade Law. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Université de Montréal and McGill University.

Graham is married and has two children and three grandchildren.

He has occasionally been targeted by rumours in Frank Magazine alleging that he is bisexual. As a result of the Frank allegations, Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant once heckled Graham in the House by shouting "Ask your boyfriend!" at him as he answered a question. Although Graham's riding includes Toronto's Church and Wellesley gay village, and he consequently has a gay-friendly voting record in the House of Commons, Graham has never publicly acknowledged the Frank rumours in any way.

In 1960, Graham drove a Land Rover from England to Pakistan and back. The adventure took five months.

Political life

He was first elected as MP for the riding of Rosedale (now Toronto Centre) in 1993. He was re-elected in the same riding in 1997 and 2000. Toronto Centre is one of the most diverse ridings in Canada, including upper-class neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Cabbagetown, public housing developments (Moss Park and Regent Park). Church and Wellesley, the gay village is also in this riding.

In parliament, Graham became a member and then the chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in January 2002. In December 2003, the new Prime Minister, Paul Martin, Jr., appointed Graham to the same position in his cabinet. In the cabinet shuffle that followed the 2004 Canadian election, Graham was moved to the Defence portfolio. He later made controversal remarks about Canada paying the price if it did not join the missile defense program with the United States.

Honours

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law has established the William C. Graham Chair in International Law and Development.

For his work in promoting French language and culture in Ontario (he is a past president of the Alliance française of Toronto):

  • Prix Jean-Baptiste Rousseaux
  • Médaille d'argent de la ville de Paris (City of Paris Silver Medal)
  • Gold Medal of the Alliance française
  • Ordre du mérite de l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (Order of Merit of the Association of French-speaking Jurists of Ontario)
  • Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
  • Chevalier of the Ordre de la Pléiade

External links

27th Ministry - Government of Paul Martin
Cabinet Posts (2)
Preceded by:
David Pratt
Minister of National Defence
(2004-)
Succeeded by:
(incumbent)
Preceded by:
cont'd from 26th Min.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
(2003-2004)
Succeeded by:
Pierre Pettigrew
26th Ministry - Government of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Posts (1)
Preceded by:
John Manley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
(2002-2003)
Succeeded by:
cont'd into 27th Min.
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