Frank Miller (politician)

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The Hon. Frank Miller
Missing image
Frank Miller

Term of Office:February, 1985 - June 26, 1985
Predecessor:William Davis
Successor:David Peterson
Date of Birth:May 14, 1927
Died:July 21, 2000
Place of Birth:Toronto, Ontario
Profession:Engineer, Businessman
Political Party:Progressive Conservative
This article is about Frank Miller, the Canadian politician. For other people with this name, see Frank Miller (disambiguation).

Frank Miller (May 14, 1927 - July 21, 2000) was a Canadian politician, who served briefly as Premier of Ontario in 1985.

Miller had a successful career as a professional engineer, car dealer and resort operator before entering politics in 1967 as a member of the Bracebridge town council, serving until 1970. In the 1971 Ontario provincial election, he ran for election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Progressive Conservative, and was elected. He was re-elected in the 1975, 1977 and 1981 elections.

In 1974, he joined the cabinet of Premier William Davis, and served variously as health minister, provincial treasurer and industry miniter.

When Davis retired, Miller defeated Larry Grossman, Roy McMurtry and Dennis Timbrell for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party in its January 1985 leadership convention. Davis and his predecessor John Robarts were considered Red Tories and ran relatively progressive administrations that increased public investment and expanded the public sector. Miller, on the other hand, was seen as a right-winger, taking the party in a more conservative direction.

Once Davis officially stepped down in February, Miller became Premier. He called an election for May 1985, but his campaign was considered disastrous. He elicited controversy when he refused to agree to a television debate with his rivals David Peterson of the Ontario Liberal Party and Bob Rae of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Miller's situation was also made more difficult by Davis' decision to extend public funding for Catholic Separate Schools to grade 13, a decision that had been left to Miller to implement and that was unpopular with some in his party's traditional rural Protestant base.

The election resulted in a minority government, in which the Tories had only four more seats than the Liberals, with the NDP holding the balance of power. After several weeks of negotiations, the NDP signed an agreement with Peterson to support a Liberal minority government. Miller's government was soon defeated in the legislature on a Motion of No Confidence. As a result of the Liberal-NDP accord, the Lieutenant-Governor asked Peterson to form a government, ending the 42 years of successive Conservative governments.

Miller resigned as Progressive Conservative leader in a November 1985 leadership convention, and was replaced by Larry Grossman.

The Tories did not return to power in Ontario until the 1995 election, when Mike Harris, who Miller had brought to his cabinet as Minister of Natural Resources, became premier.

Miller returned to private life, passing away in 2000. His son, Norm Miller, entered provincial politics in 2001, winning a by-election in the riding of Parry Sound—Muskoka after Ernie Eves resigned the seat.

Preceded by:
William Davis

Premier of Ontario

Succeeded by:
David Peterson

Preceded by:
William Davis

Ontario Conservative Leaders

Succeeded by:
Larry Grossman


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