Richard Patten

Richard Patten

Richard Andrew Patten (born May 13, 1942 in Montreal, Quebec) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of Ottawa Centre.

Patten was educated at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal. Before entering public life, he was a manager with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and served as President of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. Patten sat on an NGO advisory committee to the World Bank while with the CCIC.

Patten was first elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1987 provincial election, defeating incumbent New Democrat Evelyn Gigantes by just over 2000 votes in Ottawa Centre. He was appointed a cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson, serving as Ontario Minister of Government Services from September 29, 1987 to August 2, 1989, and as Ontario Minister of Correctional Services from August 2, 1989 to October 1, 1990.

Gigantes defeated Patten during the snap 1990 provincial election, in which the New Democrats scored an upset victory over the Liberals. For the next five years, Patten served as President and CEO of the "Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation", doing extensive fundraising work for the organization.

Support for the Ontario NDP declined considerably between 1990 and 1995, and Patten was able to defeat Gigantes again in the 1995 provincial election (this time by about 1700 votes). The Progressive Conservatives won the election, and Patten joined 29 other Liberals in the opposition. He attempted to mobilize a campaign for the party's leadership in 1996, but failed in this effort and subsequently supported Dwight Duncan. When Duncan was eliminated after the third ballot, he endorsed Dalton McGuinty, the winner ("Ottawa Citizen", 2 December 1996).

In the 1999 provincial election, Patten was elected over his Progressive Conservative opponent Ray Kostuck by about 2000 votes; New Democrat Elisabeth Arnold, who was expected to be his primary opposition, finished third. The Progressive Conservatives again won the election, and Patten remained in opposition. Patten was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma during this parliament.

The Liberals won the 2003 election and Patten was re-elected in Ottawa Centre by over 10,000 votes, the easiest victory of his career. He was not appointed to the cabinet of Dalton McGuinty, but was instead named parliamentary assistant to Gerard Kennedy, the Ontario Minister of Education on October 23, 2003. On September 27, 2004, he was named parliamentary assistant to Joseph Cordiano, the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade. On November 16, 2006, Patten was named Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.

It became clear in political circles that lack of support for Dalton McGuinty's ultimately successful leadership run stood in his way of returning to the cabinet table.

On March 14, 2007, Patten announced he would not seek re-election in the upcoming election.

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