Elmer Buchanan

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Elmer Buchanan
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byJim Pollock
Succeeded byHarry Danford
Personal details
Born1946 (age 72–73)
Havelock, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNew Democrat (1990-2006)
Liberal (2006-)
OccupationHigh-school teacher, treasurer

Elmer Buchanan (born c. 1946) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 1995 who represented the eastern Ontario riding of Hastings—Peterborough, he was a cabinet minister in the government of Bob Rae. Buchanan left the NDP to support Bob Rae's 2006 Liberal party leadership bid.


Buchanan was born in Havelock, Ontario and raised on a farm in Belmont Township where his family has lived since 1834. Buchanan studied at Queen's University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and also has a certificate from Teacher's College in Peterborough County, he worked as a high-school teacher in Hastings County, and was vice-principal of North Hastings High School for four years.[1][2]


Buchanan helped form the NDP association in Hastings in 1972. From 1975 to 1987 he campaigned for provincial office five times before his election in 1990.[1]

The NDP won a majority government under Bob Rae in the provincial election of 1990, and Buchanan defeated Jim Pollock by 896 votes,[3] he was named Minister of Agriculture and Food on October 1, 1990, and held this position for the entirety of the Rae government.[4][a]

Buchanan was one of the most successful ministers in the Rae government, and was widely praised for his handling of the agriculture portfolio. Premier Bob Rae said that he was "a constant source of sound advice, political savvy and practical intelligence."[5] While the Ontario NDP lost much of its rural support between 1990 and 1995, Buchanan remained personally popular within rural Ontario and with the agricultural community.

Buchanan stabilized funding to many rural centres in 1994, and was a supporter of fuel ethanol throughout his time in government,[6] he also promoted a rural investment pool, and extended unionization rights to farm workers while ensuring that farms with fifty or fewer employees would not be affected.[7]

The NDP was defeated in the provincial election of 1995, and Buchanan's personal popularity was not enough to save him from the party's loss of support in rural areas, he lost to Progressive Conservative Harry Danford by almost 8,000 votes, amid a provincial majority for the Progressive Conservative Party.[8]

Despite some cutbacks during Ontario's recession of the early 1990s, the agriculture ministry had a budget of about $600 million in 1994 and kept an agricultural representative in each of the 52 county offices. By 2000, under the government of Mike Harris, the budget had been cut to $300 million and the local representatives had been eliminated.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Bob Rae
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
David Ramsay Minister of Agriculture and Food[a]
Noble Villeneuve

Later life[edit]

Buchanan initially considered running for the leadership of the NDP in 1996, but declined,[9] he was instead elected as treasurer of the Ontario NDP, and set tough targets for eliminating the party's post-1995 debt. He also served as a vice-president on the party's executive, and became a board member of the Children's Aid Society.

In early 2005, he assisted the NDP's by-election campaign in the rural riding of Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey. However, since his endorsement of Bob Rae's bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party, he has severed his ties to the NDP.

In 2008, Buchanan was named Acting Chair of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.[10]

On October 11, 2013 Buchanan was appointed Board Chair of the Ontario Racing Commission.[11]



  1. ^ a b Ministry was renamed as Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in 1994. Buchanan continued in this expanded role until 1995.


  1. ^ a b 1992: Who's Who in Canada (83 ed.). Toronto: Global Press. 1992. p. 103.
  2. ^ "Ministers bring range of experience to cabinet". The Ottawa Citizen. October 2, 1990. p. A5.
  3. ^ "Ontario election: Riding-by-riding voting results". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 1990. p. A12.
  4. ^ "Ontario cabinet". The Windsor Star. October 1, 1990. p. A4.
  5. ^ Rae, Bob (1996). From Protest to Power: Personal Reflections on a Life in Politics. Penguin Book of Canada. pp. 133–4.
  6. ^ Romahn, Jim (February 28, 1994). "Pact on testing will help smooth trade". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. p. B11.
  7. ^ Van Moorsel, Greg (March 17, 1994). "Farmers protest labor legislation". Kitchener - Waterloo Record. p. B5.
  8. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  9. ^ Wright, Lisa (February 20, 1996). "Hampton seeks NDP leadership". Toronto Star. p. A8.
  10. ^ "Community groups begin merger". Better Farming. December 12, 2008.
  11. ^ The Peterborough Examiner, October 11, 2013

External links[edit]