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Rick Bartolucci (born October 10, 1943) is a politician in Ontariomarker, Canada. He has represented Sudbury in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario since 1995, and is a cabinet minister in the government of Dalton McGuinty. Bartolucci is a member of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Early life and career

Bartolucci was born in Sudburymarker, has degrees from Laurentian Universitymarker and the North Bay Teacher's Collegemarker, and worked as a teacher and school principal for thirty years before becoming an MPP. He was a Sudbury alderman and regional councillor from 1979 to 1982 and again from 1985 to 1991, and served as the city's deputy mayor for a time.

Member of Provincial Parliament

Opposition member

Bartolucci was first elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1995 provincial election, defeating New Democratic Party incumbent Sharon Murdock. The Progressive Conservative Party of Mike Harris won a majority government in this election, and Bartolucci entered the legislature as a member of the Official Opposition. He was appointed as his party's critic for Northern Development and Culture and Communications. In December 1995, he helped organize a meeting at Queen's Parkmarker where artists and cultural workers criticized the Harris government's cuts to the arts sector. He later criticized the Harris government's decision to close two of Sudbury's three hospitals, arguing that it would compromise patient care.

Bartolucci was one of the three MPPs prevented from attending the Harris government's first Speech from the Throne in September 1995, when police officers contracted by the government to guard against protesters refused them entry into the legislature. The other MPPs were veteran opposition member Sean Conway and cabinet minister Cam Jackson. Many opposition legislators and journalists later described the police presence as excessive. A similar incident took place in March 1996, when riot police contracted by the Harris government burst into Bartolucci's legislative office without any warning or explanation, just before a melee with protesting public service workers. The police actions were widely criticized on this occasion as well.

Bartolucci was a co-manager of Dwight Duncan's bid to lead the Ontario Liberal Party in 1996, and moved to the camp of Gerard Kennedy when Duncan was eliminated on the third ballot of the party's leadership convention. Kennedy was defeated on the final ballot by Dalton McGuinty.

Bartolucci introduced a Private Member's Bill in early 1997 to limit class sizes in Ontario's public and separate schools. The government dropped this bill from the legislative agenda in January 1998. He later introduced a bill giving police the power to apprehend any person under eighteen who was involved in prostitution, and take that person to a safe house. The government introduced legislation modeled on Bartolucci's proposal in 2000, and passed it into law in June 2002. Fourteen months later, Bartolucci complained that the law had not yet been enacted.

Bartolucci was re-elected by an increased margin in the 1999 provincial election, as the Progressive Conservatives won a second majority government. He was appointed to the Liberal Party's election committee after the campaign, and later served as Chief Opposition Whip. In 2000, he criticized the provincial government for requiring that cancer patients in Northern Ontario pay most of their transportation costs to and from treatment in other areas, while patients referred from Toronto to Sudbury were provided with free transportation and lodging.

Bartolucci made frequent calls for Highway 69 to be widened between Sudbury and Parry Soundmarker, citing a growing number of fatal accidents in the area. He also chaired the JoeMac committee, which undertook a national campaign to have the killers of Sudbury police officer Joe MacDonald moved to a maximum security prison. The group also opposed what it described as lenient treatment for federal offenders. Bartolucci was endorsed by the Sudbury Police Association in the 2003 provincial election.

Cabinet minister

Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Bartolucci was re-elected by a landslide in 2003, as the Liberals won a majority government across the province. On October 23, 2003, he was appointed as Minister of Northern Development and Mines in the newly-formed government of Dalton McGuinty.


Bartolucci announced in March 2004 that he would end the previous government's efforts to privatize the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. He also called for the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to re-focus its attention on job creation, with support from the private sector.

Bartolucci introduced the McGuinty government's Northern Prosperity Plan in December 2004, the highlights of which included a revamped Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, a GO North program to attract investors to the region, and a pilot Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Program. In July 2005, he announced a Northern Ontario Youth Internship and Co-op program designed to give young workers an incentive to stay in northern Ontario. Bartolucci announced a twelve-year project for the expansion of Highway 69 in June 2005, and brought forward a new provincial mining strategy in March 2006.

In January 2006, Bartolucci announced that the McGuinty government would investigate the possibility of an all-season road to the coast of James Baymarker. This decision was welcomed by some First Nations leaders, who have long experienced difficult access to and from the area.

Bartolucci presided over the opening of Ontario's first diamond mine in June 2006, and spoke of "limitless" potential for growth in the field. The McGuinty government later proposed a new tax on diamond mining. After criticism by groups such as DeBeers Canada, Bartolucci modified the tax to include deductions for new mining construction, and for expenditures made through agreements with aboriginal communities.

Mining and First Nations communities

In August 2006, Justice Patrick Smith of the Ontario Superior Court issued a ruling against the mining exploration company Platinex Inc. in its ongoing battle with the remote Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwugmarker aboriginal community. Platinex was ordered not to work at the site for five months, and was ordered to participate in a consultation process involving the province. Bartolucci welcomed this decision as an "important step forward", but argued that it would not "impact the legitimacy of other mining claims in Ontario". Others questioned this interpretation. In January 2007, the McGuinty government formally applied for intervenor status to participate in injunction proceedings.

In mid-2007, the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations began a protest against proposed uranium mining in the Sharbot Lakemarker area. The protesters, who were supported by several members of the local non-aboriginal community, noted that they had not been consulted by the province before the company Frontenac Ventures began prospecting in the area. A spokesperson for Bartolucci's office confirmed that the province had a legal obligation to consult with First Nations communities before allowing exploration, and said that the province was attempting to "establish better processes" in dealing with such matters.


In early 2004, Bartolucci re-designated the Muskoka District as a part of southern rather than northern Ontario. The area had been a part of southern Ontario before 2000, when the Harris government chose to include it as part of the north. Bartolucci had criticized this decision at the time, arguing that it would allow wealthy cottage communities to access funds earmarked for northern development. Bartolucci declined to intervene when Inco announced the closure of its Copper Cliff copper refinery in May 2005, saying that he would not compel a company to keep open a financially troubled entity. The United Steelworkers of America protested this decision.

Bartolucci rang the ceremonial opening bell at the American Stock Exchangemarker in New York City on April 19, 2005, when he was in New York City to promote Northern Ontario mining. A press release indicated that he was the first Canadian cabinet minister to be given this honour. He later criticized the federal government of Stephen Harper in April 2006, arguing that its proposed settlement of a softwood lumber dispute with the United States would amount to "selling out Ontario".

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Bartolucci was re-elected without difficulty in the 2007 provincial election, in which the McGuinty government was re-elected with a second majority. On October 30, 2007, he was appointed as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Federal relations

In November 2007, Bartolucci called on the federal government of Stephen Harper to honour an election commitment to hire 2,500 new front-line police officers across Canada. He argued that these officers should be divided among the provinces by population, an arrangement that would give Ontario 1,000 new officers. He later accused the Harper government of short-changing his province, saying that the formula chosen by the federal government would likely result in Ontario receiving only 500 officers.

Bartolucci and Attorney General Chris Bentley appealed to the federal government to introduce stricter gun control legislation in March 2008, including a ban on handguns. They also criticized the federal government for extending an amnesty to gun owners who refuse to register their firearms. In April 2009, Bartolucci requested that the federal government reconsider its plans to weaken the provisions of the Canadian Firearms Registry.


Bartolucci has defended by use of tasers by Ontario police officers, and has described his province's approach to taser use as "very, very measured".. He rejected calls for a moratorium on taser use in June 2008, when an Ontario resident died after being tasered in a confrontation with police. In 2009, he rejected a request that Ontario ban taser use on minors.

Bartolucci supported the McGuinty government's decision to renew Julian Fantino's contract as head of the Ontario Provincial Police in 2008, and announced that Fantino would be re-appointed to another one-year term in 2009.

In February 2008, Bartolucci met with leaders of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation to discuss grievances about the territory's police detachments. Conditions at many detachments were described as unsafe, and it was estimated that the buildings would cost $23 million to be brought up to code. Bartolucci expressed sympathy, although he did not propose an immediate resolution. In May 2009, he announced that forty new officers would be added to Ontario's First Nations police services.

Goudge Report

Bartolucci announced in October 2008 that the McGuinty government would overhaul Ontario's forensic pathology system and provide compensation for past miscarriages of justice, after receiving a report from Justice Stephen Goudge. This report confirmed previous media revelations that several people had been wrongly convicted of serious crimes due to errors made by discredited pathologist Charles Randal Smith. Bartolucci personally apologized on behalf of the government to those who suffered as a result of these errors, and later announced that the McGuinty government would adopt all of the Goudge Report's recommendations into law. Among other things, the report called for the creation of an oversight council to monitor Ontario's chief coroner and chief forensic pathologist, the creation of a public complaints committee, and a provincial registry of pathologists. The Coroners Amendment Act was passed by the legislature in May 2009.


Bartolucci amended the province's sex offender registry in December 2007, after the provincial Auditor General reported that prisoners released from federal institutions had been omitted from the list.

Bartolucci introduced new animal protection legislation in April 2008, and the province's new Animal Welfare Act was officially proclaimed in March 2009. The law requires that veterinarians report suspected cases of animal abuse, gives legal protection for veterinarians who make good faith reports, and increases penalties for animal abuse.

In August 2008, a neighbourhood in northern Torontomarker was hit by a propane explosion that caused two deaths and extensive damage. Media reports noted that the propane site was located near two area schools, both of which had several windows blown out and ceilings and walls damaged. Bartolucci indicated that his government would undertake a cross-ministry review in accordance with Ontario's Technical Standards and Safety Authority to ensure that such an incident would not recur.

Bartolucci and others in the McGuinty government have rejected calls for a provincial inquiry into a native land dispute at Caledoniamarker, arguing that this dispute is a federal issue.

In July 2009, Bartolucci announced $10 million in new funding for the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy. Supporters of this program argue that it has led to a dramatic reduction in Toronto's crime rate since 2006.

In October 2009, Bartolucci faced some criticism from his constituents for avoiding a vote on Peter Kormos' private member's bill to ban the use of replacement workers during a strike. With Vale Inco workers in Sudbury on strike, Bartolucci chose to remain neutral on the legislation in the hope that his position would encourage the company and the striking workers to return to the bargaining table.

Electoral record

Bartolucci was also elected as a Sudbury councillor from 1979 to 1982, and from 1985 to 1991.

All provincial electoral information is taken from Elections Ontario. The expenditure entries for all elections after 1995 are taken from official candidate reports as listed by Elections Ontario. The figures cited are the Total Candidate's Campaign Expenses Subject to Limitation, and include transfers from constituency associations.


  1. Glen Colbourn, "Swing ridings can be crucial in today's vote", Hamilton Spectator, 8 June 1995, A15.
  2. Peter Goddard, "Who's Who in arts rally against cuts", Toronto Star, 5 December 1995, E4.
  3. "News of hospital merger raises health-care concerns", Globe and Mail, 1 October 1996, A9.
  4. Greg Crone, "Members chafe under beefed-up security", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 29 September 1995, A3.
  5. Greg Crone, "Actions of police embarrassed Ontario, opposition MPPs say", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 20 March 1996, D8.
  6. Chris Vander Doelen and Richard Brennan, "City success Duncan's model", Windsor Star, 26 June 1996, A3.
  7. Mike Whitehouse, "Northern light: Rick Bartolucci has battled for Northern Ontario", Sudbury Star, 13 December 2003, B10.
  8. Ian Urquhart, "No reins -- or whips in House today", Toronto Star, 6 February 1997, A23.
  9. Jim Poling, "Agostino's bill a housekeeping casualty", Hamilton Spectator, 12 January 1998, A5.
  10. Michelle Shephard, "Prostitute, 14, `overdoses' on cocaine while in custody", Toronto Star, 12 February 1999, A1.
  11. Richard Mackie, "New Ontario law aims to rescue child prostitutes", Globe and Mail, 19 December 2000, A8.
  12. "Ernie, tell the truth - why won't you protect our children?" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 12 August 2003.
  13. Doug Draper, "MCGUINTY SLAMS 'SPINELESS' ATTACK", Hamilton Spectator, 19 July 1999, A2.
  14. "McGuinty announces caucus critic changes", Canada NewsWire, 23 August 2002, 08:21.
  15. Ian Urquhart, "Tories no longer government fixers", Toronto Star, 7 June 2000, A1. Bartolucci indicated that he was exploring the possibility of a class-action lawsuit on the matter. See Lisa Priest, "Northern Ontario cancer patients face 'discrimination'", Globe and Mail, 17 June 2000, A3.
  16. "Cottage highway accidents kill six", Globe and Mail, 4 June 2001, A7; Pat Conroy, "Triple fatality renews protests --- Demands for Highway 69 widening ignored", Toronto Star, 9 August 2002, A4.
  17. "Local campaign goes national", Canadian Press, 18 March 2002, 22:39; Adrian Humphreys, "Prison knew alarms faulty years before escape: report", National Post, 8 March 2003, A7.
  18. Rob O'Flanagan, "Cops' union backs Bartolucci", Sudbury Star, 1 October 2003, A3.
  19. "Ontario government charts `bold new course' for Ontario Northland: Bartolucci", Canadian Press, 4 March 2004, 13:53.
  20. "Minister defends Heritage Fund", Globe and Mail, 23 December 2003, A9.
  21. "Premier McGuinty is moving ahead with a three-pronged plan that he says will bring prosperity to northern Ontario", Broadcast News, 3 December 2004, 18:00; "Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Campaign Extended" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 7 April 2005, 13:28.
  22. "New northern Ontario co-op program hopes to retain local students", Canadian Press, 22 July 2005, 21:20. In the same month, Bartolucci also committed $10 million to clean abandoned mine sites. See "Abandoned mine sites to be cleaned up with $10 million in provincial aid", Canadian Press, 27 July 2005, 19:59.
  23. Adelle Larmour, "Minister, MPPs square off over 69", Northern Ontario Business, 1 June 2005, 24.
  24. "Mining red tape to be eased Conservatives vow to help industry", Winnipeg Free Press, 7 March 2006, B6. The journal Mineweb summarizes the plan in this manner: "The strategy details four key objectives: promote long-term sustainability and global competitiveness; to support modern, safe and environmentally sound exploration and mining; to clarify and modernize stewardship of mineral resources; and to promote community development and opportunities for all." See "Ontario unveils new mineral strategy", Mineweb, 8 March 2006.
  25. "Province announces funding to study proposed all-season road to James Bay", Canadian Press, 25 January 2006, 19:30.
  26. Angela Pacienza, "Ontario opens first diamond mine", Globe and Mail, 20 June 2006, B7.
  27. "Ontario changes controversial diamond-mining tax", Reuters News, 5 July 2007, 13:32.
  28. Kate Harries, "Judge rules for native band", Globe and Mail, 1 August 2006, A9.
  29. "Ontario Committed to Resolution in Far North Mineral Exploration Dispute", Canada NewsWire, 10 January 2007, 11:40.
  30. Suzanne Ma, "Uranium drilling fight gets hot", Ottawa Citizen, 30 July 2007, D1.
  31. Susan Bourette, "Why Northern Ontario is creeping southward: Eves's Muskoka riding gets Heritage Fund access", Globe and Mail, 15 May 2000, A1; Richard Mackie, "Muskoka moves to Southern Ontario", Globe and Mail, 27 May 2004, A11.
  32. "Inco vows to close Sudbury, Ont., copper refinery despite plea from mayor", Canadian Press, 27 May 2005, 05:36; Sean Barry, "Union takes fight over Copper Cliff to mines minister", Metal Bulletin News Alert Service, 7 June 2005, 16:12.
  33. "Minister of Northern Development and Mines takes part in opening bell ceremony at the American Stock Exchange", Canada NewsWire, 18 April 2005, 13:43.
  34. Karen Howlett, "Reduction in quotas comes as surprise to Ontario", Globe and Mail, 27 April 2006, A14.
  35. "McGuinty Government Calls on Ottawa to Give Ontario Fair Share of 2,500 New Police Officers", Canada NewsWire, 15 November 2007, 13:15.
  36. Chinta Puxley, "Ontario Liberals wage fresh attack on Ottawa for holding up crucial funding", Canadian Press, 5 March 2008, 16:45.
  37. Tonda MacCharles, "Ontario protests federal gun amnesty plan", Toronto Star, 4 March 2008, A14.
  38. "Reconsider gun-registry changes, Ontario Grits urge federal Tories", Ottawa Citizen, 22 April 2009, A6.
  39. Steve Lambert, "Provincial justice ministers defend use of Tasers despite fatalities", Canadian Press, 15 November 2007, 15:06.
  40. Amnesty International was among the groups calling for a moratorium on taser use. See "Canadian man subdued with Taser dies in police custody", Associated Press Newswires, 24 June 2008, 13:54; "Rights group wants freeze on Tasers; 'We don't know enough,' Amnesty says after Ontario custody death", Toronto Star, 25 June 2008, A22.
  41. Michael Oliveira, "Ontario government rejects call for banning Taser use on minors", Canadian Press, 4 February 2009, 05:36.
  42. Keith Leslie, "Fantino gets one-year contract extension as OPP commissioner", Canadian Press, 11 March 2008, 15:59; Romina Maurino, "Julian Fantino re-appointed as Ontario's top cop through July 2010", Canadian Press, 9 June 2009, 03:54.
  43. Chinta Puxley, "Aboriginal territory can't go on with medieval police detachments: chiefs", Canadian Press, 25 February 2008, 17:16.
  44. "More Police Officers For First Nations", Canada NewsWire, 7 May 2009, 01:42; "Ontario announces 40 new officers for First Nations police services", Canadian Press, 7 May 2009, 07:14.
  45. "Ontario Responds To The Goudge Report", Canada NewsWire, 1 October 2008, 12:54; Rob Gillies, "Canada to compensate pathologist's victims", Associated Press, 1 October 2008, 04:09.
  46. Theresa Boyle and Tracey Tyler, "Another 200 cases to be probed", Toronto Star, 2 October 2008, A6.
  47. "Ont. seeks to adopt all legislative changes suggested in child pathology inquiry", Canadian Press, 23 October 2008, 01:52.
  48. Rob Ferguson, "Bill maps out pathology overhaul", Toronto Star, 24 October 2008, A22.
  49. "A Stronger, More Accountable Coroners System" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 28 May 2009, 10:34am; Theresa Boyle, "Coroner rules strengthened after inquiry sounds alarm", Toronto Star, 29 May 2009, A4.
  50. Robert Benzie, "Hundreds not included on registry, auditor says", Toronto Star, 12 December 2007, A19.
  51. Jim Wilkes, "Act would put bite on animal abusers", Hamilton Spectator, 4 April 2008, A10.
  52. "Media Advisory - Province Highlights Animal Protection", 2 March 2009, 10:13am.
  53. "Ontario Veterinarians Applaud Province for Enacting Canada's Toughest Animal Welfare Legislation" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 2 March 2009, 2:00pm.
  54. Daniel Girard, "Day, time made blast damages less severe", Toronto Star, 12 August 2008, A6; "Arm's length is too far for safety" [editorial], Toronto Star, 13 August 2008, A6.
  55. Lee Greenberg, "McGuinty pans bill calling for Caledonia dispute inquiry", Ottawa Citizen, 19 February 2009, A6.
  56. Trevor Pritchard, "New money from province to fight guns, gangs and drugs in Toronto", Canadian Press, 7 July 2009, 04:46pm.
  57. "Bartolucci remains neutral". Sudbury Star.

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