Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Marion Boyd

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Preceded by  David Peterson
Occupation  Mediator
Residence  London, Canada
Political party  New Democrat
Education  Glendon College
Constituency  London Centre
Role  Politician
Succeeded by  Riding abolished
Name  Marion Boyd

Marion Boyd iciradiocanadacaregionsimagestorontonormale
Born  March 26, 1946 (age 69) Toronto, Ontario (1946-03-26)
Party  Ontario New Democratic Party

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Marion Boyd (born March 26, 1946) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 1999 who represented the riding of London Centre. She was a member of cabinet in the government of Bob Rae. She works as a consultant and mediator.



In 1968, Boyd graduated from Glendon College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and history. From 1968 to 1973, she worked as an assistant to the president of York University. In 1975-76, she helped the York University Faculty Members win their first union contract. She subsequently worked as an executive director of the London Battered Women's Advocacy Clinic, and served two terms as president of the London Status of Women Action Group. She is widely known as a feminist. Boyd works as an environmental business consultant and mediator.


In 1985, Boyd was the NDP candidate in London North in the provincial election of 1985, but finished third against incumbent Liberal Ron Van Horne. She ran in London Centre in the 1987 election, and lost to sitting Premier David Peterson by almost 9,000 votes. She campaigned as a federal New Democrat in the 1988 general election, finished third behind Liberal Joe Fontana and Progressive Conservative Jim Jepson in London East.

Boyd sought a rematch against Peterson in the 1990 provincial election. This time she won, defeating the Premier by more than 8,000 votes. It was almost unheard of for a provincial premier to be defeated in his own riding, and the size of Boyd's victory was all the more surprising. The NDP won the election, and the new Premier, Bob Rae, appointed her as Minister of Education on October 1, 1990.

When fellow cabinet member Anne Swarbrick resigned due to health issues, Boyd took over responsibility for Women's Issues on September 11, 1991. Boyd launched a high-profile campaign against domestic abuse in the same year. She was transferred to the Ministry of Community and Social Services on October 15, 1991 when Zanana Akande resigned due to a conflict of interest.

Boyd was promoted to Attorney General of Ontario on February 3, 1993, the first woman to hold that position as well as the first non-lawyer. In this capacity, she was responsible for Bill 167, that would have granted benefits to same-sex couples. The bill failed on a free vote when twelve NDP members voted with the opposition parties against the bill. The bill's failure was a personal disappointment for Boyd, who had invested considerable effort in promoting its passage. Ironically, the Conservatives who voted unanimously against Bill 167, passed the same legislation five years later without fanfare.

Boyd also approved a highly controversial plea-bargain deal that allowed serial killer Karla Homolka to receive a 12-year prison sentence in return for testimony which led to the conviction of Homolka's then-husband, Paul Bernardo. The deal was criticized in much of the Canadian media, and many questioned Boyd's judgment in the matter. At the time the extent of Homolka's personal involvement in Bernardo's crimes was not known.

Boyd remained as Attorney General until the Rae government was defeated in the 1995 election. She was one of seventeen NDP MPPs to successfully retain their seats in that election, defeating PC candidate Patrick McGuinness by fewer than 2,000 votes. Boyd remained a high-profile MPP, serving as the NDP's Health Critic from 1997-99.

The London Centre riding was eliminated by redistribution in 1996. Boyd ran against fellow incumbent Dianne Cunningham of the Progressive Conservative Party in London North Centre, and lost by just over 1,700 votes.

After politics

In 2000, she was appointed as chair to the Task Force on the Health Effects of Woman Abuse. It was convened in response to the problem of domestic violence against women. Later that year the task force produced a report with 29 recommendations. The key conclusion was that doctors should begin screening female patients as young as 12 years old for signs of abuse.

In December 2003, it came to light that religious tribunals had some legal basis under the Arbitration Act. Some argued that this interpretation allowed for Muslim Sharia law to be applied in settling family disputes. In the spring of 2004, the issue flared up even more with some claiming that the use of Sharia law tribunals was infringing on the rights of Muslim women. In the summer of 2004, Premier Dalton McGuinty asked Boyd to investigate the issue.

In December 2004, she released a report that found no evidence of complaints with regards to faith-based arbitration. She concluded that no changes to the act were needed with respect to religious tribunals. She made 46 recommendations for changes to the Arbitration Act primarily dealing with arbitrator training and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of tribunals. In 2005, in response to public opinion, McGuinty ignored Boyd's main conclusion and tabled changes to the act under the Family Statute Law Amendment Act.

While incorporating many of Boyd's recommendations, the act specifically removed any legal status for the arbitration of custodial and marital disputes by religious tribunals. The act mandated that all family law arbitrations in Ontario be conducted only in accordance with Canadian law. Some critics argued that this was a missed opportunity to incorporate aspects of Islamic law into the Canadian judicial system.


Marion Boyd Wikipedia