Norm KellyCity Councillor, Toronto

Roadmap: 2030 September 21 & 22, 2010 Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library

Norm Kelly

City Councillor, City of Toronto

Norm Kelly

Norm Kelly

Councillor Norm Kelly is a trained Historian. He studied Canadian political history at the University of Western Ontario (undergraduate) and Carleton and Queen’s universities (post-graduate).

Among his most important accomplishments was his two year research for the best-selling books in the field of Canadian History: The National Dream and The Last Spike. The National Dream won Canada’s most prestigious literary prize, The Governor General’s Award, and was transferred to television by the CBC in a very popular, award-winning documentary series of the same name. In researching these two volumes, Mr. Kelly was the first historian to detail the contribution of Chinese workers toward the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (the CPR) in the province of British Columbia. The importance of Chinese labour to the building of the railroad that functioned as Canada’s economic and political spine for the first 100 years of Confederation was recently recognized by the erection of a statue in their honour in Toronto by the Chinese community of that city.

Shortly after completing his research on the CPR in 1973, Mr. Kelly was appointed Chairman of the History Department at Canada’s internationally renowned private college, Upper Canada College (UCC). During his stay at UCC, Mr. Kelly also served three successive terms in political office as an Alderman on the Municipal Council of the then Borough of Scarborough (1974 – 1980).

In 1980, Mr. Kelly resigned from Upper Canada College when he won a seat as a Liberal in the Federal House of Commons under the leadership of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau. As a Member of Parliament, Mr. Kelly was twice appointed Parliamentary Secretary: first, to the Ministry of Supply and Services and then to the President of the Treasury Board. In this latter capacity, Mr. Kelly was given the responsibility of guiding the Government’s reorganization of its Crown Corporations, Bill C-124, through the House of Commons and its Committees.

Mr. Kelly also served on a number of Standing Committees of the House of Commons, among them: (1) Energy, Mines and Resources (through which he met the leading businessmen in Canada in this field); (2) Industry Trade and Commerce; and, (3) Public Accounts, which monitors, with the Assistance of the Auditor General, the expenditures of the Government of Canada.

Of particular note in Mr. Kelly’s parliamentary career was his appointment in 1983 to the Special Committee on Visible Minorities in Canadian Society. This Committee was charged with the responsibility of doing the initial research on the status of visible minorities in Canadian society. Mr. Kelly played a leading role in that Committee, whose deliberations took it across Canada and into all of its communities. Mr. Kelly also played a prominent role in preparing the committee’s report, Equality Now, containing eighty ground-breaking recommendations aimed at protecting visible minority cultures in Canada while integrating their members into the Canadian mainstream.

After the defeat of the Liberal Government in 1984, Mr. Kelly opted to go into business in Toronto, where he operated a successful real estate brokerage until 1994, when he returned to public office at the regional level as a Metro Councillor in the Government of Canada’s largest city, Metropolitan Toronto. In 1997, Mr. Kelly was returned as a Councillor in the amalgamated City.

At present, Councillor Kelly is a member of the Executive Committee. He is also the Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee and the Chair of the Scarborough Community Council.