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Keith Calder Norton
(January 26, 1941 - living) Canada

Keith Norton

Educator, lawyer, politician


Keith Norton, born in Claremont, Ontario, is a former Canadian politician and public servant.

Ontario Conservative MPP (Kingston and the Islands, 1975-1985), Keith Norton served in the Ontario Legislature from 1975 to 1985. From 1977 to 1985 he held Cabinet posts in Community and Social Services, Environment, Health and Education, Colleges and Universities.

After leaving politics in 1985, Norton became a businessman and consultant, working in the field of water purification. He attempted to return to politics in the 1990 election, running in Toronto against Liberal Attorney-General Ian Scott.

Norton had come out of the closet by this point, and ran as an openly gay politician in the riding of St. George—St. David, which includes Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, Canada's largest gay village. Scott was widely known to be gay, but declined to come out of the closet, and there were concerns in Scott's campaign that Norton would attempt to make an issue of this matter.

While Scott was criticized for not being open about his sexuality, however, Norton was derided for opportunism, declaring himself openly gay only after he'd decided to run in a riding with a large gay population. Norton finished third, behind Scott and the NDP candidate.

From 1985 to 1992 he was a principal in several private sector enterprises involving water purification technology, publishing and consulting in Public Policy and Government Relations.

Mr. Norton was a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, a quasi-judicial tribunal established under the Canadian Human Rights Act from 1992-1996. He served as its president from 1992-1995.

On July 18, 1996 and until 2005, he was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.


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