David Tsubouchi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Dave Tsubouchi)

David Tsubouchi
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byDon Cousens
Succeeded byTony Wong
Personal details
Born (1951-08-20) August 20, 1951 (age 72)
Political partyProgressive Conservative
AwardsKnight of the Order of Saint Joachim

David Hiroshi Tsubouchi (坪内 デビト, Tsubouchi Debito) (born August 20, 1951) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1995 to 2003, and was a cabinet minister in the governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. He was the first Japanese Canadian elected to a provincial legislature.


Tsubouchi was born in Toronto, and grew up in Scarborough in the Agincourt area.[1] His parents were Japanese Canadians, originally from British Columbia, who were interned during World War II. After their release they moved to Toronto.[2] He graduated from Agincourt Collegiate Institute in 1968 and attended York University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972,[3] and a law degree from Osgoode Hall in 1975. He was the senior partner in the firm of Tsubouchi & Nichols (formerly Tsubouchi & Parker) following his graduation.[4] Tsubouchi was also an Associate Director of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and was a frequent contributor to the Law Gazette. He received an Air Canada Heart of Gold award in 1988, and was granted a coat-of-arms from the Canadian Governor-General's office in 1993. Tsubouchi has a younger brother and sister. His father was killed in a hit and run accident in 2005.[2]

Tsubouchi worked briefly as an actor. He had a minor role as a Japanese salesman in David Cronenberg's Videodrome in 1983,[5] and episodes of John Byner's Bizarre and SCTV.[6][7]


Municipal councillor[edit]

Tsubouchi was elected as a city councillor in ward 5 in Markham and served from 1988 to 1994.[2][4]

Provincial politics[edit]

In the provincial election of 1995, he ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the provincial riding of Markham, defeating his nearest opponent by 26,544 votes.[8] The Tories won a majority government in the election and Tsubouchi was appointed as Minister of Community and Social Services in the government of Mike Harris on June 26, 1995.[9]

In this portfolio, Tsubouchi was responsible for presiding over drastic cuts in the province's welfare system. He also made a number of controversial actions early in his ministry, including suggesting that welfare recipients who had their funding reduced should consider haggling down the price of dented cans of tuna to 69 cents each.[10] He also claimed that single mothers on welfare had ample time to find jobs, after having given a three-month warning for a 22% cut in benefits.

Later, he prepared a sample menu which listed affordable food purchases for those whose welfare rates had been reduced. His list was found to have less nutritional value than the diet served to prisoners in Ontario jails. There were several calls for his resignation in the wake of these comments; even the right-leaning Toronto Sun newspaper suggested that he should be removed.[citation needed] He remained with the portfolio until August 16, 1996, when he was named Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.[11]

Notwithstanding his handling of the Social Services portfolio, Tsubouchi was regarded in some circles as one of the more progressively-minded ministers in the Harris government. He supported the centre-right Progressive Conservative Party of Canada rather than the right-wing Reform Party at the federal level, and in 2000 was the only member of the Progressive Conservative caucus to openly support Joe Clark for the federal party's leadership. He was also credited by some for at least making an effort to cushion the blow of his government's welfare cuts. Nonetheless, the legacy of his department's cutbacks would follow Tsubouchi for the rest of his career, and make him a frequent target of social activists opposed to the Harris government.

Tsubouchi's tenure as Consumer and Commercial Relations Minister was comparatively uneventful. He was easily re-elected in the provincial election of 1999, defeating Liberal Steven Kirsch by just over 13,000 votes.[12]

On June 17, 1999, he was appointed as the province's Solicitor-General.[13] He held this position until a cabinet shuffle on February 8, 2001, when he was named Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet.[14]

Tsubouchi supported Ernie Eves's successful bid to replace Mike Harris as party leader in 2002. Eves retained him as chair of the Management Board, and also named him as Ontario's Minister of Culture on April 15, 2002.[15]

In the provincial election of 2003, Tsubouchi was upset by Liberal candidate Tony Wong, losing by about 6,000 votes.[16] In 2004, he supported John Tory's successful bid to replace Eves as party leader.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario provincial government of Ernie Eves
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Tim Hudak Minister of Culture
Madeleine Meilleur
Ontario provincial government of Mike Harris
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chris Hodgson Management Board Chair
Gerry Phillips
Bob Runciman Solicitor General
David Turnbull
Norm Sterling Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations
Bob Runciman
Tony Silipo Minister of Community and Social Services
Janet Ecker

After politics[edit]

He worked as associate counsel at the law firm Miller Thomson LLP, and is currently the founder and chairman of Deduce International Markets Inc[17] In 2007 he was invested as a Knight in The Equestrian, Secular and Chapterial Order of Saint Joachim in Toronto.

In recent years, Tsubouchi has worked as a partner at the law firm Fogler, Rubinoff LLP, and has been appointed to head Ontario College of Trades starting on September 9, 2013. In 2013 he published Gambatte, a memoir of his career.[18]


  1. ^ Brennan, Richard; Ibbitson, John (27 June 1995). "Harris, cabinet vow 'significant change'". The Windsor Star. p. A1.
  2. ^ a b c Simone, Joseph (10 June 2006). "Ex-cabinet minister has had lifetime of overcoming". Era - Banner. p. 01.
  3. ^ "David Tsubouchi". York University. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Ivan Fecan, John Tory, David Tsubouchi, Steve Mirkopoulos to receive York University alumni recognition awards". York University. 28 April 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  5. ^ "David Tsubouchi - IMDb". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Bizarre (TV Series 1980–1985) - IMDb".
  7. ^ "SCTV (TV Series 1976–1981) - IMDb".
  8. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 8 June 1995. Retrieved 2 March 2014.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Mike Harris' cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. 27 June 1995. p. A7.
  10. ^ "'Tsubouchi diet' causes uproar". CBC News. 20 October 1995. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  11. ^ Walker, William (16 August 1996). "Tsubouchi demoted in Harris shuffle". Toronto Star. p. A1.
  12. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 3 June 1999. Retrieved 2 March 2014.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Ontario Cabinet". The Spectator. Hamilton, Ont. 18 June 1999. p. C8.
  14. ^ "Flaherty to be new Ontario finance chief". Sudbury Star. 8 February 2001. p. A5.
  15. ^ "Ont-Cabinet". Toronto, Ont: Canadian Press NewsWire. 15 April 2002.
  16. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 2 October 2003. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Board Members". Seneca College - Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  18. ^ "The Word on the Street Interview Series: David Tsubouchi". Open Book Toronto. 19 September 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.

External links[edit]