William Carvel "Bill" Graham PC QC (born March 17, 1939, in Montreal, Quebec) is a former Canadian politician. In 2006, he was Canada's Leader of the Opposition as well as the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada between the resignation of Paul Martin and the election of Stéphane Dion as his successor. Graham was variously Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinets of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.
Following the defeat of the Martin Liberal government in the 2006 federal election, Graham was appointed parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition. On March 18, 2006, following the party executive's acceptance of Martin's resignation as leader, Graham was officially appointed interim leader of the Liberal Party. Graham held the position until the Liberal leadership convention chose Stéphane Dion as Martin's permanent successor on December 2, 2006. Graham retired from the House of Commons on July 2 2007.
Graham serves as Chancellor of Trinity College at the University of Toronto; Chair of the Atlantic Council of Canada; and Co-vice Chair of the Canadian International Council. He is a Director of the Empire Club of Canada and a member of the Trilateral Commission.
Graham grew up in Montreal and Vancouver. He attended Upper Canada College, The University of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and the University of Paris where he received his Doctorate in Law. After some time in private practice, he became a professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, teaching subjects such as International Trade Law. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Montreal and McGill University.
Graham is married and has two children and three grandchildren. His son is freelance reporter Patrick Graham. His daughter Katherine (Katy) lives in Paris.
Before being elected to the House, he served as moderator of the 1990 leadership convention debates between Martin and Chretien, a position Martin himself held in the 1984 Chretien-Turner debates.
He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons as MP for the riding of Rosedale (now Toronto Centre) in the 1993 federal elections. He had previously run in the same riding in the 1984, when he was defeated by incumbent David Crombie, and 1988 federal elections, coming within 80 votes of victory (the eighth closest result in the country). He was re-elected in the same riding in the 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2006 elections. Toronto Centre is one of the most diverse ridings in Canada, including wealthy neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Cabbagetown and public housing developments (Moss Park and Regent Park). Church and Wellesley, known in Toronto as the "gaybourhood", is also in this riding.
In Parliament, Graham became a member and then the chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in January 2002.
Graham was Foreign Affairs Minister in October 2002, when American authorities deported Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria. Arar was imprisoned for a year, and was repeatedly tortured as a suspected terrorist; a subsequent inquiry found that he had no ties to any terrorist organizations. In November 2002, Graham raised Arar's case in meetings with American ambassador Paul Cellucci and United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. In response, Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper criticized Graham for "participat[ing] in high-level consultations to defend a suspected terrorist". Graham subsequently raised Arar's case with the Syrian ambassador to Canada in January 2003, and with Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa later in the year. A Globe and Mail editorial argued that Graham's efforts to ensure Arar's safety were undermined by the Canadian embassy in Syria. Canadian taxpayers ultimately paid $10.5 million in compensation to Arar for the torture that he endured.
Arar's deportation was based in part on dubious information provided to American authorities by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Graham has said that he only became aware of this situation following a formal inquiry led by Justice Dennis O'Connor.
Also under his tenure, Graham declined to demand that the United States return from Guantanamo Bay Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, a juvenile soldier when arrested, in contrast to what other Canadian allies such as the U.K., Spain, Germany and Australia did for their own nationals detained there. In April 2008, he said that he regretted not having done more to help secure Khadr's release or repatriation while the Liberal government was in power.
In December 2003, the new Prime Minister, Paul Martin, advised the Governor General to appoint Graham to the same position in Cabinet. Graham was a vigorous defender of Canada's NATO mission in Afghanistan.
In the cabinet shuffle that followed the 2004 election, Graham was moved to the Defence portfolio. He later made controversial remarks about Canada paying the price if it did not join the missile defence program with the United States.
In 2006, he was interim parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons when Martin announced his decision to resign following the January federal election. Martin, however, initially announced he would remain leader of the Liberal Party until the convention but subsequently moved up the date of his resignation to March 19, 2006, at which point Graham became the party's fully fledged interim leader.
Graham appointed former cabinet colleague Jane Stewart to serve as his chief of staff. When Stewart stepped down from the post, citing family obligations, she was replaced by former cabinet minister Andy Mitchell.
At the Liberal leadership convention, Stéphane Dion was elected as Martin's permanent successor on December 2, 2006. Graham did not run in that contest and was officially neutral. Graham's children, Katy and Patrick, both spoke at the convention during a tribute to their father.
On February 22, Graham announced that he would not seek reelection in the next federal election. On June 19 2007, Graham announced he would be resigning his seat effective July 2 2007, thus allowing former Ontario New Democratic Party Premier and Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate Bob Rae to contest the riding in a by-election to be called if a general election is not called within six months of that date. In his last speech to Parliament, Graham stated that Toronto Centre should be represented by a future voice, rather than someone from the past.
Graham has the prenomial "The Honourable" and the postnomial "PC" for life by virture of being a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada since 2002. In 2007, he was elected to the position of Chancellor at his alma mater, the University of Trinity College.
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MAMMOTH EVENTS CENTER BEING SOLD DENVER'S CHUCK MORRIS TEAMS WITH BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS TO PURCHASE 102-YEAR-OLD BUILDING.(Business)
Feb 06, 1999; Byline: Michael Mehle and John Rebchook News Staff Writers The venerable rock promotion company Bill Graham Presents confirmed...