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Hugh Patrick O'Neil (July 10, 1936 – September 14, 2015) was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1995, and served as a cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson.

Hugh O'Neil
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byRichard Potter
Succeeded byDoug Rollins
Personal details
Hugh Patrick O'Neil

(1936-07-10)July 10, 1936
Belleville, Ontario
DiedSeptember 14, 2015(2015-09-14) (aged 79)
Trenton, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Donna McColl


O'Neil was educated at Peterborough Teachers' College (c. 1907 as Peterborough Normal School), and worked as a teacher and real estate broker before entering political life. He was married to Donna Grace (McColl) and they raised two children, David and Catherine.[1]


He was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1975 provincial election, defeating the Progressive Conservative candidate by 659 votes in the eastern Ontario riding of Quinte.[2] He was re-elected by a much greater margin in the 1977 provincial election,[3] and in the elections of 1981,[4] 1985,[5] 1987,[6] and 1990.[7]

The Liberals under David Peterson formed a minority government following the 1985 election, and O'Neil was appointed as Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology on June 26, 1985.[8]

In 1987, O'Neil was named Minister of Tourism and Recreation.[9] Following a cabinet shuffle, he was named as Minister of Mines on August 2, 1989.[10] He also became Minister of Culture and Communications on June 5, 1990.[11] In addition, O'Neil served as Peterson's regional minister for eastern Ontario.

The Liberals were defeated by the New Democratic Party in the 1990 provincial election. O'Neil was re-elected and served as his party's critic for Tourism and Recreation for the entirety of the next parliament, and did not run for re-election in 1995, choosing instead to retire from politics and return to a business career in real estate.

Cabinet positionsEdit

Ontario Provincial Government of David Peterson
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
Christine Hart Minister of Culture and Communications
1990 (June–Sept)
Rosario Marchese
Sean Conway Minister of Mines
Gilles Pouliot
John Eakins Minister of Tourism and Recreation
Ken Black
Andy Brandt Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology
Monte Kwinter

Later lifeEdit

After his time in the legislature, he managed a property development company in the residential and commercial sector. He spent much of his spare time volunteering for community organizations and spent time as Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Armed Forces 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at CFB Trenton. He was also Honorary Chair of Loyalist College Foundation Board of Directors and several other groups.

In July 2013, O'Neil and John Williams, former Mayor of Quinte West, were awarded the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service for their dedication in creating and completing the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial at Bain Park in Quinte West adjacent to CFB Trenton, Canada's largest military base. O'Neil spearheaded the campaign beginning in 2010 to create the memorial and was a key member of the memorial committee. This award is the Canadian military's highest level of recognition for a civilian.[1]

O'Neil died in Trenton, Ontario, on September 14, 2015, at the age of 79.[1]

The O'Neil collection of papers, photos and legislative records is available for viewing at the Quinte West Public Library] in Trenton, Ontario.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Hendry, Luke; Kuglin, Ernst (September 15, 2015). "Hugh O'Neil dies at 79". Belleville Intelligencer.
  2. ^ "Table of vote results for all Ontario ridings". The Globe and Mail. September 19, 1975. p. C12.
  3. ^ "Ontario provincial election results riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 10, 1977. p. D9.
  4. ^ Canadian Press (1981-03-20). "Election results for Metro Toronto ridings". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  5. ^ "Results of vote in Ontario election". The Globe and Mail. May 3, 1985. p. 13.
  6. ^ "Results from individual ridings". The Windsor Star. September 11, 1987. p. F2.
  7. ^ "Results from across province". The Toronto Star. September 7, 1990. p. A11.
  8. ^ "Liberals pledge reform as they take over in Ontario". The Gazette. Montreal, Que. June 27, 1985. p. B1.
  9. ^ "Wrye gets new cabinet job". The Windsor Star. September 29, 1987. p. A1.
  10. ^ Allen, Gene (August 3, 1989). "Veterans bear load as 8 ministers cut in Peterson shuffle". The Globe and Mail. p. A1.
  11. ^ Walkom, Thomas (June 4, 1990). "Liberal may get taste of her own tactics". Toronto Star. p. A17.
  12. ^ "Quinte Genealogy Centre". Quinte West Public Library.

External linksEdit