Jim Karygiannis

Jim Karygiannis

Infobox CanadianMP
honorific-prefix =The Honourable
name=Jim Karygiannis

term_start=1988 election
predecessor= W. Paul McCrossan
birth_date= birth date and age | 1955|05|02
profession= Businessman, industrial engineer
party colour=Liberal
spouse=Toula Karygiannis
religion=Greek Orthodox|

James "Jim" Karygiannis, PC, MP (born May 2, 1955, in a refugee settlement in Athens, Greece) is a Canadian Liberal politician. He has served in the Canadian House of Commons since 1988, and was the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal. He was previously the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport.

Personal life

Before entering politics, Karygiannis was a businessman and industrial engineer. He immigrated to Canada in 1966, and has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto. He also holds a degree of Fellowship of Business Administration from the Canadian School of Management. He is married and is the father of five daughters.


Karygiannis has been involved with politics as a Liberal since the late 1980s, first in provincial politics and later as a federal MP. He ran as a candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1987 provincial election. He lost to David Reville of the Ontario New Democratic Party by about 1,500 votes. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons the following year in the federal election, defeating Progressive Conservative incumbent W. Paul McCrossan by 858 votes in the newly-created riding of Scarborough—Agincourt.

Karygiannis is one of the more socially conservative members of the Liberal caucus, and is opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. In June 2005, however, he strongly criticized other socially-conservative Liberals who had threatened to bring down the government on the marriage issue.

In government

He won a landslide re-election in the 1993 federal election as the Liberals won a majority government, and has since been easily re-elected ever since. On January 23 2006 he was re-elected for a sixth consecutive term with 63% of the popular vote in his riding, which was among the top three ridings in Ontario.

Karygiannis was a prominent Toronto organizer for Jean Chrétien in the Liberal Party's 1990 leadership contest, and was credited with delivering considerable support to Chrétien from the city's Greek community.

In April 2004, Karygiannis brought forward a private member's motion which recognized the death of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide. The motion was approved by parliament 153 to 68, with support among Liberal backbench and opposition MPs, though Prime Minister Martin and his cabinet did not show up for the free vote and insisted that the motion is non-binding. Foreign Minister Bill Graham has defended the government's position that the event constituted a "tragedy" rather than the purposeful extermination of minority Armenians. In response to Martin's assertion that foreign policy rests with the cabinet, Karygiannis said that a clear majority of Parliament saw it differently and urged Martin to live up to his promise to give MPs real clout. The Turkish government was strongly critical of the motion and argued that Canadian MPs were rewriting history, while the Turkish Embassy suggested that relations between the two countries would be harmed as a result. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2004/04/22/turkeyreaxn040422.html "Turkey denounces Armenian genocide vote in Commons"] , CBC News, April 22, 2004.]

Karygiannis played a prominent role in organizing Toronto-area support for victims of the December 2004 earthquake in Southeast Asia. He called for cooperation between the city's Tamil and Sinhalese communities for the relief effort in Sri Lanka, and personally travelled to Sri Lanka to witness the tsunami devastation firsthand. He was later criticized by fellow Member of Parliament David Kilgour for traveling to an area of Sri Lanka dominated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers), as the faction was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by many countries. Karygiannis defended his decision, saying that his intent was to confirm that disaster aid was reaching the region. Despite Kilgour's concerns, Karygiannis's travels did not provoke a diplomatic incident with Sri Lanka. [cite web|url=http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2005/january/17/karygiannis/&c=1|title=Karygiannis defends trip into Tamil Tiger-controlled regions of Sri Lanka|date=January 17, 2005|last=Rana|first=F. Abbas|publisher=The Hill Times|accessdate=2006-07-24]

In March 2005, Karygiannis travelled to Guyana to witness the damage that recent floods had done in the country. He helped to secure CIDA aid for Guyana of over $2.7 million Canadian. [cite web|url=http://karygiannismp.com/spip/article.php3?id_article=114&var_recherche=cida|title=Canada helps Guyana rebuild|date=March 30, 2005|accessdate=2006-07-24]

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in September 2005, Karygiannis was one of the first Canadian parliamentarians to organize a Canadian relief effort. [cite web|url=http://karygiannismp.com/spip/article.php3?id_article=205|title=Karygiannis answers Community call to help Katrina Victims|date=September 1, 2005|publisher=Scarborough Mirror|accessdate=2006-07-24]

In opposition

In September 2007, the Canadian government announced that it would recognize the country Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia, rather than by its previous designation as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This decision was criticized by the government of Greece, which claims the name "Macedonia" as its own. Karygiannis also opposed the government's decision, and suggested that the Greek-Canadian community would mobilize against it. [Alan Freeman, "Canada to recognize Balkan state as Macedonia despite disputed name", "Globe and Mail", 21 September 2007, A18.]

Liberal party

Known as a Chrétien loyalist throughout the 1990s, Karygiannis announced in 2002 that he would support Paul Martin in the next Liberal leadership contest. In making his decision, he told an interviewer that it was time for Chrétien to retire "with dignity", rather than risk a potentially divisive leadership review. [cite web|url=http://www.karygiannismp.com/dignity.html|title=Avoid convention bloodbath former loyalist tells PM|date=Jul 13, 2002|last=Harper|first=Tim|publisher=Toronto Star|accessdate=2006-07-24] When Martin became Liberal party leader on December 12, 2003, he appointed Karygiannis as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport.

Karygiannis was the National Chairman for MP Joe Volpe's campaign to lead the Liberal Party of Canada, but he resigned on July 21, 2006 over disagreements with Volpe's pro-Israeli stance on the conflict in Lebanon. [cite web|url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2006/07/21/volpe-manager-quits.html|title=Volpe's campaign manager quits over Lebanon kerfuffle|date=July 21, 2006|publisher=Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)|accessdate=2006-07-24] The "Toronto Star" reported that Karygiannis had called the police to prevent a Volpe official from taking computers containing the membership lists, leading to speculation that the members he signed up were loyal to him and not Volpe. [ [http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/govrel/news.cfm?story=48374 "Tempers flare in Volpe camp dispute"] , Linda Diebel, "Toronto Star", July 26, 2006.]

On July 26, 2006, Karygiannis said that he was considering a run for the Liberal leadership himself because he felt the other candidates were "lacking" on the issue of foreign policy. [cite web|url=http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/07/26/karygiannis-leadership.html|title=Karygiannis looks at Liberal leadership run|date=July 26, 2006|publisher=Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)|accessdate=2006-08-17] At the leadership convention, he supported Bob Rae, but then threw his support to Stéphane Dion when Rae was eliminated from the ballot.


In 1999, Greek president Costis Stephanopoulos awarded him the decoration of the Officer of the Order of Phoenix in recognition of his many public service contributions.


External links

* [http://www.karygiannismp.com Jim Karygiannis P.C., M.P. Official Website]
* [http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=153&s=M Federal political experience] (Library of Parliament information page)
* [http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/riding/187/ 2006 Election Results]
* [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/elections/fed2004/candidates/generated/35080_LIB.html Election information page] at The Globe and Mail newspaper web site.

NAME=Karygiannis, Jim
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Canadian politician
DATE OF BIRTH=May 2, 1955
PLACE OF BIRTH=Athens, Greece

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