Alex Cullen

Alex Cullen

Alex Cullen is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is a former Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and a current member of Ottawa City Council, representing the Bay Ward in Ottawa's west end.

Cullen was born in Montreal in 1951 and attended Lower Canada College before moving to Ottawa to attend Carleton University. He then went to York University in Toronto, where he obtained a Master's degree in economics, and returned to Ottawa to work for the federal Department of Health and Welfare as a policy analyst.

In 1982 he was elected school board trustee with the Ottawa Board of Education. In the 1985 provincial election, he ran as a Liberal candidate in the riding of Ottawa West but lost to Ontario Progressive Conservative Party incumbent Reuben Baetz by about 3,000 votes. Easily re-elected as a school board trustee in 1985, Cullen again sought the Liberal nomination to run in the Ottawa West riding in the 1987 election, but lost to local lawyer Bob Chiarelli.

He ran for Ottawa City Council in 1988 in the Richmond Ward, but lost to Jacquelin Holzman. When Holzman vacated the seat to successfully run for mayor in the 1991 election, Cullen ran again and won the seat in a close three-way race.

As an Ottawa City Councillor he also served jointly on the Council of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. In 1994 Cullen was elected as the first Regional Councillor for Bay Ward, when provincial legislation created a directly-elected Regional Council. In 1996, Cullen supported Dalton McGuinty to lead the Ontario Liberal Party ("Ottawa Citizen", 2 December 1996).

In 1997, Bob Chiarelli resigned from the Legislature to run for Chair of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Municipality. In the subsequent Ottawa West by-election, Cullen ran for the Liberals and was easily elected as MPP. He soon gained national prominence as the only provincial legislator in the country to vote against the Calgary Declaration, as he opposed any document that would give Quebec unequal powers under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This vote made him unpopular within the Liberal Party, and he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus.cite web|url=|title=Alex Cullen removed from Liberal caucus] In the run-up to the 1999 provincial election, Cullen was challenged for the Liberal nomination in the new riding of Ottawa West-Nepean by Rick Chiarelli, a Nepean city councillor. After a contentious nomination battle, Chiarelli emerged victorious. Cullen left the Liberal caucus to sit as an independent on November 15, 1998. He joined the New Democratic Party a few weeks later, and subsequently won the NDP nomination in the riding.

Cullen received 7,701 votes in the 1999 Ontario general election, behind second place Chiarelli (16,419 votes). Progressive Conservative Garry Guzzo was elected with 22,834 votes.

Cullen went on to become Executive Director of the Council on Aging, a United Way agency and lobby group for seniors. Cullen was elected to represent Bay Ward in newly amalgamated City of Ottawa in 2000, and was re-elected in 2003 and 2006, defeating high profile right-wing challenger Terry Kilrea. Currently Cullen serves as Chair of the City's Transit Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Ottawa Community Housing (the City's social housing agency) and Hydro Ottawa.

External links

* [ City biography]
* [ Alex Cullen Official Site]


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