Frank Klees, MPP
FRANK KLEES BIOGRAPHY
Frank Klees was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in June 1995 to represent the riding of York Mackenzie (Newmarket, Aurora and King Township). He was re-elected in June 1999 for a second term as MPP for the new riding of Oak Ridges, which included Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville and the Town of Markham, north of 16th Ave.) where he was re-elected again in October 2003. Following yet another change in the electoral boundaries, in October 2007, Frank was elected as the MPP for the riding of Newmarket-Aurora and again re-elected there to his fifth term in October 2011.
Prior to his election, Frank had a successful career in business which began in financial services in marketing and management with the Canada Life Assurance Co. in Windsor and Toronto. He went on to establish an independent financial services consulting practice which included contract negotiations for professional athletes in the CFL and NFL. In 1990, Frank and two partners co-founded the Municipal Gas Corporation where he served as the company's Executive Vice President until he sold his interest in 1997.
PC Party Involvement
Frank's commitment to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is lifelong.
He stood as a candidate in the southwestern Ontario riding of Essex South in 1975 and again in 1977. As the Party's Third Vice President and Policy Chair from 1992 -1994, Frank created the Party's formal process of Policy Advisory Councils, which empowered grassroots members and supporters by giving them direct involvement in policy development. He remains one of the Party's strongest advocates of that process, now enshrined in the Party Constitution.
Throughout the first mandate of the PC government as the MPP representing Newmarket, Aurora and King Township, Frank served as Parliamentary Assistant in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Community and Social Serves. He played a key role in several initiatives including the development of several bills relating to the work of Conservation Authorities, the management of Ontario’s aggregate industry, and the Great Lakes commercial fishery. Frank had the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Ontario Works program which successfully helped more than a million people make the transition from welfare to a job.
In 1999, Frank was appointed to Cabinet and served as Chief Government Whip and Deputy House Leader with additional responsibilities as a member of the Management Board of Cabinet and the Board of Internal Economy. His consensus-building ability within caucus facilitated the passage of a number of key pieces of legislation, including the "Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act".
In 2002, Frank was appointed Minister of Tourism and Recreation. From the outset in that portfolio, Frank championed the development of a long-range tourism strategy for the province and completed province-wide stakeholder consultations to accomplish that goal. He secured the support needed to realize the legitimate aspirations of Northern Ontario to create a separate northern tourism marketing model, headquartered in Sault Ste. Marie to support and develop Northern Ontario's distinct tourism industry.
In 2003, Frank was appointed Minister of Transportation and assumed responsibility for the implementation of a multi-year, $10 Billion infrastructure program. On his watch, MTO made major strides in regional transit expansion and funded York Region's innovative Viva bus rapid transit system. He honoured Ontario’s veterans by initiating and commissioning the "Veterans Licence Plate", now available to all Ontario qualifying veterans. He took pride in being known by MTO stakeholders and staff as "the customer service Minister."
Official Opposition Roles and Responsibilities
While a member of the Official Opposition, Frank has served as Critic for Education and Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. On the education file, he has been a strong advocate for children with autism, special needs programs and the need for stable, long-term funding of the education system.
In Citizenship and Immigration, Frank has been a strong advocate of programs that will help new immigrants and foreign trained professionals and trades people integrate into our communities. He has been a harsh critic of Canada’s “points system” for immigration which he insists sets false expectations for immigrants and must be changed to reflect the realities of Ontario’s job market and capacity to support settlement programs and social services.
Frank sponsored a number of Private Member’s Bills while in Government and Opposition. Among them were his initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of Organ Donation which resulted in the implementation of the beadonor.ca on-line registry. His Street Racing Bill was incorporated into government legislation and has been credited with substantially reducing street racing in our province.
A strong proponent of what he calls "MPP activism", Frank regularly sponsors public information sessions for his constituents, writes his bi-weekly Frankly Speaking column and hosts regular multi-faith consultations throughout the year. Since his election in 1995, Fridays have always been set aside as "constituency days" when Frank does what he maintains is the most important work he does as MPP; namely, focus on helping constituents with what are often very personal issues. In doing so, he has earned the reputation as a person who “gets things done”.
Frank believes that faith and culture are important cornerstones of society and that both must be respected and honoured.
Frank is married to Jaine and has two adult children, Alissa and Robert. He claims an 18 handicap on the golf course, and enjoys downhill skiing when time allows.
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Ron Wallace of The Auroran
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