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 (Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Markham-north of 16th Ave.) where he was re-elected for a third term in October 2003. Following a realignment of electoral boundaries, Frank was elected as MPP for the riding of Newmarket-Aurora in October 2007 and re-elected for a fifth term in October 2011.
Government Ministry Responsibilities
Throughout the first mandate of the PC government (1995-1999) as the MPP representing Newmarket, Aurora and King Township, Frank served as a Parliamentary Assistant in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. In the Natural Resources portfolio, 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. In his role Parliamentary Assistant in the Social Services ministry, 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 controversial pieces of legislation. As the member for Oak Ridges, he took a lead role in advocating for, and the ultimate passage of the “Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act”.
In 2002, Frank was appointed Minister of Tourism and Recreation where he championed the development of a long-range tourism strategy for the province and conducted extensive, 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 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 highway infrastructure program. On his watch, MTO made major strides in regional transit expansion and funded York Region’s innovative new 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 Critic Responsibilities
Since 2003, Frank has served as Official Opposition Critic for Education, Citizenship and Immigration and Transportation and Infrastructure. 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 repeatedly called on the government to improve supports for new immigrants and foreign trained professionals and trades people to help them 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.
As Transportation and Infrastructure Critic, Frank has been a strong advocate of dedicated funding for a province-wide infrastructure plan. He has been a strong advocate of transparency and accountability in the prioritizing, funding and delivery of infrastructure projects.
Official Opposition Lead on the Ornge Air Ambulance Scandal
Frank is credited with exposing the Ornge Air Ambulance scandal through his questioning of the financial irregularities and mismanagement at the organization brought to his attention by whistleblowers. He was appointed as the Official Opposition’s lead on the Legislature’s Public Accounts Committee charged with the responsibility of hearings into the Ornge scandal.
Personal and Business Background
The Klees family immigrated to Canada from Germany when Frank was 5 years of age and they settled in the southwestern Ontario community of Leamington.
Frank began his business career in the financial services business in marketing and management with the Canada Life Assurance Co. in Windsor and Toronto. He went on to establish a 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.
Frank’s commitment to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is lifelong. He stood as a candidate in the south western 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 initiated the Party’s formal process of Policy Advisory Councils, which empowered grassroots members and supporters by giving them direct input in developing the party’s policies. He remains one of the Party’s strongest advocates of that process which was enshrined in the Party’s Constitution.
In 1995, Frank successfully contested the riding of York Mackenzie, beginning his first term as a Member of the Ontario Legislature by defeating former Liberal cabinet minister and leadership candidate, Charles Beer.
Frank has sponsored a number of legislative initiatives, both through government legislation and Private Member’s Bills. His Street Racing Bill, inspired by the deaths of two constituents as the result of a street racing incident was incorporated into government legislation and is credited with significantly reducing the number of fatalities and charges attributed to street racing.
His Resolution calling for an on-line Organ Donor Registration system resulted in the implementation of the beadonor.ca website that has seen a substantial increase in organ and tissue donor registrations.
Frank’s First Responders Day Act, which calls for May 1st of each year to be designated as First Responders Day has resulted in municipalities across the province issuing proclamations in support.
More recently, his Private Member’s Bill entitled the Preserving Existing Communities Act, which empowers local municipalities to have the final decision about proposed developments in existing residential communities has received province-wide municipal endorsements.
Frank believes that our society is strengthened through the province’s diverse ethnic, cultural and religious communities. He has represented one of the largest, fastest growing and culturally diverse ridings in Ontario and takes pride in the strong support he has consistently received from his constituents.
A strong proponent of what he calls “MPP activism” Frank regularly sponsors public information sessions, including seniors’ wellness and security forums, blood donor clinics, income tax clinics for low-income seniors and multi-faith consultations through regular “Clergy Breakfasts”. He has been a tireless advocate for community groups and local charities. He believes that the most important work he does as MPP is helping constituents with what are often very personal issues. This is where 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.