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Encyclopedia > Michael Bryant (politician)

Michael Bryant (born 1966 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is currently a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of St. Paul's for the Ontario Liberal Party, and is the Attorney General in the government of Dalton McGuinty.

Bryant received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 1988, and a Master's Degree from the same institution in 1989. He later received an LL.B. from the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto in 1992, and an LL.M. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1994. Bryant is a Fulbright Fellow. He clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1992-93, and was later a lawyer at the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City, as well as lecturing in law at King's College at the University of London in England, and practicing litigation at McCarthy T├ętrault. In 1997, he became an Adjunct Professor in International Law at the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Bryant was first elected to the Ontario legislature in the provincial election of 1999, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Isabel Bassett in St. Paul's by almost 5,000 votes (he had previously defeated Kathleen Wynne at the Liberal Party's nomination meeting, 328 votes to 143). The Progressive Conservatives won the election, and Bryant served as his party's Critic to the Attorney General for the next four years. In 2003, he played a significant role in exposing a scandal involving Tory cabinet minister Chris Stockwell's use of government funds for personal expenses, which resulted in Stockwell's resignation.

He was re-elected by a greater majority in the provincial election of 2003. The Liberals won a majority government in this election, and Bryant was appointed Ontario Attorney General with responsibility for Native Affairs and Democratic Renewal.

In late 2004, he brought forward a controversial initiative to ban pit bulls from Ontario.

For this he is viewed as a tyrant by many dog owners and professionals in Ontario. He made the famous blunder on City TV of saying "You don't ask an Attorney General to be the dog expert... The bottom line is it's going to be up to the experts" ... advice that he went on to ignore as every single credible expert who spoke at his public hearings opposed the ban. This include the Canada Safety Council, an independent organization in Canada.

Ironically, while holding the responsibility of Democratic Renewal he was a key player who urged Dalton McGuinty to break yet another election promise in the refusal to allow a free vote on non-critical issues like the "pit-bull" ban.

After a cabinet shuffle on June 29, 2005, Bryant's cabinet responsibilities for Native Affairs and Democratic Renewal were transferred to other ministers. He was retained as Attorney General.



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