Norman W. Sterling (born February 19, 1942 in Ottawa, Ontario) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is one of the longest-serving members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, having been first elected in 1977.
Sterling attended Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, and worked as a lawyer and engineer before entering public life. He was a partner in the Sterling & Young law firm, and in 1974 became President of the Manotick Home & School Association.
He was first elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1977 provincial election, winning as a Progressive Conservative in the safe eastern-Ontario riding of Carleton-Grenville. He served as parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General in 1978, but was not appointed to the cabinet of Bill Davis in his first term as an MPP.
Sterling was returned without difficulty in the 1981 election, and served as a Minister without Portfolio from April 10, 1981 to February 13, 1982. He then served as Provincial Secretary for Justice from February 13, 1982 to July 6, 1983, and subsequently as Provincial Secretary for Resources Development from July 6, 1983 to February 8, 1985. Sterling, who represents a predominantly rural and Protestant region of Ontario, disagreed with the Davis government's decision to fully fund Ontario's Catholic school system and insisted that his protest be entered into the official minutes of the executive council. In January 1985, Sterling supported Dennis Timbrell's unsuccessful bid to replace Davis as party leader.
The Progressive Conservatives lost power following the 1985 election, although Sterling had no difficulty being re-elected in his own riding. There was another Progressive Conservative leadership convention in late 1985; on this occasion, Sterling broke with Timbrell (describing the latter's post-election opposition to Catholic school funding as an opportunistic volte-face), and supported Larry Grossman.
In the Liberal landslide of 1987, however, he was only able to defeat Liberal candidate Roly Armitage by about 500 votes in the redistributed riding of Carleton. To date, this was the only time in Sterling's career that his re-election was in doubt.
Sterling was re-elected in the provincial elections of 1990 and 1995, on the latter occasion by almost 20000 votes. The Progressive Conservatives formed government under Mike Harris in 1995, and Sterling was appointed Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations on June 26 of that year. On August 16, 1996, he was promoted to Minister of Environment and Energy and Deputy House Leader. On October 7, 1997, he was again promoted to full House Leader and was given the re-titled post of Minister of Environment.
In the provincial election of 1999, Sterling was returned for the restructured riding of Lanark--Carleton. He was appointed Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and government House Leader on June 17, 1999. Following a cabinet shuffle on February 8, 2001, he became Minister of Consumer and Business Services; he also served as Minister of Correctional Services from December 5, 2000 to March 8, 2001.
On April 15, 2002, after Ernie Eves replaced Mike Harris as Premier, Sterling was appointed Minister of Transportation. After a cabinet shuffle on February 25, 2003, he was promoted to the position of Attorney General, with responsibility for Native Affairs.
The Progressive Conservatives were defeated in the 2003 provincial election, although Sterling was able to defeat Liberal Marianne Wilkinson by about 6000 votes. He is currently his party's Critic for Democratic Renewal.
In 2004, Sterling supported Jim Flaherty's unsuccessful bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party.