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Encyclopedia > Ron Lemieux

Ron Lemieux (August 15, 1950-) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He is currently a cabinet minister in the New Democratic Party government of Premier Gary Doer. Previously, he was a professional hockey player.

Born in Dauphin, Lemieux was selected in the ninth round of the NHL's 1970 player's draft (110th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played for the Green Bay Bobcats in the United States Hockey League for the 1974-75 season (scoring seven goals and eighteen assists), but was never called up to the NHL. Subsequently, he coached girl's hockey in Lorette, Manitoba and St. Adolphe.

After leaving hockey, Lemieux received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Winnipeg, and completed post-baccalaureate work in education at the University of Manitoba. He worked as a teacher for several years, coaching various high school teams and holding positions in the teacher's association.

In the provincial election of 1999, Lemieux was elected to the Manitoba legislature for the rural riding of La Verendrye, defeating Progressive Conservative incumbent Ben Sveinson by 3533 votes to 3367. Lemieux's victory was something of an upset, as it occurred in a riding which had never before been won by the New Democratic Party or its social-democratic predecessors (despite having existed since 1879). In the 2003 election, Lemieux was re-elected with 58% of the riding's vote.

On October 5, 1999, Lemieux was appointed Minister of Consumer of Corporate Affairs, with responsibility for the Gaming Control Act. He was relieved of the latter responsibility on July 4, 2000; after a cabinet shuffle on January 17, 2001, he was appointed Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism with responsibility for Sport.

Lemieux has since been "shuffled" two further times: he became Minister of Education and Youth on September 25, 2002, and Minister of Transportation and Government Services on November 4, 2003.

Lemieux has described his political views as being closer to Tony Blair's "New Labour" than to traditional democratic socialism. In2003, he supported Bill Blaikie's campaign to become leader of the federal New Democratic Party.

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