Former Ontario MPP Peter Kormos dead at 60

Posted: March 31, 2013 by Rizwan Riyad in News, world
Tags: , , , , ,
former Ontario MPP Peter Kormo

former Ontario MPP Peter Kormo

 

After a colourful political career in provincial politics spanning more than two decades, former Ontario New Democrat Peter Kormos has died at the age of 60.

Niagara Region Coun. Andrew Petrowski said Kormos died Saturday morning at his Welland, Ont., home.

Kormos was elected last year to represent Welland on the council after ending a 23-year-stint at the legislature.

Petrowski, who co-hosted a talk radio show with Kormos, said the former provincial politician was a force to be reckoned with at Niagara council.

“He fought very articulately and cogently for anything he stood for,” he said.

“When Peter stood up nobody in council, including the chair, could control him. He was in control of that council and he would get his thought across come heck or high water.”

A criminal lawyer by trade, Kormos was first elected to the legislature in 1988.

He was named to cabinet when the New Democrats surprisingly swept to power under Bob Rae in 1990.

But Kormos, known to speak his mind, feuded with Rae over public auto insurance, which Kormos pushed for but the government never went ahead with.

Kormos was a bombastic speaker and didn’t shy away from antics in the legislature, such as an all-night speech on the insurance issue. His staple outfit in the legislature consisted of a collared shirt and cowboy boots.

A series of events including his posing, fully clothed, as a “Sunshine Boy” in a Toronto tabloid led to his removal from cabinet in 1991.

“Mr. Rae blessed me by creating that distance between me and him. It guaranteed that I got re-elected in ’95,” Kormos told The Canadian Press before his retirement in 2011.

Rae tweeted his condolences.

“Peter Kormos was one of my fiercest critics, but his death comes too soon for a man of his talent. Best to family and friends on (a) sad day.”

Kormos was prone to witty hyperbole in the legislature, comparing former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty to Pontius Pilate for trying to oust the province’s ombudsman. As a lawyer, Kormos knew how to walk the fine line between outrageous putdown and slander.

He was also a deeply passionate advocate of human rights and social justice, and spoke strongly against the governing Liberals over a secret law they passed giving police powers to detain and arrest people during the Toronto G20 summit in 2010.

Niagara police Sgt. Chris Scotland said officers joined paramedics in responding to a call at Kormos’ house.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

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