|Birth||1951, Punjab, India|
|Politics||Ontario Liberal Party|
Harinder Jeet Singh Takhar (born c. 1951) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario who was elected in 2003. he represents the riding of Mississauga—Erindale. He served in the cabinets of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.
Takhar was born to a Sikh family in the Indian state of Punjab, with a background in farming and civil service work. He moved to Canada in 1974, and arrived in Mississauga, Ontario in 1977. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in economics and political science. He has certified as a CMA. He has taught CMA and CGA accredited courses at Sheridan College for thirteen years. Takhar worked for such companies as AGRA Industries Limited, Linear Technology Inc./Gennum Corporation and Timex Canada Inc. He served as the president and chief executive officer of the Chalmers Group of Companies until his election to the Ontario legislature.
Takhar received the 2001 Community Service Award from the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario for “demonstrating selflessness and kindness for the benefit of society.” He lives with his wife Balwinder and their two daughters in Mississauga.
Takhar ran in the 2003 provincial election as the Liberal candidate in the riding of Mississauga Centre. He defeated Progressive Conservative incumbent Rob Sampson by 2,620 votes. He ran again in 2007 in the redistributed riding of Mississauga—Erindale defeating PC candidate David Brow by 6,638 votes. He was re-elected in 2011. While it was initially reported that he intended to retire, he changed his mind about running and was re-elected in June 2014.
He was appointed Minister of Transportation on October 23, 2003, by Premier Dalton McGuinty. He is the first Indian-Canadian to hold a cabinet post in Ontario.
In June 2005, Takhar faced criticism after he was caught visiting his company despite it having been placed in a blind trust when he joined the cabinet. Cabinet ministers are required to keep an arms-length relationship with any business they own to avoid a conflict of interest. Premier McGuinty admitted that Takhar had shown poor judgement. Takhar claimed that he was visiting the company only to speak with his wife, who is the company’s CEO.
The matter was sent to the province’s Integrity Commissioner which issued a decision on January 4, 2006, that Takhar had violated the province’s integrity guidelines by failing to maintain an arms-length relationship with the trustee of his blind trust. Following the release of the decision, McGuinty issued a statement that he would not fire Takhar. Takhar was reassigned to the new position of Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship on May 23, 2006.
In September 2008, Takhar was reappointed to a slightly revised cabinet post of Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services. In June 2009, Takhar’s moved to the positions of Minister of Government Services.
He resigned from Cabinet in 2012 in order to stand as a candidate in the 2013 Liberal leadership convention to choose McGuinty’s successor. Takhar came in fourth place with 11.3% of the vote on the first ballot after which he withdrew to endorse Sandra Pupatello who went on to lose to Kathleen Wynne.
On February 11, 2013, Wynne reappointed Takhar to position of Minister of Government Services and also made him the Management Board Chair. On May 8, 2013 he resigned from cabinet after being hospitalized with chest pains.
He remains in the legislature as a backbench MPP.