Politician, Member of Canadian Parliament

Parliamentarian from 1993-present

Background information

Jim Abbott is the Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, British Columbia. He is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada and currently serves as the party's associate foreign affairs critic. He currently specializes in affairs specific to the Asian Pacific.

Abbott was born in Toronto, Ontario, on August 8, 1942. His employment background was in business before he entered politics in the 1990s. He is known for his socially conservative views and his persistent criticisms of the Liberal government.

Political beginnings

Abbott was originally a member of the Reform Party of Canada; his affiliation with the now-defunct party dates back to 1991. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and represented the riding of Kootenay East (the boundaries of which were later redrawn, becoming his current riding). During his time as a Reform MP he served as the Official Opposition's critic of the Senate government leader, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Solicitor General. He also vice-chaired the House's Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

He remained with the party after it became the Canadian Alliance in 2000. During this time he was the Opposition's critic of the ministries of amateur sport; he reprised his past duties as Canadian heritage critic during this period as well. He served on several House Standing Committees during the 36th parliament, including those dealing with agriculture, justice, and human rights.

Jim Abbott in today's parliament

The Canadian Alliance merged with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in December, 2003. Abbott continued to serve in the Opposition's shadow cabinet, and debated the government's policies regarding sport. After defending his incumbency in the 2004 Canadian Federal election, he currently sits in the third row of the Conservative caucus area of the House of Commons. He is seated next to Leon Benoit, a Conservative MP from Alberta.

Abbott's views can fairly be described as socially conservative: the sample of his speeches in the House of Commons indicate his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and foreign media ownership restrictions. He did apparently present a petition to the House asking the government not become militarily involved in Iraq in 2003, though he did also indicate that he thought the government may have made a hypocritical decision in requiring a United Nations sanction in order to enter Iraq while not doing the same in Kosovo.

One of Abbott's trademarks is his use of subtle humour in the form of political debates or attacks.

"All honourable members should pause and think about something other than politics. We should think about the two ducks spotted yesterday on the front lawn of Parliament Hill... However we regret that the ducks did not stay long enough for someone to bring their presence to the attention of the Prime Minister. It is the belief of many political observers that the Prime Minister should have known about them and even strolled out to look at them. It might well have been mood lifting for the Prime Minister to see a duck that was not lame."

Abbott's website (www.jimabbottmp.com) contains very little personal information about him, aside from a list of his past committee involvements within the House of Commons and a selection of his speeches and statements on the floor of the House. The majority of the speeches are extremely brief, save for one or two dialogue-like Hansard excerpts that occured between him and former heritage minister Sheila Copps. Among his more lengthy speeches were a posthumous tribute to the Queen Mother and a personal account of how his religious beliefs impact his decisions in parliament.

Abbott was also one of the most vocal critics of the CBC's decision to put hockey commentator Don Cherry on a seven second delay after he shared his opinions about the war in Iraq during Hockey Night in Canada.

Federal Political Experience - ABBOT, JAMES http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=3&s=M December 14, 2004
Jim Abbott MP http://www.jimabbottmp.com/index.html December 13, 2004