Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator David Smith represents Ontario, and has served in the Senate since June 25, 2002.
He is a member of the following Senate Standing Committees: Rules, Procedures and Rights of Parliament (Chair); Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
In addition to being a respected lawyer, David Smith has a distinguished record of public service.
Mr. Smith earned a B.A. in Political Science from Carleton University in 1964 and an LL.B from Queen’s University in 1970. He was called to the Bar in 1972. During his legal career, Mr. Smith became a leading practitioner of municipal, administrative and regulatory law.
At the time of his Senate appointment, Mr. Smith was Chairman and Partner of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, one of Canada’s oldest and largest law firms, with over 500 lawyers in seven cities. Previously, Mr. Smith was Chairman of Fraser & Beatty.
Senator Smith’s political activities commenced while an undergraduate and he served as president of the Carleton University Liberal Club, National Youth Director of the Liberal Party (fulltime), and National President of the Young Liberals. Mr. Smith also served as executive assistant to two cabinet ministers, the Hon. Walter Gordon and the Hon. John Turner, during the Pearson years.
In 1972, he was elected to Toronto City Council, and he served for three two year terms until 1978. During his last term he also served as President of Toronto City Council and Deputy Mayor of Toronto.
From 1980-84, Mr. Smith sat in the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for the riding of Don Valley East and he also served in Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet as Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
Senator Smith’s single most satisfying project during his time in Parliament occurred from 1980 to 1982 when he was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau as Chairman of the House of Commons Special Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped. This Committee was established to identify key obstacles faced by disabled persons in Canada and its recommendations contained in its report, entitled “Obstacles”, formed the basis of Canada’s efforts during 1981, which the United Nations declared as “The Year of Disabled Persons”.
The Committee heard over 600 witnesses in 18 locations throughout Canada. Senator Smith identified 12 Canadians, with various disabilities, used many photographs in the report which illustrated their difficulties, and over 400,000 copies of this report had to be printed. High schools all over Canada requested copies.
Mr. Smith has lent his time to numerous voluntary and philanthropic organizations. He has sat on the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place, the Salvation Army, Toronto General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, and George Brown College. He also served as Chairman of the Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation and as Vice Chairman of the O’Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts. He currently sits on the boards of the Corporation for Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, Habitat for Humanity, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto. Mr. Smith has also served on numerous corporate boards, including two banks.
Mr. Smith and his wife Heather, who is Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario, have raised three children: Alexander, Kathleen and Laura. Senator Smith was born on May 16th, 1941.