Tim Hudak (BA’90-Economics) is the MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook as well as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC) since 2009.
The Fort Erie, Ont., native, who received a full-ride academic scholarship to Western, was drawn to economics in his first year, despite a classroom of nearly 600 students. And while elected office never entered his mind in those days, an “awakening toward the conservative side” started to take shape in various history and political science classes.
After earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of Washington, Hudak eyed returning to Western to pursue a PhD. But that wouldn’t happen.
In 1995, PC party officials approached the 27-year-old Hudak about running in the provincial election when the local candidate dropped out. Fresh out of grad school, nobody – including Hudak – gave him a chance.
He defeated two opponents by fewer than 1,100 votes on the back of Mike Harris’ Common Sense Revolution. And he has never looked back. Hudak has won four straight elections, and risen in prominence within the party to the point of serving as leader since 2009.
Hudak has served as Minister of Northern Development and Mines (1999), Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation (2001) and Minister of Consumer and Business Services (2002).
When the Liberals won the 2003 provincial elections, sending the PC to Official Opposition status, Hudak was appointed Finance Critic (2005), later adding Critic of Research and Innovation (2006), Critic of Public Infrastructure Renewal (2006) and Critic of Revenue and Critic of Management Board of Cabinet (2007).
Hudak is an avid social media user, becoming the first Canadian politician to have his own iPhone app.
Prior to being elected, Hudak worked on the U.S.-Canada border from 1988-93.
His father, Patrick William Hudak, and uncle, Joe, were the first in the family to attend university. Patrick Hudak, BA’63 (King’s), played football for the Mustangs. His sister, Patricia Anne Hudak, BEd’95, and wife, Debbie Elaine (Hutton) Hudak, BA’88, also attended Western.
Tim Hudak was featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Alumni Gazette.
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