Gord Mackintosh was first elected as New Democratic Party MLA for the north Winnipeg constituency of St. Johns in 1993 and re-elected in four general elections. From 1999 to 2006 he served as the Government House Leader and Minister of Justice and Attorney General with responsibility for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation. In September 2006 Premier Gary Doer appointed him Minister of Family Services and Housing and Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities. On November 3, 2009 Gord became Minister of Family Services and Consumer Affairs with responsibility for The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. On January 13, 2012, Gord was appointed Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship.
Gord worked for the Manitoba and Canadian Human Rights Commissions and was later Deputy Clerk of the Manitoba Legislature. As a lawyer with the Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman he was involved in environmental issues and notably was advisor to Elijah Harper during the Meech Lake constitutional crisis.
He was a long-time chair of the Patients’ Rights Committee and served on the boards of the Rainbow Society (for children with life-threatening illnesses) and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties. He helped lead the successful fight against closing the St. John’s Library in 1993. As MLA, he helped establish the St. John’s Youth Justice Council, several residents’ associations, and citizen patrols. Gord also co-chaired three successive New Democratic Party election platform committees.
Gord’s focus on children has helped produce child victim-friendly courtrooms and waiting rooms, Cybertip.ca (to report on-line predators and child pornography), Amber Alert, a high risk offender website, and strict new child support laws. He has helped lead successful provincial and national efforts to strengthen child protection laws.
Since 2006 Gord helped co-author the province’s ALL Aboard poverty reduction strategy and launched the historic Family Choices five-year expansion of child care, and an overhaul of child welfare called Changes for Children. Tracia’s Trust was then unveiled to counter sexual exploitation which includes Canada’s first law to require the reporting of child pornography.
An initiative to get Manitobans off welfare called Rewarding Work, including supports for persons with disabilities known as marketAbilities, was followed by the proposed multi-year OpeningDOORS disabilities strategy. The province’s low-income HOMEWorks! housing strategy includes new mental health and homelessness initiatives, and a renewal of Manitoba Housing.
In addition to establishing the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation, Gord has launched safety initiatives unique to Manitoba, including: Lighthouses (for after school youth activities), Project Gang Proof, and Turnabout (which provides interventions for offenders under age 12). The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, a Canadian first, has shut down hundreds of drug and prostitution houses.
Safety Aid was set up to provide home safety improvements for low income and victimized seniors. Gord was also instrumental in developing Manitoba’s crystal meth strategy.
Gord has introduced strong new human rights and domestic violence laws, strengthened procedures to prevent wrongful convictions, and furthered work in Aboriginal justice. A successful auto theft strategy was launched in 2005 to theft-proof 90 per cent of Winnipeg vehicles in five years and to intensively target auto thieves. In 2000 he established a gang prosecution and probation unit, followed by innovative civil laws to counter organized crime, and unprecedented new funding for policing and integrated police units - including a new police-in-schools initiative and coordinated Citizens on Patrol. Under his direction implementation of Manitoba’s Victims’ Bill of Rights set a new standard for the treatment of crime victims.
In 2006, the United Nations recognized Gord’s efforts with the Chief Judge to reduce court backlogs. The American Prosecutors’ Research Institute recognized Gord’s establishment of Canada’s first community prosecutor. His efforts have been held out by MADD Canada as a model in the fight against impaired driving.
Gord has degrees in political studies and law. He lives in Winnipeg’s North End with his wife Margaret and three children.