Ron Atkey, a lawyer by training, was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of St. Paul's in the 1972 election, making him the first ever opposition MP for the riding. (Current MP Carolyn Bennett is the second). Atkey was defeated by John Roberts two years later in the 1974 election.
Atkey avenged his defeat in the 1979 election that brought the Tories to power under Joe Clark. Clark appointed Atkey to the Canadian Cabinet as Minister of Employment and Immigration. Clark's minority government was short-lived, however, and Atkey was defeated a year later in the 1980 election.
Atkey did not attempt a return to politics subsequently, and returned to his law practice. He became a senior partner in the firm of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP. From 1984 to 1989, he served as Chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee which oversees the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
He has taught law at the University of Western Ontario, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto. He wrote Canadian Constitutional Law in a Modern Perspective which was a popular constitutional law textbook in the 1970s.
In 1994, he wrote a novel, The Chancellor's Foot. He lectures on national security law and international terrorism, and is an expert on communications and cultural law. he has written on the exemption from North American Free Trade Agreement of Canadian cultural industries.
In 2004, he was appointed Amicus Curiae to the Arar Commission in order to act as an independent counsel with the responsibility of testing government requests made on the grounds of national security confidentiality.
Ron Atkey has also served as legal counsel to Warner Communications, and played a role in the company's merger with America Online.
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