Peter Van Loan, PC MP (born April 18, 1963) is a Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the electoral district of York—Simcoe. He has been the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons since May 18, 2011, a role he previously held from 2007 to 2008.
Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Van Loan is of Estonian heritage. His mother and grandparents fled Estonia during World War II and emigrated to Canada. Van Loan was educated at the University of Toronto and York University and holds a bachelor’s degree, a Masters in International Relations and an additional Masters degree in geography. Van Loan graduated from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1989.
Prior to his election to public office, Van Loan was a partner and Chair of the Planning and Development Law Group at the law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Toronto, Ontario. Van Loan was also an Adjunct Professor of Planning at the University of Toronto.
He eventually served as president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario during Mike Harris' term of office and then the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada for a brief period. He resigned from the latter post in 2000 after a series of disagreements with its leader, Joe Clark.
Van Loan was a key figure in the unsuccessful attempt to convince Premier of New Brunswick Bernard Lord to run for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservatives in late 2002. He was a key organizer in the "Yes" Campaign, led by Tory Leader Peter MacKay, to ratify the merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance into the Conservative Party of Canada. Van Loan then again attempted to recruit Lord to run for the leadership of the new party, and again was unsuccessful.
In an article from January 24, 2008, Van Loan was classified as one of "Harper's 12", the twelve most influential people in Ottawa, by Maclean's Magazine. Other cabinet ministers included were Jim Prentice, John Baird, and Jim Flaherty. On October 30, 2008 Jay Hill replaced Van Loan as Government House Leader and Steven John Fletcher took over the Minister for Democratic Reform post. Van Loan became the Minister for Public Safety, as Stockwell Day became the Minister of International Trade. On these changes Don Martin wrote: "The House of Commons might become a slightly friendlier place now that Peter Van Loan has lost the job of Question Period cheap shot specialist to become Public Safety Minister, a good move that seems to back Harper’s pledge to play nice with others during the upcoming session."
On January 19, 2010, Prime Minister Steven Harper designated Van Loan as the next Minister of International Trade. It has been suggested that Harper removed the MP from his post as Public Safety Minister because of dissatisfaction with his leadership pertaining to the correctional system. Peter Van Loan is currently the Government House Leader.
April 3, 2012