Roger Simmons

Roger Simmons

The Honourable Roger Cyril Simmons, PC, is a public policy consultant and former politician and diplomat in Canada. The son of Willis Simmons and Ida Williams, he was born in Lewisporte, Newfoundland. He studied at the Salvation Army College for Officers, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Boston University and was a teacher/principal in Newfoundland’s denominational school system. He subsequently became principal of Grant Collegiate, Springdale, and superintendent of the Green Bay Integrated School District.Simmons became president of the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association in 1968. During his second term, he resigned to manage the campaign of Justice Minister Alec Hickman, a candidate for the Liberal leadership.

In a 1973 by-election, he was elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly as the Liberal MHA for Hermitage. He was re-elected in 1975 and 1979 as MHA for Burgeo–Bay d’Espoir. Later in 1979, he successfully contested a federal by-election and became the Liberal Member of Parliament for Burin–St. George’s, succeeding long-time federal cabinet minister and media icon Don Jamieson. He was re-elected in 1980 and appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Science and Technology.

On August 12, 1983, he was named to the cabinet of Pierre Trudeau as Minister of State for Mines. He resigned ten days later after learning that he was being investigated by the Canada Revenue Agency for failing to file an income tax return. Simmons narrowly lost his seat in the 1984 election.

In April 1985, he returned to the Newfoundland House of Assembly as the provincial Liberal MHA for Fortune–Hermitage and served as Leader of the Opposition for a year. Simmons returned to the federal House of Commons in the 1988 federal election. He represented Canada at the Rio Summit in 1992. He was re-elected in the 1993 election and was defeated in the 1997 election.

In 1998, Roger Simmons was appointed Consul General for Canada in Seattle. He served in that position for five years and represented Canada at the World Trade Organization. Then, he was for six years a senior policy advisor with Gowlings, one of Canada’s largest law firms, and later served as an advisor to the Iraqi parliament and an election observer in Ukraine.