He went through hell in 2009, and is now re-emerging into the media spotlight as a chastened figure who claims to have no interest in a political comeback. Just how different is the new Michael Bryant?
THE MICHAEL BRYANT TIMELINE
April 13, 1966: Michael Bryant is born in Victoria, B.C.
1992: Graduates from Osgoode Law School in Toronto, and serves as a Supreme Court clerk to Justice Beverley McLachlin.
Summer 1995: Begins working as a lawyer with Bay Street firm McCarthy Tétrault.
Aug. 31, 1997: Marries Susan Abramovitch, whom he met and began dating five years earlier when they served together as clerks at the Supreme Court.
June 3, 1999: Elected as a Liberal party MPP, representing the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s.
Oct. 23, 2003: Re-elected in a Liberal victory, and shortly thereafter sworn in as the youngest Attorney General in Ontario history.
October 2007: Demoted in provincial cabinet to minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Government House Leader, thanks to his media antics and apparent leadership ambitions.
Sept. 18, 2008: Appointed Minister of Economic Development, where he helps to negotiate the bailout of the auto industry.
June 3, 2009: Resigns from cabinet and accepts a job as president of the newly created municipal economic development agency, Invest Toronto.
Aug. 31, 2009: Bryant and his wife are accosted at an intersection by Darcy Allan Sheppard, who grabs onto the side of their car. Sheppard’s body strikes a fire hydrant; the impact is deadly. Bryant is arrested and charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving.
May 25, 2010: Special prosecutor Richard Peck stands in court to formally withdraw all charges against Bryant.
Dec. 27, 2010: Bryant and Abramovitch separate. They eventually divorce.
LIFE OF BRYANT: EXCERPTS FROM HIS NEW BOOK, 28 SECONDS
› On his own life of privilege before the accident: “Until the night that everything changed, I was one of fortune’s favoured sons, and the inside of a jail cell seemed as unlikely a destination for me as the far side of the moon. Until then, by almost any measure, I was on a roll. Everything I’d ever sought out, ever dreamed of, ever imagined had become true in my life.”
› On being taken to the police station after the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard: “I was about to enter my dark night of the soul, a crucible reserved for all of us, often delivered without notice. But for me, the action was over. The rest of my story would be played out by others. Still, my life story at least would continue. Darcy Sheppard’s would not.”
› On whether he received special treatment from authorities: “One cannot build a justice system around how to charge an ex-Attorney General. The system is going to slip a disk bending over backwards to avoid the appearance of lenient treatment, necessarily rendering a bizarre process and result … I got the opposite of special treatment. I was disadvantaged by virtue of being a former Attorney General, but so be it.”
› On judging Darcy Allan Sheppard: “Darcy had enough demons, for which I judged not, and for which he deserved more compassion and aid than ever offered or received in his life, at least from our criminal justice system.”
› On the effect of being sworn in as Attorney General: “Any crumbs of modesty I did have, and it wasn’t much, lasted about 24 hours.”
› On his ask-for-forgiveness-rather-than-permission relationship with Premier McGuinty: “It was an operating practice in my office to file the comments from the Premier’s Office in the shredder. I took enormous pride in it.”
› On his reaction to being demoted in cabinet by McGuinty: “From where I sat, our relationship had unraveled into a power play. I refused to be controlled and he, perhaps, felt that his own authority was being undermined.… Out of defensiveness and fear of failure, I became further unrestrained.”
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