Murray was born in Scotland, and came to Canada with his family at age three. He was raised in a family that supported the left-wing New Democratic Party, and was initially elected to council as an NDP supporter (Spectator, 30 October 1997 and 7 November 2003). His ideology shifted to the right during his time in office, however, and he expressed socially conservative views on several occasions. He called for the restoration of the death penalty in 1991, and was a vocal opponent of plans to bring gender-neutral language to city positions (Hamilton Spectator, 9 October 1991).
He was a controversial figure on council, and was sometimes accused of uncivil and aggressive behaviour toward his colleagues. He was involved in a 1991 parking-lot altercation with fellow councillor Dave Wilson, and on another occasion described councillor Dominic Agostino as a "political prostitute" (Hamilton Spectator, 9 November 1991). Terry Cooke, a leading politician in the city, once described Murray as a "political bully". Other councillors, including Cooke's longtime rival Henry Merling, were more supportive.
He chaired the Hamilton Parks and Recreation Committee in the late 1980s, and favoured a total ban of smoking in recreational areas in 1988 (Globe and Mail, 7 January 1988). He was appointed to the Hamilton-Wentworth Police Services Board in 1989, and remained a member until his defeat at the polls in 1991.
Read more about this topic: Tom Murray (politician)
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