Bardish Chagger

Justin Trudeau Mary Ng Dominic LeBlanc

Bardish Chagger

Waterloo MP 2017.jpg
Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth
Assumed office
November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byPosition created
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
In office
August 19, 2016 – November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byDominic LeBlanc
Succeeded byPablo Rodríguez
Minister of Small Business and Tourism
In office
November 4, 2015 – July 18, 2018
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byMaxime Bernier
Succeeded byMelanie Joly (Tourism)
Mary Ng (Small Business)
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Waterloo
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded byRiding Established
Personal details
Born (1980-04-06) April 6, 1980 (age 40)
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Alma materUniversity of Waterloo
ProfessionCommunity organizer

Bardish Chagger PC MP (born April 6, 1980) is a Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo. She has been appointed as Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 20, 2019. She formerly held the positions of Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.[1] Chagger was elected as a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada in the 2015 Canadian election.[2][3]

Chagger was the first female Leader of the Government in the House of Commons in the history of Canada.

Early life and career

Chagger's parents immigrated to Waterloo from Punjab, India in the 1970s. Her family is Sikh.[4] Her father, Gurminder "Gogi" Chagger, was active in Liberal Party politics and an admirer of Pierre Trudeau, and Chagger's first involvement in politics came in the 1993 federal election as a 13-year-old volunteer for Andrew Telegdi's successful campaign in Waterloo. She attended the University of Waterloo, with aspirations to become a nurse, but she subsequently became an executive assistant to Telegdi, who represented Waterloo in the House of Commons for the Liberals from 1993 to 2008.[5]

Chagger graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor's degree in science.[6] After Telegedi's defeat in 2008, Chagger became a director of special events for the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre.[6]

Federal politics

Chagger volunteered for Justin Trudeau's 2013 party leadership bid, and subsequently became the Liberal Party's candidate in the newly reconstituted Waterloo riding. She took 49.7% of the vote and defeated two-term Conservative incumbent Peter Braid, who had earlier ousted her former employer Andrew Telegdi.[5][6]

Minister for Small Business and Tourism

On November 4, 2015 Chagger was sworn in as Minister of Small Business and Tourism.[7]

As a result of the July 18, 2018 cabinet shuffle, Chagger's responsibilities for Small Business were given to Mary Ng, and Mélanie Joly took on the responsibilities of Tourism.[8]

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

On August 19, 2016, Chagger was sworn in as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons replacing Dominic Leblanc in the position. She retained her responsibilities as Minister of Small Business and Tourism until the July 18, 2018 cabinet shuffle.[1]

On March 10, 2017, Chagger in her role as Government House Leader released a discussion paper titled Modernization of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons[9] which sought to implement different ways that House of Commons procedure and practice could be improved to be more accountable, predictable and available to all Members of Parliament, and the public. The modernization paper suggested reforms to the House of Commons such as the implementation of electronic voting, the curtailment of Friday sittings, the reformation of Question Period, including a Prime Minister's Question Period, changes to the process of prorogation, greater powers for the Speaker to separate votes and committee studies on omnibus bills and legislative programming.

Opposition Members of Parliament were concerned with the reforms proposed in the discussion paper, in particular with proposals to implement legislative programming and the elimination or change of Friday sittings in the House of Commons. In late April 2017, Chagger sent a letter to her counterparts, then New Democratic Party House Leader Murray Rankin and Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen, to inform them that the government would be abandoning several of the key proposals that were part of the modernization paper, such as changes to the Friday sitting, legislative programming, and electronic voting.[10] They would continue however with proposals that were explicitly part of the 2015 Liberal election platform, including the decision to have a Prime Minister’s Question Period, requiring the government to issue a report following the use of prorogation, and allowing the Speaker of the House of Commons to separate votes or committee studies on different parts of a bill that he or she deems to be omnibus.[11]

WE Charity Ethics Investigation

In July 2020, Chagger was the first witness who testified in front of a parliamentary committee investigating awarding of a sole sourced contract to run Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to WE Charity, an organization with close ties with the Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Chagger was the one who signed the contracts with We Charity, and has met with WE Charity days before student program was announced by Trudeau.[12][13] Originally it was reported that WE charity would get a payment of at least $19.5 million, later it was disclosed that the contract was paying them up to $43.5 million to run student volunteer grant program. Chagger testified that it was the public service that recommended the grant program be outsourced to a third-party via a contribution agreement, specifically it was, Employment and Social Development Assistant Deputy Minister, Rachel Wernick.[14]

Electoral record

2019 Canadian federal election: Waterloo
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Bardish Chagger 30,606 48.74
Conservative Jerry Zhang 15,479 24.65
New Democratic Lori Campbell 9,525 15.17
Green Kirsten Wright 6,087 9.69
People's Erika Traub 1,094 1.74
Total valid votes/Expense limit 62,791 100.0  
Total rejected ballots
Eligible voters
Source: Elections Canada[15], Global News[16]
2015 Canadian federal election: Waterloo
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Bardish Chagger 29,752 49.7 +11.38 $140,131.74
Conservative Peter Braid 19,318 32.3 -9.08 $148,370.13
New Democratic Diane Freeman 8,928 14.9 -0.04 $96,964.67
Green Richard Walsh 1,713 2.9 -1.78
Animal Alliance Emma Hawley-Yan 138 0.2 $4,066.17
Total valid votes/Expense limit 59,849 100.0     $212,120.63
Total rejected ballots 198
Turnout 60,047
Eligible voters 77,312
Source: Elections Canada[17][18]


  1. ^ a b "Bardish Chagger adds government House leader to small business, tourism duties". CBC News. 19 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Liberal Chagger takes Waterloo", Waterloo Region Record, 20 October 2015.
  3. ^ "19 Indian-Canadians elected to Canadian parliament". The Economic Times. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  4. ^ D'Amato, Luisa (15 December 2017). "Bardish Chagger's politics are always local, and her office rarely locked". Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b Mercer, Greg (27 October 2015). "Newly elected Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger loves the political life". The Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger named to Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC News. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  7. ^ Record Staff, Waterloo MP Chagger named to federal cabinet, The Waterloo Region Record, November 4, 2015
  8. ^ Harris, Kathleen (July 18, 2018). "Trudeau cabinet shuffle brings new faces, several changes for run-up to 2019 campaign". CBC News. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Office, Privy Council (2017-03-10). "Reforming the Standing Orders of the House of Commons". aem. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  10. ^ "Government House Leader Bardish Chagger's letter to her opposition counterparts | Government". Scribd. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  11. ^ "Liberals shelve House of Commons reform plans after opposition criticism - National |". 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  12. ^ "Liberal minister Bardish Chagger met with WE Charity days before student program was announced by Trudeau". 2020-07-20. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  13. ^ "Waterloo MP Chagger says she won't resign over WE Charity scandal". CBC News. Jul 21, 2020. Retrieved Aug 2, 2020.
  14. ^ "Trudeau government was willing to pay WE Charity up to $43.5M to run student volunteer grant program". National Post. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  15. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Canada election results: Waterloo". GlobalNews. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  17. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Waterloo, 30 September 2015
  18. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2015-08-15 at the Wayback Machine