Bardish Chagger won the Waterloo riding in Election 42 on October 19. Since then, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed her Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Here she shares with TCE about her work thus far.
TCE: It’s been a busy few months for you. Tell us how you went from winning the election to being a Minister.
BC: [The election] was an amazing experience. People got involved that had never been involved in campaigns before. People of all ages, of all backgrounds were really engaged in this campaign and helped set the agenda.
TCE: Tell us about the transition into the role of Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
BC: There have been a lot of briefings and communicating with people that my portfolio worked with in the past. A regular day hasn’t started, since the house sits in December… So far it has been long days with lots of information. I’ve been talking to partners, employers, provinces, territories, and post-secondary institutions. I’m reaching out to find out what has been done well, what can be improved on, and what challenges they’ve noticed. It’s been a lot of listening and taking in information.
TCE: As the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, what can we expect from your office?
BC: We really need small businesses to grow… It’s really important that we get Canadians working in meaningful employment. Small and medium enterprises employ 90 per cent of the private sector workforce and account for 40 per cent of our GDP.
I’m coming from the Waterloo region, where people… around the nation [and] around the world choose to come. We are a welcoming community. We are innovators.
TCE: What are some of the big things that you’d like to accomplish as an MP?
BC: I want to ensure there are opportunities for people in this community to be part of the dialogue. When it comes to electoral reform or senate reform, I want to ensure there is an opportunity for people within our constituency to have a voice…
We had a voter turnout higher than the rest of the nation in this community. We have the capacity to be very engaged.
TCE: The holiday season is getting closer. How do you celebrate? Does your family have any unique traditions around the holidays?
BC: My family all gets together and we’ll have turkey and a family dinner. I make some visits and spread some holiday cheer. I take it as an opportunity to appreciate life being good. Over the last few years, rather than giving [gifts] amongst ourselves, we’ve been trying to reach out to people who need it the most. We’re blessed, life is good, so to be able to help someone else who might not have as much Christmas cheer is great.
TCE: What’s your favourite holiday experience in Waterloo region?
BC: I like visiting Waterloo Park when all the lights get put up. I enjoy a bit of tobogganing, hanging out at the park, and taking some of the kids from the neighbourhood there. Something we’ve always done in my neighbourhood is exchange little boxes of chocolate or go over for a cup of hot chocolate or tea. Little things like that are really exciting to me. It’s the one time a year that I feel that people take a step back and have a little bit of time.
TCE will keep checking in with this Region’s MPs, but we need your help. What do you want us to ask your elected representative? Favourite children’s book? Metal band? 19th Century German philosopher?
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