Candice Bergen (politician)

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Candice Bergen

Candice Bergen - 2017 (cropped).jpg
Bergen in 2017
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
September 2, 2020
LeaderErin O'Toole
Preceded byLeona Alleslev
Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
September 2, 2020
PresidentScott Lamb
LeaderErin O'Toole
Preceded byLeona Alleslev
Opposition House Leader
In office
September 15, 2016 – September 2, 2020
LeaderRona Ambrose
Andrew Scheer
Preceded byAndrew Scheer
Succeeded byGérard Deltell
Official Opposition Critic for Natural Resources
In office
November 20, 2015 – September 14, 2016
LeaderRona Ambrose
ShadowingJim Carr
Preceded byGuy Caron
Succeeded byMark Strahl
Minister of State for Social Development
In office
July 15, 2013 – November 4, 2015
Prime MinisterStephen Harper
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJean-Yves Duclos
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety
In office
May 25, 2011 – July 15, 2013
Prime MinisterStephen Harper
Preceded byDave MacKenzie
Succeeded byRoxanne James
Chair of the Standing Committee on
Human Resources
In office
March 8, 2010 – June 20, 2011
MinisterDiane Finley
Preceded byDean Allison
Succeeded byEd Komarnicki
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Portage—Lisgar
Assumed office
October 14, 2008
Preceded byBrian Pallister
Personal details
Candice Marie Bergen

(1964-09-28) September 28, 1964 (age 56)
Morden, Manitoba
Political partyConservative
ResidenceOak Bluff, Manitoba[1]
ProfessionFederal politician
Other namesCandice Hoeppner

Candice Marie Bergen PC MP (born September 28, 1964) is a Canadian politician who has been Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition since September 2020. Originally elected under the name Candice Hoeppner, Bergen has been Member of Parliament for Portage—Lisgar in Manitoba since 2008, winning reelection in 2011, 2015, and 2019. She was previously Minister of State for Social Development in the Harper Government and Opposition House Leader under Rona Ambrose and Andrew Scheer from 2016 until 2020.


Bergen was born in Morden, Manitoba to a family with Mennonite roots. She is the youngest of eight siblings. Before being elected, she served in many advisory roles to Members of Parliament and as a Conservative Party organizer in Manitoba.

Federal politics[edit]

Bergen decided to enter politics because of frustration with what she perceived as wasteful spending by the Canadian federal government. She began volunteering at the Canadian Alliance's local riding association.[2]

In 2004, she was the Manitoba campaign manager for Stephen Harper's leadership bid for the Conservative Party of Canada.[3] She has acted as an advisor to several Members of Parliament and served as chief organizer for the Conservative Party in Manitoba.

Government backbencher[edit]

On October 14, 2008, Bergen, under her then-married name Candice Hoeppner, was elected to represent Portage—Lisgar in the 2008 Canadian federal election.[2]

On November 19, 2008, Bergen introduced the motion in the House of Commons to accept the Speech from the throne (the traditional speech in which the Governor General outlines the government's agenda at the start of a new Parliament of Canada). In fall 2011, Bergen was given the opportunity to chair a panel of MPs (one from each recognized party) for the selection of Supreme Court judges. Bergen was also a member of the legislative committee studying the controversial Bill C-18, an omnibus bill which would purportedly give marketing freedom to western grain farmers. Some farmers claim that the bill has had negative effects on the grain farmers it claimed to benefit.[4]

Previously, Bergen served as chair of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. She was the vice-chair of the Standing Committee for the Status of Women and sat on the House of Commons Standing Committee for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Additionally, she has been a member of the Liaison Committee as well as the Panel of Legislative Committee Chairs.[5]

Bergen has been involved in several special parliamentary groups. She was on the executive on the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group.[6] She is also the former chair of the Canada-Australia-New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship Group, in addition to sitting on a number of other parliamentary groups.[5]

On May 15, 2009, Bergen introduced Bill C-391, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, which would repeal the long-gun registry. On November 4, 2009, Bill C-391 passed second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 164 to 137.[7] On September 22, 2010, a Liberal motion to kill debate on Bill C-391 was passed 153–151, after six NDP MPs who backed Bergen's bill changed their votes, along with several Liberal MPs, enough to ensure the passage of the motion, keeping the registry alive.[8]

Parliamentary secretary and cabinet minister[edit]

On May 2, 2011, at the 41st Canadian general election, Bergen was returned as Member of Parliament for Portage—Lisgar with 76.0 per cent of the vote.[9] On May 25, 2011, Bergen was appointed as the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety. In her role as parliamentary secretary, Bergen had the opportunity to work alongside the Minister of Public Safety on Bill C-19, Ending the Long Gun Registry Act which became law on April 5, 2012.[5]

On July 15, 2013, Bergen was appointed Minister of State for Social Development.[10]

In opposition[edit]

Bergen with Leona Alleslev and Andrew Scheer in December 2019.

After Stephen Harper resigned as Conservative leader after the party became the Official Opposition after the 2015 election, Bergen, who was re-elected, announced that she would run for the interim leadership.[11] Rona Ambrose was chosen instead.[12]

In opposition, she served as the Official Opposition critic for Natural Resources from November 20, 2015 to September 15, 2016.

Bergen was appointed by Interim Conservative leader, Rona Ambrose as Opposition House Leader on September 15, 2016, replacing Andrew Scheer.[13]

In 2018, Bergen criticized Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government during the Question Period after not ordering law enforcement to arrest Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi after admitting to be a member of the Islamic State group.[14] She also called on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to reveal whether the government knows where he is or not, but Goodale stated that it was the "opposition of keeping Canadians safe".[15]

She was re-elected in the 2019 federal election. She considered running in the 2020 Conservative Party of Canada leadership election to succeed Andrew Scheer, but decided not to because of her lack of fluency in French.[2]

In September 2020, Bergen was appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition by Erin O'Toole.[16] She was succeeded as Opposition House Leader by Gérard Deltell.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Bergen was born and raised in Morden and is the youngest of eight children. She has three children and two grandchildren and was married in October, 2020.[18]

Election results[edit]

2019 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Bergen 31,600 70.8 +10.0
Liberal Ken Werbiski 4,779 10.7 -15.1
New Democratic Cindy Friesen 3,872 8.7 +2.5
Green Beverley Eert 2,356 5.3 +1.3
People's Aaron Archer 1,169 2.6 -
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 860 1.9 -1.3
Total valid votes/Expense limit 44,636 100.0
Total rejected ballots 275
Turnout 44,911 68.5
Eligible voters 65,546
Conservative hold Swing +12.55%
Source: Elections Canada[19][20]
2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Bergen 25,060 60.8 -15.2
Liberal Ken Werbiski 10,621 25.8 +19.5
New Democratic Dean Harder 2,554 6.2 -3.6
Green Bev Eert 1,631 4.0 -1.6
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 1,320 3.2 +0.9
Total valid votes/Expense limit 41,187 100.0     $207,937.66
Total rejected ballots 159 0.25 -0.15
Turnout 41,346 66.52 +5.92
Eligible voters 62,153
Conservative hold Swing -17.35
Source: Elections Canada[21][22]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Hoeppner 26,899 76.0 +7.7
New Democratic Mohamed Alli 3,478 9.8 +2.5
Liberal MJ Willard 2,221 6.3 -7.3
Green Matthew Friesen 1,996 5.6 -2.5
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 805 2.3 -0.5
Total valid votes/Expense limit 35,399 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 147 0.4 0.0
Turnout 35,546 60.6 +6.8
Eligible voters 58,624
Conservative hold Swing +7.5
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Hoeppner 22,036 68.3 -1.5 $57,186
Liberal Ted Klassen 4,374 13.6 +2.2 $19,807
Green Charlie Howatt 2,606 8.1 +3.0 $3,649
New Democratic Mohamed Alli 2,353 7.3 -4.1 $2,873
Christian Heritage Len Lodder 911 2.8 +0.1 $8,429
Total valid votes/Expense limit 32,280 100.0   $83,296
Total rejected ballots 116 0.4 0.0
Turnout 32,396 53.8
Conservative hold Swing +1.85


  1. ^ "Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Dickson, Janice (January 4, 2021). "Candice Bergen's a strong speaker, but her secret power is the ability to listen". Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  3. ^ Janus, Andrea (July 2013). "Harper's new crew: Profiles of the 'fresh faces' in cabinet". CTV News. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "Stop Bill C-18". National Farmer's Union. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "About Candice". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group (CAJP)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "MPs vote to abolish long-gun registry". CBC News. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  8. ^ Campion-Smith, Bruce; Whittington, Les (22 September 2010). "Long-gun registry survives tight Commons vote". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  9. ^ The Western Canadian, May 3, 2011, p1.
  10. ^ Harris, Kathleen (15 July 2013). "Harper adds 8 new faces in major cabinet shakeup". CBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Rona Ambrose, Mike Lake to run for Conservative interim leadership". Maclean's. The Canadian Press. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  12. ^ Wingrove, Josh (5 November 2015). "Canada Conservatives Choose Rona Ambrose as Interim Leader". BloombergBusiness. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  13. ^ O'Malley, Kady (15 September 2016). "Candice Bergen takes over as House leader in Conservative critic shuffle". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  14. ^ Furey, Anthony (May 14, 2018). "FUREY: Toronto ISIS returnee is laughing at us; something must be done". Toronto Sun. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  15. ^ Khandaker, Tamara (11 May 2018). "Politicians are freaking out over a podcast about returned Canadian ISIS fighter". Vice News.
  16. ^ "O'Toole names top Tories for Commons roles, with Bergen as deputy leader". Kamloops This Week. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  17. ^ "Conservative Party: Richard Martel becomes Quebec lieutenant, Gérard Deltell becomes parliamentary leader". HuffPost (in French). September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "Candice Bergen's a strong speaker, but her secret power is the ability to listen". Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  19. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  21. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Portage—Lisgar, 30 September 2015
  22. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]