Celina Caesar-Chavannes

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Celina Caesar-Chavannes
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Whitby
In office
October 19, 2015 – September 11, 2019
Preceded byPat Perkins
Succeeded byRyan Turnbull
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development
In office
January 26, 2017 – August 31, 2018
MinisterMarie-Claude Bibeau
Preceded byKarina Gould
Succeeded byKamal Khera
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
December 2, 2015 – January 26, 2017
MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byPaul Calandra
Succeeded byPeter Schiefke
Personal details
Born (1974-06-24) June 24, 1974 (age 45)
Pomme Rose, St. David's, Grenada
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Liberal (2015–2019)
Spouse(s)Vidal Chavannes
ResidenceWhitby, Ontario, Canada
Alma materNew College, Toronto, University of Phoenix

Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes (born June 24, 1974) is a Canadian politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Whitby in the House of Commons of Canada from 2015 to 2019. Elected as a Liberal in the 2015 federal election,[1] she later sat as an independent member.

As a member of the Liberal caucus, she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in December 2015[2] and served in that role until January 26, 2017, when she became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.[3] On August 31, 2018, Caesar-Chavannes returned to the backbenches after the Prime Minister decided to shuffle his parliamentary secretaries.[4] On March 2, 2019, Caesar-Chavannes announced that she would not be seeking re-election in 2019[5] and almost three weeks later, on March 20, the Prime Minister's Office announced that she had decided to resign from the Liberal caucus.[6]

Education and designations[edit]

She graduated from New College at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, followed by an MBA in healthcare management from the University of Phoenix, and an executive MBA. She subsequently served on the University of Toronto's governing council, including time as vice chair of the council for the University of Toronto, Scarborough.[7]

Caesar-Chavannes worked as an international research consultant, as well as a lecturer on the need to include marginalized populations in clinical research. She was named Business Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by the Toronto Region Board of Trade.[8]


She was the Liberal candidate for the riding of Whitby—Oshawa in the 2014 by-election resulting from the sudden death of former Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. She finished second to Conservative candidate Pat Perkins.[9]

In the general election held the following year, Caesar-Chavannes was again the Liberal nominee in the newly created Whitby riding, this time defeating Perkins in a rematch.[10]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Advocacy for gender and racial equity[edit]

Caesar-Chavannes has repeatedly spoken out her experiences of anti-black racist micro-aggressions on Parliament Hill that has characterized her time as a Member of Parliament, including being denied entry into her office building by security.[11][12] She has been criticized by Maxime Bernier for focusing on the colour of her skin as opposed to the issues facing her constituents.[13]

Intention not to seek re-election[edit]

On February 12, 2019, Caesar-Chavannes informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that she had chosen not to seek re-election in the upcoming federal election.[14] Because Jody Wilson-Raybould had resigned from the Cabinet that day in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin Affair, Trudeau told her that she should wait before making her announcement. Caesar-Chavannes publicly announced her intention not to seek re-election on March 2, 2019, citing reasons that had arisen prior to Jody Wilson-Raybould's resignation.[5] Caesar-Chavannes later claimed that her conversation with Trudeau about her resignation led to anger and hostility by Trudeau, and she publicly criticized Trudeau's leadership style for the interaction.[15]

Resignation from the Liberal caucus[edit]

On March 20, 2019, Caesar-Chavannes informed the Prime Minister that she would be resigning as a member of the Liberal caucus and would be moving forward as an independent Member of Parliament.[16] She cited conflict with the Prime Minister for the decision to sit as an independent.[17]

Electoral record[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election: Whitby
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Celina Caesar-Chavannes 29,003 44.95 +30.46
Conservative Pat Perkins 27,154 42.09 −16.72
New Democratic Ryan Kelly 6,677 10.35 −11.06
Green Craig Cameron 1,403 2.17 −2.81
Independent Jon O'Connor 279 0.43
Total valid votes/Expense limit 64,516 100.0     $233,003.12
Total rejected ballots 235
Turnout 64,751
Eligible voters 90,964
Source: Elections Canada[18][19]
Canadian federal by-election, November 17, 2014: Whitby—Oshawa
Death of Jim Flaherty
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Pat Perkins 17,082 49.31 −9.11 –  
Liberal Celina Caesar-Chavannes 14,083 40.65 +26.54 –  
New Democratic Trish McAuliffe 2,801 8.08 −14.19 –  
Green Craig Cameron 500 1.44 −3.45 –  
Independent John "The Engineer" Turmel 101 0.29 –  
Independent Josh Borenstein 77 0.22 –  
Total valid votes/Expense limit 100.0      
Total rejected ballots      
Turnout 34,644 31.79 −31.45
Eligible voters 108,969   +6.87
Conservative hold Swing −17.89
Source: "By-election Results". Elections Canada. November 20, 2014.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Celina Caesar-Chavannes shatters Conservative stronghold in Whitby, Durhamregion.com, October 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "Bill Blair, Adam Vaughan among new parliamentary secretaries". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  3. ^ "Liberal backbenchers promoted as Justin Trudeau names new parliamentary secretaries". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  4. ^ "Trudeau names nine new parliamentary secretaries, removes four from roster". CTV News. 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  5. ^ a b "Whitby Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes not seeking re-election". CP24. 2019-03-02. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  6. ^ "MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  7. ^ New College alumna Celina Caesar-Chavannes elected as Liberal MP for Whitby, New College news release, October 20, 2015.
  8. ^ Celina Caesar-Chavannes Biography, Liberal.ca.
  9. ^ Whitby-Oshawa byelection: Pat Perkins to succeed Jim Flaherty in riding, CBC News, November 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Liberal unseats Conservative in Whitby". Toronto Star. October 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  11. ^ Cruickshank, Ainslie (December 15, 2017). "Black Liberal MP speaks out against 'draining' discriminatory acts on Parliament Hill". The Toronto Star. Retrieved December 16, 2017. A Black Liberal MP took to Facebook this week to share details of the discrimination she says she confronts on Parliament Hill. Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who represents Whitby, posted that she faces "micro-aggressions," a term used to describe more subtle forms of racism.
  12. ^ Caesar-Chavannes, Celina (December 14, 2017). "The morning this picture was taken, I was in the..." Facebook. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "'You think the world revolves around your skin colour': Liberal and Conservative MP tangle on Twitter". Global News. Toronto, Ontario. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  14. ^ "PMO denies 'hostility' in Trudeau's interactions with Liberal MP". CBC. 2019-03-09. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  15. ^ "Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with 'hostility, anger' in private Trudeau talks" – via The Globe and Mail.
  16. ^ "Philippe-Vincent Foisy". Twitter. 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  17. ^ "Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with 'hostility, anger' in private Trudeau talks". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  18. ^ Canada, Elections. "Voter Information Service – Find your electoral district". www.elections.ca.
  19. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine