Candice Bergen (politician)

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Candice Bergen
Candice Bergen - 2017 (cropped).jpg
Bergen in 2017
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
February 2, 2022
DeputyLuc Berthold
Preceded byErin O'Toole
Interim Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
February 2, 2022
DeputyLuc Berthold
Preceded byErin O'Toole
Succeeded byTBD
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
In office
September 2, 2020 – February 2, 2022
LeaderErin O'Toole
Preceded byLeona Alleslev
Succeeded byLuc Berthold
Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
September 2, 2020 – February 2, 2022
PresidentScott Lamb
LeaderErin O'Toole
Preceded byLeona Alleslev
Succeeded byLuc Berthold
Opposition House Leader
In office
September 15, 2016 – September 2, 2020
LeaderRona Ambrose
Andrew Scheer
Preceded byAndrew Scheer
Succeeded byGérard Deltell
Shadow Minister of 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 Parliament
for Portage—Lisgar
Assumed office
October 14, 2008
Preceded byBrian Pallister
Personal details
Candice Marie Bergen

(1964-09-28) September 28, 1964 (age 57)
Morden, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyConservative
  • David Hoeppner (m. 2000; div. c. 2011)
  • Michael
    (m. 2020)

Candice Marie Bergen PC MP (born September 28, 1964) is a Canadian politician who has served as the interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the leader of the Opposition since February 2, 2022. Originally elected under the name Candice Hoeppner, Bergen has been the member of Parliament (MP) for Portage—Lisgar in Manitoba since 2008.

She was 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 served as deputy leader of the Conservative Party and deputy leader of the Opposition under Erin O'Toole from September 2020 to February 2022.[1]


Bergen was born on September 28, 1964,[2] in Morden, Manitoba, to a family with Mennonite roots and grew up in Warren, Manitoba, where she attended a Pentecostal church.[3][4][5][6] She was the youngest of eight siblings. Her father sold car parts and her mother was a cleaner in a hospital. After high school, Bergen moved to Winnipeg and British Columbia, but returned home to Morden after her marriage in 2000, raising her children and working to help support her husband through university.[5]

Federal politics[edit]

Bergen became involved in politics because of frustration with the Canadian federal government, including what she perceived as wasteful spending. She began volunteering for the Canadian Alliance's local riding association.[5]

In 2004, she was the Manitoba campaign manager for Stephen Harper's leadership bid for the Conservative Party of Canada.[7]

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.[5]

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 session of Parliament). 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 that 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.[8]

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 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.[9]

Bergen has been involved in several special parliamentary groups. She was on the executive on the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group.[10] 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.[9]

On May 15, 2009, Bergen introduced bill C-391, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, which would have repealed 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[9]

On July 15, 2013, Bergen was appointed Minister of State for Social Development.[14]

In opposition[edit]

Bergen (right) with Leona Alleslev and Andrew Scheer in 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.[15] Rona Ambrose was chosen instead.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] 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".[19]

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.[5]

In 2020, she called for the re-establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom in Canada to address the forced conversion of minority girls in Pakistan.[20]

In September 2020, Bergen was appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition by Erin O'Toole.[21] She was succeeded as Opposition House Leader by Gérard Deltell.[22]

On January 7, 2021, an undated photo of Bergen apparently wearing a camouflage MAGA hat began circulating on social media. In response, Bergen denounced the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol but did not deny that she was depicted in the picture.[23][24]

On January 31, 2022, Bergen criticized Trudeau for not meeting with the Ottawa protesters.[25]

On February 2, 2022, Erin O'Toole was removed as leader in a vote by Conservative MPs according to the terms of the Reform Act.[26][27] The vote occurred by secret ballot.[28][29] The vote ousted him as leader, which took effect immediately.[30] Following O'Toole's removal, a second vote of Conservative MPs took place to appoint an interim party leader pursuant to the Reform Act. Bergen was elected as the interim leader of the Conservative Party by the Conservative caucus.[31] She will serve as interim party leader and Leader of the Official Opposition until a new leader is elected.

Shortly after becoming interim leader of the party, Bergen advised senior Conservative MPs not to tell members of the Ottawa Protests to leave the city. In an email she told members that, "we need to turn this into the [Prime Minister's] problem".[32] Bergen also argued that there are "good people on both sides".[33][34]

On February 6, 2022, Bergen appointed Mégantic—L'Érable MP Luc Berthold as the party's deputy leader and Quebec lieutenant.[35]

Political positions[edit]

Politically, Bergen has been defined as both a social conservative and a moderate with a profile in Maclean's describing her as having an appeal to both wings of the Conservative Party of Canada. In her personal beliefs, she has expressed opposition to big government and stated that concerns for rural issues and national debt incurred by Liberal governments motivated her involvement in politics.[36] In a 2021 interview with The Globe and Mail, Bergen stated that she considered running in the 2020 Conservative Party of Canada leadership election but decided not to citing her lack of fluency in French.[37]

Bergen is anti-abortion.[38] Bergen voted against a bill aimed at banning conversion therapy in Canada.[39][40][41] In 2016, she supported the motion to amend the Conservative Party's constitution to remove the "traditional definition" of marriage from the party's policy book and support same-sex marriage.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Bergen married David Hoeppner in 2000 and took his name, running as Candice Hoeppner.[4] They had three children together, and as of January 2021, two grandchildren.[3][5] After separating, Bergen announced in the House of Commons on September 17, 2012, that she would resume using her birth name.[4][43][44] On October 11, 2020, Bergen remarried; sharing photos of their wedding on social media, Bergen said she "married my love and best friend Michael."[5][45]

Election results[edit]

2021 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Bergen 23,819 52.52 –18.28
People's Solomon Wiebe 9,790 21.58 +18.98
New Democratic Ken Friesen 6,068 13.38 +4.68
Liberal Andrew Carrier 4,967 10.95 +0.25
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 712 1.57 –0.36
Total valid votes 45,356 100.00
Total rejected ballots 341 0.75 +0.14
Turnout 45,697 66.96 –1.54
Eligible voters 68,241
Conservative hold Swing –18.63
Source: Elections Canada[46]
2019 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Bergen 31,600 70.8 +9.96 $60,166.75
Liberal Ken Werbiski 4,779 10.7 -15.09 $18,673.74
New Democratic Cindy Friesen 3,872 8.7 +2.5 $0.00
Green Beverley Eert 2,356 5.3 +1.33 $6,945.06
People's Aaron Archer 1,169 2.6 $1,048.91
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 860 1.9 -1.29 $21,830.60
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 +12.53
Source: Elections Canada[47][48]
2015 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Candice Bergen 25,060 60.84 -14.95 $91,365.21
Liberal Ken Werbiski 10,621 25.79 +19.81 $12,481.25
New Democratic Dean Harder 2,554 6.20 -4.01 $7,315.22
Green Bev Eert 1,637 3.97 -1.67 $7,832.39
Christian Heritage Jerome Dondo 1,315 3.19 +.89 $20,134.89
Total valid votes/expense limit 41,187 100.00   $208,924.52
Total rejected ballots 159 0.38
Turnout 41,346 66.52
Eligible voters 62,153
Conservative hold Swing -17.38
Source: Elections Canada[49][50]
2011 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
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
2008 Canadian federal election: Portage—Lisgar
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


  1. ^ Bilefsky, Dan; Austen, Ian (2022-02-02). "Canada's Conservative Leader Is Ousted". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
  2. ^ "The Hon. Candice Bergen, P.C., M.P." Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Portage - Lisgar". CBC News. May 3, 2011. Archived from the original on August 21, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Robertson, Dylan (August 17, 2018). "Not the role this Candice Bergen signed up for". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Dickson, Janice (January 4, 2021). "Candice Bergen's a strong speaker, but her secret power is the ability to listen". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  6. ^ "House of Commons Debates". 1855. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Janus, Andrea (July 2013). "Harper's new crew: Profiles of the 'fresh faces' in cabinet". CTV News. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  8. ^ "Stop Bill C-18". National Farmer's Union. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "About Candice". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group (CAJP)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "MPs vote to abolish long-gun registry". CBC News. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  12. ^ Campion-Smith, Bruce; Whittington, Les (22 September 2010). "Long-gun registry survives tight Commons vote". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  13. ^ The Western Canadian, May 3, 2011, p1.
  14. ^ Harris, Kathleen (15 July 2013). "Harper adds 8 new faces in major cabinet shakeup". CBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Rona Ambrose, Mike Lake to run for Conservative interim leadership". Maclean's. The Canadian Press. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  16. ^ Wingrove, Josh (5 November 2015). "Canada Conservatives Choose Rona Ambrose as Interim Leader". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  17. ^ O'Malley, Kady (15 September 2016). "Candice Bergen takes over as House leader in Conservative critic shuffle". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  18. ^ Furey, Anthony (May 14, 2018). "FUREY: Toronto ISIS returnee is laughing at us; something must be done". Toronto Sun. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  19. ^ Khandaker, Tamara (11 May 2018). "Politicians are freaking out over a podcast about returned Canadian ISIS fighter". Vice News.
  20. ^ Zeenya Shah. "Attacks on minority women in Pakistan spark calls to reopen Office of Religious Freedoms closed by Liberals". National post. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  21. ^ "O'Toole names top Tories for Commons roles, with Bergen as deputy leader". Kamloops This Week. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  22. ^ "Conservative Party: Richard Martel becomes Quebec lieutenant, Gérard Deltell becomes parliamentary leader". HuffPost (in French). September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  23. ^ "Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Bergen silent on photo showing her wearing MAGA hat". CBC News. January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  24. ^ Robertson, Dylan (January 7, 2021). "Manitoba MP condemns Trump-mob mayhem but silent on her photo in MAGA hat". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  25. ^ "Candice Bergen GOES OFF on Trudeau for demonizing Freedom Convoy protesters" – via
  26. ^ Tasker, John Paul (February 2, 2022). "Conservative MPs vote to remove Erin O'Toole as leader". CBC News. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  27. ^ "Caucus votes Erin O'Toole out as Conservative party leader". CP24. February 2, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  28. ^ Boutilier, Alex; Connolly, Amanda (February 2, 2022). "Erin O'Toole ousted as Conservative leader after caucus revolt". Global News. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  29. ^ Taylor, Stephanie (February 2, 2022). "Erin O'Toole voted out as leader by Conservative MPs". National Post. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  30. ^ Levitz, Stephanie (February 2, 2022). "Erin O'Toole removed as Conservative leader in vote by MPs". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  31. ^ "Conservatives elect Candice Bergen as interim party leader - National |". Global News. Retrieved 2022-02-03.
  32. ^ "Bergen advised against telling truckers to leave Ottawa, said protests should be made 'PM's problem'". CTVNews. 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
  33. ^ "Bergen pushed O'Toole to back convoy saying there are 'good people on both sides': sources". CTVNews. 2022-02-04. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
  34. ^ "Bergen pushed O'Toole to back convoy saying there are 'good people on both sides': sources | National Newswatch". Retrieved 2022-02-05.
  35. ^ "Alain Rayes resigns as Conservative Party's Quebec lieutenant". CBC News. February 6, 2022. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  36. ^ "Tories vote to accept same-sex marriage". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  37. ^ "Candice Bergen's a strong speaker, but her secret power is the ability to listen". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  38. ^ Stone, Laura (31 August 2016). "MP Candice Bergen mulling Conservative leadership bid". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  39. ^ Canada, Department of Justice (2021-11-29). "Government introduces legislation to ban conversion therapy practices in Canada". Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  40. ^ Hoard, K. C. (2022-02-04). "Who is Candice Bergen, the interim Conservative leader?". Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  41. ^ "Vote Detail - 175 - Members of Parliament - House of Commons of Canada". Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  42. ^ "Tories vote to accept same-sex marriage". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  43. ^ "The Honourable Candice Bergen". Parliament of Canada. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  44. ^ "Parliament's Candice Bergen". CBC News. 17 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-12-17.
  45. ^ Hon. Candice Bergen, MP (October 12, 2020). "Candice Bergen marries Michael On Oct. 11, 2020". Facebook.
  46. ^ "Election Night Resuts — Portage—Lisgar — Elections Canada". Elections Canada. Retrieved 28 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  48. ^ "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  49. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Portage—Lisgar, 30 September 2015
  50. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates

External links[edit]