Charmaine Borg

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Charmaine Borg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Terrebonne—Blainville
In office
May 2, 2011 – August 4, 2015
Preceded byDiane Bourgeois
Succeeded byriding abolished
Personal details
Born (1990-11-03) November 3, 1990 (age 29)
Oakville, Ontario[1]
Political partyNew Democratic Party
ResidenceTerrebonne, Quebec
ProfessionCommunity activist, labour relations officer, student, volunteer worker, Politician

Charmaine Borg is a Canadian politician who served as the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for the riding of Terrebonne—Blainville in Quebec from 2011 to 2015.

Borg was born on 3 November 1990 in Oakville, Ontario as one of seven children, though her family moved to Keswick, Ontario when she was one year old.[2] She is of Franco-Ontarian and Maltese descent, and is fully bilingual in French and English,[3] though she preferred to speak French on the floor of the House of Commons.

Early years[edit]

After creating a drama program for at-risk youth, she won the Lieutenant Governor's Community Volunteer Award in 2008.[4]

At the time of her election, she was a student studying political science and Latin American studies at McGill University[5] and was also working as the Labour Relations Officer for the Association of McGill University Support Employees.[4] She was also co-president of the student New Democratic Party club at McGill University.[6]

Entrance to politics[edit]

She was one of five current McGill students, alongside fellow undergraduates Mylène Freeman, Laurin Liu, and Matthew Dubé, and graduate student Jamie Nicholls, elected to Parliament in the federal 2011 election following the NDP's unexpected mid-campaign surge in Quebec.[7] She defeated incumbent MP Diane Bourgeois of the Bloc Québécois by 49.3 percent to Bourgeois' 30.3 percent—a margin of over 10,600 votes. By comparison, the NDP had never finished higher than fourth since the riding was created in 1997, and only once had tallied the 10 percent required for their campaign expenses to be refunded.

Not only did Borg win a seat in the 2011 election, but that election was the first time she had ever voted in a federal election.[8] She was the third-youngest member of the 41st Parliament, after Liu and Pierre-Luc Dusseault, and one of the youngest women ever elected to Parliament.

Borg and Dubé were co-presidents of NDP McGill (the NDP student group at McGill University) at the time that they both won election to Parliament, and both had spent the campaign working to re-elect Thomas Mulcair in the nearby riding of Outremont.[9][10][11] Borg had originally planned to spend the Fall 2011 term as a foreign exchange student in Mexico.[7]

After her riding was split almost in half ahead of the 2015 federal election, Borg ran in Terrebonne, essentially the western half of her old riding. She was pushed into third place behind the BQ's Michel Boudrias and Liberal Michèle Audette amid the Bloc resurgence in the Laurentides.

In Parliament[edit]

In Parliament, Borg was named to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights,[12] where she intervened against the Conservative government's omnibus crime bill, C-10, and the closure imposed on its debate,[13][14] as well as Bill C-30, the Conservative bill on warrantless online surveillance.[15] In the Fall of 2012, Borg embarked on a tour across Eastern Canada and the Maritimes to increase pressure on the Conservative government to abandon the bill.[16] After months of public backlash, the Conservative government finally scrapped Bill C-30 in February 2013. Borg called the death of this bill a "great victory and a way forward for politics." [17]

In the leadership race following the death of NDP leader Jack Layton, Borg endorsed Brian Topp.[18]

On November 12, she was profiled by CPAC's Beyond Politics.[2]


In 2012, Borg embarked on a cross-country tour to rally support for a Private Member's Motion she presented, M-352, to reinstate Federal funding to the recently cut Katimavik program.[19][unreliable source?]

Digital Issues[edit]

In April 2012, newly elected NDP leader Thomas Mulcair appointed Borg to the Shadow Cabinet of the Official Opposition. She was given the position of Digital Issues Critic,[20] and became the youngest full critic in the history of Canada. Simultaneously, she was transferred from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to the Standing Committee on Ethics, Privacy and Access to Information.[21] In one of her first acts as Digital Issues Critic, Borg launched at study at the Ethics, Privacy and Access to Information Committee to investigate the privacy practices of social media companies.[22] During the study's hearings, MPs heard from numerous experts and industry representatives including Facebook, Twitter and Google.[23][24]

Bill C-475[edit]

Following through on the study into social media and privacy, Borg presented Bill C-475 to the House of Commons in February 2013. The bill seeks to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to introduce mandatory data breach reporting and enforcement powers to the Privacy Commissioner.[25][unreliable source?][26] Bill C-475 has received the endorsements of several privacy and internet experts, along with consumer protection and civil liberties groups.[27]

A campaign called "My Privacy Online" was launched to support the progression of Bill C-475 through the House of Commons.[27] The bill saw its first hour of debate at Second Reading on May 23, 2013, the same day that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a position paper calling for similar reforms to PIPEDA.[28]

Bill C-486[edit]

In response to calls from youth in her constituency of Terrebonne-Blainville,[29] Borg collaborated with and seconded MP Paul Dewar's Bill C-486 in March 2013.[30] Bill C-486 seeks to end the use of conflict minerals in Canada, particularly those originating in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

Electoral record[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Bloc Québécois Michel Boudrias 19,238 33.01 +2.23
Liberal Michèle Audette 16,316 27.99 +21.07
New Democratic Charmaine Borg 14,928 25.61 -25.93
Conservative Michel Surprenant 6,615 11.35 +3.28
Green Susan Moen 1,016 1.74 -0.95
Strength in Democracy Louis Clément Sénat 171 0.29
Total valid votes/Expense limit 58,284 100.00   $221,503.04
Total rejected ballots 1,256 2.11
Turnout 59,540 70.63
Eligible voters 84,298
Bloc Québécois gain from New Democratic Swing +14.08
Source: Elections Canada[31][32]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Charmaine Borg 28,236 49.4 +35.9% 0.00
Bloc Québécois Diane Bourgeois 17,634 30.8 -21.5% 60,548.03
Conservative Jean-Philippe Payment 5,222 9.1 -4.9% 21,165.08
Liberal Robert Frégeau 4,885 8.5 -8% 19,287.41
Green Michel Paulette 1,218 2.1 0% 37.24


  1. ^ "PARLINFO - Parliamentarian File - Complete File - BORG, Charmaine". 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  2. ^ a b Profile of Charmaine Borg on CPAC's Beyond Politics
  3. ^ Scott, Marian (May 4, 2011), "Five McGill students elected as NDP MPs", The Vancouver Sun, retrieved May 4, 2011
  4. ^ a b "Charmaine Borg". New Democratic Party. Archived from the original on May 1, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  5. ^ Lorianna De Giorgio (May 5, 2011). "Canada's youngest MPs confident they have what it takes". Toronto Star.
  6. ^ Curry, Bill (May 3, 2011), "Students, ex-Communist, a Cree leader and more join NDP's swollen Quebec ranks", The Globe and Mail, Toronto, retrieved May 3, 2011
  7. ^ a b "McGill 5 head off to House of Commons". The Gazette. May 4, 2011. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Kevin Dougherty (May 5, 2011). "Mulcair will be NDP rookies' playing coach". The Gazette.
  9. ^ Nathaniel Finestone (April 5, 2011). "Political clubs gear up for election". McGill Tribune.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Bill Curry (May 3, 2011). "Students, ex-Communist, a Cree leader and more join NDP's swollen Quebec ranks". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  11. ^ Tamsin McMahon (May 4, 2011). "The REALLY New Democrats". National Post.
  12. ^ Hansard, 9 December 2011
  13. ^ "Défendre la démocratie." Archived May 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine 18 November 2011.
  14. ^ Chris Plecash (31 October 2011). "After a month of hearings on Bill C-10, price tag for tough-on-crime agenda remains unclear". The Hill Times.
  15. ^ "NDP gears up to fight Conservatives’ snooping law." Archived 2012-08-05 at the Wayback Machine 15 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Bill C-30 talk raises concerns over warrantless access |". 2012-11-13. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  17. ^ "Bill C-30: Tories kill controversial Internet surveillance bill | National Post". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  18. ^ Tobi Cohen (31 October 2011). "Student-turned-NDP-MP who worked for Mulcair endorses Topp". Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  19. ^ "News for the rest of us". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  20. ^ "NDP shadow cabinet". CBC News. April 20, 2012.
  21. ^ "House of Commons Committees - ETHI - ARCHIVE (41-1) - Membership". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  22. ^ "Social media privacy concerns could see Commons probe". CBC News. May 7, 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  23. ^ "Commons committee summons Twitter for privacy study". CBC News. November 28, 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  24. ^ "House of Commons Committees - ETHI (41-1) - Privacy and Social Media in the Age of Big Data - PRIVACY AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE AGE OF BIG DATA". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  25. ^ "NDP MP Charmaine Borg Tries To Kickstart Canada's Dormant Privacy Reform - Michael Geist". 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  26. ^ "NDP wants to better protect Canadians' privacy rights | Canada's NDP / NPD du Canada". 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  27. ^ a b "Home " My Privacy Online". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  28. ^ "New Democrats part of a growing consensus on privacy law reforms | Canada's NDP / NPD du Canada". 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  29. ^ "Commission scolaire des Affluents". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  30. ^ "New Democrats take action to end the use of conflict minerals | Canada's NDP / NPD du Canada". 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  31. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Terrebonne, 30 September 2015
  32. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]