Waterloo riding election profile: Bardish Chagger, Liberal Party

<strong>What drove you to be involved in politics and to be a candidate?</strong></p>

“I think it is really important that we be part of the dialogue and debate in shaping the future. We will be here to either reap the benefits of decisions of those that are here today or vice versa. So I think it is really important that we are part of the solution and that is why I am part of the democratic process and engaging as many people as we can.” 

What about your life experiences makes you a good candidate for member of Parliament?

“I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2004. I worked for the member of Parliament Andrew Telegdi, who is actually a former Feds president, for five years. I was his executive assistant, working between his parliamentary office and his constituency office. It allowed me to learn the work of a member of Parliament and how to interact with the federal bureaucracy. We had a reputation in our office of getting the job done. I was involved in the ’93 campaign that saw Jean Chrétien win a majority and it allowed me to recognize the value of the democratic process. My volunteer experience with the community allows me to be engaged with many different groups and allows me the opportunity to do what I define as the role of a member of Parliament: to represent the best interest of constituents to Ottawa. So what I am looking for is to elect a member of Parliament that will be the voice of the people for the riding of Waterloo not top down politics.” 

What are some of the issues you consider personally important to you?

“I think for myself it is the recognition that I personally think there has been an attack on science, so it important that we go back to evidence-based decision-making, that we allow our scientists to do the research that they need to do. I also believe in the ability of citizens to be able to access that information. It is important that we have some of the hard conversations that we don’t want to have regardless of what the plans are. That is where my background in science is very close to me. I believe it is time that we encourage people to enter politics that come with a background and understanding of science to understand what the value is and then we allow the experts to do the job that they need to do.”

Why did you choose to run for the Liberals?

“Why I am a Liberal is because we are the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we are the party in which not everybody has to think the same. So the dialogue and the discussion that takes place within the Liberal policy platforms, conventions, and so forth is great in the sense that when people have different opinions, it energizes me. So when you are part of a party like the Liberal Party, you are able to shape and create policy that can become law. Same-sex marriage legislation was created by the Young Liberals. I was part of the Young Liberals group at that time, and we not only raised it on the convention floor — today that minority group has rights equal to everybody else. This is the eighth federal campaign I’ve been involved in and it’s the first platform that shows and actually shares the work of the Liberal membership. If you look at the electoral reform plank of the platform, it actually originated right here in the Waterloo Region, and I was the riding president. It is one of my proudest accomplishments.”

Post-secondary education

“Post-secondary education is very important. We would like to see a 70 per cent graduation rate for post-secondary, whether that is university, college, or trades — some kind of post-secondary is essential to success.… The Liberal party believes in putting people in a position to succeed, that is where we believe that investment is important.”


“Canada’s current youth unemployment is 13.1 per cent, which is almost triple the rate for adults over 25. The government needs to do something about it, so the government of Canada should not only be concerned but part of the solution. Though government does not create jobs directly, it does create the environment or growth to occur and jobs to be created. A Liberal government will increase the number of jobs funded by the Canada summer job program by 35,000 each year.”


“Canadians no longer need to choose between the environment and the economy. Climate change is real — there is something taking place and that is where my background in science is so important to me and I think it is important that we unmuzzle our scientists.… We will act to create a more sustainable and sound future for Canadians, including working with provinces and territories to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases. You will recognize there has been some good work done — it’s not our federal government that has taken the lead on that, it’s our provinces and our premiers that have taken the lead and it is essential that we recognize they are taking a step in the right direction. The federal government now needs to work with them to help them move even further ahead.”

Bill C-51

“Justin Trudeau is the only leader that is talking about the root causes. We need to turn into a nation that believes in prevention rather than being reactionary. At some point I think it’s essential to recognize that there is a radicalization taking place. What that looks like I’m not exactly sure, but I know that there are youth within our nation that are being attracted to things abroad and we don’t understand why…. This community is blessed because we believe in prevention, so we can do something about it and I think we can be leaders when it comes to the national stage. There are concerns with C-51 — the Liberal government was in when 9/11 took place, we were the government that actually brought in anti-terror legislations.… A Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau believes in and supports a balance between security for Canadians as well as rights and freedoms. We are the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and regardless of what people believe or think, we would defend those rights and freedoms because that is a part of our society. That is the Canada I know.… If elected we will fix the bill to ensure adequate parliamentary oversight [and] mandatory legislative review to prevent misuse.”

Technology and entrepreneurship

“I was born and raised in this community, I’ve seen us be leaders in manufacturing, leaders in insurance, and leaders in research and development. I think why we are so strong is because we are innovators, the fact that we have a huge brain economy is something we need to tap into…. The Liberal government will definitely be supporting entrepreneurship. Trudeau is committed, like every party, to drop the tax on small business. What he recognizes is we should do more. The future of employment and jobs will be created through business and through entrepreneurship, and we have to ensure that we are there to support our local brain economy…. I think it is very important that we recognize that the federal government has to support the creation, we have to invest in research and development, we have to invest in technology.”