Carolyn Bennett

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Carolyn Bennett

Carolyn Bennett 2017.jpg
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
Assumed office
November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by Bernard Valcourt
Minister of State (Public Health)
In office
December 12, 2003 – February 5, 2006
Prime Minister Paul Martin
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Toronto—St. Paul's
St. Paul's (1997–2015)
Assumed office
June 2, 1997
Preceded by Barry Campbell
Personal details
Carolyn Ann Bennett

(1950-12-20) December 20, 1950 (age 68)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Peter O'Brian
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Alma mater Havergal College, University of Toronto
Profession Physician

Carolyn Ann Bennett PC MP (born December 20, 1950) is a Canadian physician and politician. She has served as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Toronto—St. Paul's, a constituency located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 1997. She is a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and was formerly a candidate for its leadership. During the Paul Martin government, Bennett, who was a family physician for twenty years[1] before entering politics, was Minister of State for Public Health and established the Public Health Agency of Canada. She was appointed Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 29th Canadian Ministry, and retained the position after it was renamed Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.


Bennett was born in Toronto on December 20, 1950, and attended Havergal College.[2][3] She obtained a degree in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1974.[4] Bennett received her certification in family medicine in 1976. Bennett worked as a family physician at Wellesley Hospital and Women's College Hospital in Toronto from 1977 to 1997 and was a founding partner in Bedford Medical Associates. She was also president of the medical staff association of Women's College Hospital and has a clinical adjunct appointment as an assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto.[4] Bennett served on the boards of Havergal College, Women's College Hospital, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto.

In 1986, Bennett received the Royal Life Saving Society Service Cross, a Commonwealth award recognizing her more than twenty years of distinguished service. In 1990, she was named as one of Simpson's "Women Who Make a Difference".

Bennett is also author of Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake their Health Care System, published in October 2000. In 2004, she was awarded an honorary fellowship from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada for her contributions to medicine, especially women's health.[5]

She is married to Canadian film producer Peter O'Brian. They have two sons.

Political career

Bennett in 2008.

Bennett ran for public office in the 1995 Ontario provincial election as a candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party.[6] Running in the riding of St. Andrew—St. Patrick, she lost to Progressive Conservative candidate Isabel Bassett by about 3,500 votes.[7]

Bennett was more successful in the 1997 federal election, defeating her closest opponent in St. Paul's by almost 15,000 votes.[8] She was re-elected by increased margins in the elections of 2000 and 2004.[9][10]

On December 12, 2003, after Paul Martin became Prime Minister, he appointed Bennett as his Minister of State for Public Health. In her two years as Minister, she set up the Public Health Agency of Canada, appointed the first Chief Public Health Officer for Canada, and established the Public Health Network.[11]

She was chair of the Canada-Israel Friendship Group from 1999 to 2003 and is a member of Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel.

In the 2006 election, Bennett defeated two main challengers who were both touted as star candidates, Peter Kent of the Conservatives and Paul Summerville of the New Democratic Party.[12][13] Bennett was re-elected, but lost her cabinet position as the Liberals were defeated.[14] She became only the third opposition MP in the history of St. Paul's. The riding had once been a noted bellwether, but swung heavily to the Liberals along with most other central Toronto ridings.

She announced on April 24, 2006 that she would pursue the leadership of the party.[15] On September 15, 2006, she withdrew from the leadership race and threw her support behind former Ontario Premier Bob Rae.[16]

In the 39th Parliament, Bennett was the Official Opposition critic for social development, social economy, seniors, persons with disabilities, and public health.[2]

She was re-elected in 2008.[17] In the 40th Parliament, Bennett was the Official Opposition critic for health.[2]

She was re-elected in 2011.[18] In the 41st Parliament, Bennett was the Liberal critic for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.[2]

On November 4, 2015, Bennett was appointed the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the present Cabinet, headed by Justin Trudeau.[19] She is the fifth most senior member of Justin Trudeau's cabinet.[20]


  • Royal Life Saving Society Service Cross (1986)
  • EVE Award for Contributing to the Advancement of Women in Politics (2002)
  • CAMIMH Mental Health Champion Award (2003) [21]
  • National Award of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to Injury Prevention and Safety
  • W. Victor Johnston Award for Lifetime Contribution to Family Medicine in Canada and Internationally (2009) [2]

Electoral record

Toronto—St. Paul's, 2015–present

2015 Canadian federal election: Toronto—St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 31,481 55.26 +15.34
Conservative Marnie MacDougall 15,376 26.99 -5.43
New Democratic Noah Richler 8,386 14.72 -7.91
Green Kevin Farmer 1,729 3.03 -1.45
Total valid votes/Expense limit 56,972 100.0     $208,833.75
Total rejected ballots 252
Turnout 57,224
Eligible voters 77,433
Source: Elections Canada[22][23][24]

St. Paul's, 1997-2015

2011 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 22,409 40.6 -9.9
Conservative Maureen Harquail 17,864 32.4 +5.8
New Democratic William Molls 12,124 22.0 +8.7
Green Jim McGarva 2,495 4.5 -4.6
Libertarian John Kittredge 303 0.5 -0.1
Total valid votes/Expense limit 55,195 100.0
Total rejected ballots 276 0.5
Turnout 55,471 68.2
Eligible voters 81,288
2008 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 26,326 50.5 +0.2 $69,331
Conservative Heather Jewell 13,800 26.6 +0.8 $53,617
New Democratic Anita Agrawal 6,880 13.3 -5.9 $13,606
Green Justin Erdman 4,713 9.1 +4.3 $3,526
Libertarian John Kittredge 313 0.6 $182
Total valid votes/Expense limit 52,032 100.0 $86,488
2006 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 29,295 50.3 -8.1
Conservative Peter Kent 15,021 25.8 +5.4
New Democratic Paul Summerville 11,189 19.2 +3.5
Green Kevin Farmer 2,785 4.8 -0.7
Total valid votes 58,290 100.0
2004 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 32,171 58.4 +4.1
Conservative Barry Cline 11,226 20.4 -13.1*
New Democratic Norman Tobias 8,667 15.7 +6.3
Green Peter Elgie 3,031 5.5 +3.9
Total valid votes 55,095 100.0

*Comparison to total of Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance vote in 2000.

2000 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 25,110 54.3 0.0
Progressive Conservative Barry Cline 10,035 21.7 -2.0
Alliance Theo Caldwell 5,415 11.7 +4.4
New Democratic Guy Hunter 4,372 9.7 -2.7
Green Don Roebuck 759 1.6 +0.4
Marijuana Andrew Potter 221 0.5
Canadian Action Mark Till 125 0.3 -0.1
Marxist–Leninist Barbara Seed 88 0.2 -0.1
Natural Law Ron Parker 83 0.2 -0.3
Total valid votes 46,208 100.0

Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to the Reform vote in 1997 election.

1997 Canadian federal election: St. Paul's
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Carolyn Bennett 26,389 54.3 -0.1
Progressive Conservative Peter Atkins 11,520 23.7 -0.7
New Democratic Michael Halewood 6,028 12.4 +7.3
Reform Francis Floszmann 3,564 7.3 -3.8
Green Don Roebuck 597 1.2 +0.3
Natural Law Neil Dickie 221 0.5 -0.2
Canadian Action Daniel Widdicombe 182 0.4
Marxist–Leninist Fernand Deschamps 135 0.3 +0.1
Total valid votes 48,636 100.0


  1. ^ "Women Physicians Change the World – Political Activism – Dr. Jill Stein". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  2. ^ a b c d "BENNETT, The Hon. Dr. Carolyn, P.C., M.D." Library of Parliament. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  3. ^ "NOTABLE OLD GIRLS". Havergal College. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Meet the new cabinet ministers from the University of Toronto". University of Toronto. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Media Advisory: The Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett Receives Honorary Fellowship from the SOGC". Canadian Corporate News. June 25, 2004.
  6. ^ "Carolyn Bennett takes your questions on the Liberal leadership race". The Globe and Mail. September 13, 2006.
  7. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. June 8, 1995. Archived from the original on June 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Final Results Riding by Riding". Calgary Herald. June 4, 1997. p. A5.
  9. ^ "Election Results". Star — Phoenix. Saskatoon, SK. November 28, 2000. p. A8.
  10. ^ "Election results...riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 29, 2004. p. A14.
  11. ^ "Biography | Carolyn Bennett | Your member of parliament for Toronto-St. Paul's". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  12. ^ Bill Doskoch (September 7, 2008). "Toronto's political landscape unlikely to shift". CTV.
  13. ^ "NDP won't raise taxes, pledges Jack Layton". CTV. December 5, 2005.
  14. ^ Justin Skinner (September 4, 2008). "Federal election call expected soon". Inside Toronto. Retrieved 2015-05-24.
  15. ^ "Liberal leadership field grows with Bennett's entry". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 24, 2006. Retrieved 2015-05-24.
  16. ^ Susan Delacourt (September 16, 2006). "Bennett quits contest, backs Rae". Toronto Star.
  17. ^ "Greater Toronto Area Results". The Toronto Star. October 15, 2008. p. U2.
  18. ^ "Riding results from across Canada". Edmonton Journal. May 3, 2011. p. A6.
  19. ^ "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet 31-member cabinet includes 15 women, attempt at regional balance". CBC News. 2015-11-04.
  20. ^ McGregor, Janyce (7 November 2015). "Justin Trudeau's cabinet: 6 changes found in the fine print". CBC News. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  21. ^ "CPA Bulletin: December 2003 - NEWS - CAMIMH Honours Canadians for Raising Awareness About Mental Illness". 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  22. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Toronto—St. Paul's, 30 September 2015
  23. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ [1]

External links

  • Official website
  • Carolyn Bennett – Parliament of Canada biography
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Bernard Valcourt Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations
November 4, 2015 – present
27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
  Minister of State (Public Health)
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