Q&A: Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger addresses ousting from Liberal cabinet
KITCHENER -- It’s been a week since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet was sworn-in following the 2021 election, but this new cabinet was without former minister and current Member of Parliament for Waterloo Bardish Chagger.
The MP spoke with CTV News on Tuesday for the first time since being ousted from cabinet:
CTV News: What did you make of the decision by the prime minister and what was your reaction to being left out?
Bardish Chagger: First of all I do want to appreciate and thank all of the good people in the riding of Waterloo for re-electing me as your Member of Parliament. Representing the diverse voices in Waterloo has also been my priority and it remains my focus. The cabinet is always the purview of the prime minister and the prime minister has chosen good cabinets. I know that we have a vision for the future of our country that I whole-heartedly support for Waterloo and Canada.
CTV: Bardish, do you believe the situation with WE Charity and some of the criticism you faced as part of that controversy played a role at all in the prime minister’s decision?
Chagger: I’m not going to speculate. What I do know is that the good people in the riding of Waterloo is my priority and my focus. Waterloo has three post-secondary institutions. I often say that in Waterloo our best natural renewable resource is our people; and that includes youth and students and we put out an impressive package to ensure that we had Canadians’ backs and that’s what we’re going to continue doing and that’s what I’m going to continue doing.
CTV: I think many in the region were proud that the region was represented in cabinet and had a minister that they could call their own. I’m curious what you make of the situation now that there is now regional representation in cabinet and in fact there’s no representation from across Southwestern Ontario. What do you make of that reality?
Chagger: I think it’s important for everyone within the region to know that we have a hardworking team of members of parliament. We have elected officials at all different levels of government that are working together to ensure that this region is well-represented because this region deserves that. So, we’re going to continue working really hard to ensure that the voices of our region are heard at every level of government, including the federal level, and just today we saw Minister [Omar] Alghabra, the minister of transportation, come. YKF is one of the airports that is going to see international flights landing as of the end of this month because, you know, it’s important that we actually rebound when it comes to our economy. Canada’s economy is, I would say, really, really important because Waterloo Region has to succeed to help Canada succeed so, we are going to continue fighting for this community — so, rest assured, you have strong voices who are going to fight for you.
CTV: How does not being cabinet change your approach to the work you do with constituents and then the work that will happen in parliament?
Chagger: I will say I’m going to redouble my efforts. My focus has always been on the constituents of the riding of Waterloo and we’re going to continue doing that. I am going to work with this cabinet, with this government to ensure that we deliver for Waterloo.