The Conservative Party of Canada has a new leader, and a new right-hand woman from Manitoba.
Shortly after being named leader of the party, Erin O’Toole chose Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen as its deputy leader.
Bergen was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008, and was a cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper. She also served as the Conservative Party house leader under Andrew Sheer.
“I’ve worked very hard and I feel very proud. But I also know I’m here based on my merit,” she told Up to Speed’s Julie Dupré on Wednesday.
“I think that many, many Canadian women, millions of Canadian women deserve that same respect. Canadian women work hard. They deserve to be in positions of leadership.”
Bergen says her party wants to restore hope for Canadians during a bleak time, while establishing the party as an intelligent, compassionate, and ethical government in waiting.
“Those were kind of our two top goals, really, to present a plan of hope for our future and for our country, and then also have Canadians take a second look at us as a party,” she said.
As part of her role, Bergen said she also plans to mentor some of her caucus’ younger and newer members of parliament.
“I’ve been experienced in government and opposition, I’m looking forward to bringing that experience and those relationships to continue to build our caucus,” she said.
However, Bergen says her party is not pushing for an election anytime soon, and will instead focus on getting Canadians through the pandemic.
“We believe that this is not the time when Canadians want to go to the polls. We had an election just a year ago,” she said.
Bergen was appointed to the role not long after suffering a tremendous personal loss. Two of her sisters died just three weeks apart earlier this year.
Originally from Morden, Bergen says she’s grateful for the support of her community.
“Just the love of the community, the support of people that love my sisters and knew me and knew our family really, really helped,” she said.
“It was difficult, but through it all, I feel blessed.”
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