Since getting swept up in the electoral reform movement, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all the politcal parties in Waterloo Region. In the days before the wider community hadn’t even heard about electoral reform, many of the people attending the Fair Vote Waterloo events where I was taking photographs were very involved in politics, some with political aspirations. That was when I first noticed a bright young woman named Bardish Chagger. Although her face started become familiar because I kept seeing her at events like the Waterloo Robocalls Town Hall, it was only when she hosted a Liberal electoral reform debate that I learned she was a highly placed member of the local Liberal Riding Association. As I got to know her a little, I discovered her mentor was Andrew Telegdi, an MP whose name I knew from a principled stand he took even before I moved back home.
When Bardish received the Waterloo Liberal nomination, I was happy for her. Although I supported a different party during the 2015 election, and was very disappointed our exceptional candidate (and my friend) Richard Walsh wasn’t able to win the seat he and Bardish were contesting, I was pleased she had unseated the incumbent, and I was happy for her again. My husband predicted she might get a cabinet position in spite of her youth, and when it happened, I was happy for her again, but now it felt kind of weird to actually know a cabinet minister. But Bardish has brilliant people skills, and in spite of her elevation, she continued to be the approachable person she had always been, and when I meet her at events she always puts me at ease.
And now today I am happy for her elevation to the position of Government House Leader. People say it is unprecedented for a “rookie” like Bardish to end up in such a job, but I’ve not doubt Bardish has the skills necessary to do the job. Which is why I am offering the Honorable Bardish Chagger my most sincere congratulations.