Carolyn Bennett celebrates 20 years in Parliament

Bob Rae, Art Eggleton among Liberals who came to honour St. Paul’s MP

CAROLYN BENNETT listens intently during a celebration honouring her 20 years of service.

Wychwood Barns was adorned with red and white on June 18, as members of the St. Paul’s riding celebrated Carolyn Bennett’s 20 years in Ottawa.

During the presentation, a vignette was shown on a television, illustrating the passion with which she’s represented the riding.

But that video, edited by Jane Deeks and Daniel Roher, also brought back the time of when Bennett was scolded by then prime minister Jean Chrétien.

When asked if she was afraid then, the video referenced her experience as a doctor. “Fear is the baby’s elbow getting stuck in the birth canal. Fear is the lowering of the fetal heart rate. [Chretien] was just politics.”

The only emotion on her face this day was happiness, as the 66-year-old beamed pre-ceremony. Bennett said it was a “fantastic” moment to be surrounded by friends and colleagues like former Ontario premier Bob Rae and former Toronto mayor, MP and now senator, Art Eggleton, as well as her predecessor Barry Campbell.

Bennett, who was sworn in as a member of parliament in 1997, quipped her photo back then made her look like she was 12-years-old.

She took over from the incumbent, Campbell, after he decided against seeking re-election. And she’s been active both nationally and abroad.

But the adage of, home is where the heart is, rings true with her.

“The kind of work we tried to do with town hall meetings, roundtables and neighbourhood checkups — and this was a bell-weather riding that didn’t often send members to the Opposition, but understanding the riding and knowing our job to represent people is such an honour,” she told Streeter.

Engaged citizens

Former Toronto mayor Eggleton took the opportunity to laud Bennett, as he has worked directly with her, both as an MP and senator for her entire career.

“She is a very hard-working person, day and night. She was on her issues all the time, through the many years we spent together in caucus,” he said. “That’s the kind of person we need more of up in Ottawa.”

Along with the film, the evening featured a musical performance from Rae, words from communications consultant Robin Sears, city councillors Josh Matlow, Joe Mihevc and Josh Colle, trustees Shelley Laskin and Jo-Ann Davis and fellow MPs Rob Oliphant and Chrystia Freeland.

“St. Paul’s has some of the most engaged citizens,” Bennett said. “Behind every door there is someone passionate about something that we can work together on.”

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