Jane Stewart, PC (born
April 25, 1955in Brantford, Ontario) is a former Canadian politicianwho was the Minister of Human Resources Development from 1999 to 2003. In 2006, she briefly held the post of Chief of Staff to Bill Graham, Leader of the Opposition.
Stewart was first elected to Parliament in the 1993 election. She was a close friend of Prime Minister
Jean Chrétien, and was soon appointed to the important position of Minister of Indian Affairs. In 1999, she was moved to the Department of Human Resources Development (HRDC), the government department that has the largest budget. Stewart was widely viewed to have leadership ambitions, and was closely supported by Chretien.
These ambitions were put to an end by the so called "billion-dollar boondoggle" where ineffective accounting practices at HRDC allegedly left millions of dollars unaccounted for (subsequent accounting reports revealed that only $85,000 were left unaccounted for). While the problems at HRDC mostly date from the time of her predecessor, Pierre Pettigrew, Stewart took the brunt of the attack. Despite this, she did not resign, and Chrétien stood by her throughout the ordeal.
She remained minister in charge of HRDC until
Paul Martinbecame Prime Minister on December 12, 2003. She was moved to the backbenches because of the continued taint of scandal and her position as a loyalist to the ousted Chrétien. She retired from politics on February 13, 2004, to become an Executive Director of the International Labour Organization. In July 2005, she left her job with the ILO to return to Canada and marry Henry Stolp.
With the announcement that Martin was stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party, a group called "Liberals for Jane" had hoped to see Stewart seek the party leadership. This was ruled out when Stewart accepted the position of Chief of Staff to acting Leader of the Opposition,
Bill Graham. Only weeks later, Stewart stepped down from the post due to family obligations. She was replaced by former cabinet minister Andy Mitchell.
From 2006 to May 2007 Stewart was chief negotiator for the province of Ontario in the
Caledonia land dispute. [cite news|url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070507.wcaledon0507/BNStory/National/home|title=Ontario replacing negotiator in Caledonia talks|publisher=Canadian Press|date=7 May 2006|accessdate=2007-05-07]
Stewart comes from a family of politicians. Her father
Robert Nixonwas leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, while her grandfather was Ontario premier Harry Nixon.
In 2008, Jane became the Volunteer Chair for Brant United Way. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Jane has been a donor for a number of years, and believes that donating to United Way continues to be one of the most effective ways a citizen can make a positive difference in the health and well-being of their community.
President of Canadia
* [http://winnipegsun.com/News/Canada/2006/04/16/1536121-sun.html Winnipeg Sun: Jane Stewart, has left after less than eight weeks on the job]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/02/13/stewart_leaving040213 CBC News: Jane Stewart leaving politics]
* [http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=268&s=F Political Biography from the Library of Parliament]
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