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Don_Boudria

Don Boudria

Donald "Don" Boudria, PC (born August 30, 1949) is a former Canadian politician. He served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1984 to 2005 as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, and was a cabinet minister in the government of Jean Chrétien.

Municipal and Provincial Politics

Boudria was born in Hull, Quebec, raised in Sarsfield, Ontario, and educated in the area, and was a public servant before entering political life. A Franco-Ontarian, he was elected as a councillor in Cumberland Township in 1976, and remained a council member until his election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1981 provincial election. Boudria defeated Progressive Conservative incumbent J. Albert Belanger by 5,172 votes in Prescott and Russell, and served in the legislature for three years as a member the Ontario Liberal Party, which was then the official opposition to the Progressive Conservative government of William Davis.

Entry into Federal Politics

He left provincial politics to run for the Canadian House of Commons in the 1984 federal election. Boudria won a convincing victory in Ontario's easternmost riding, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, even as his party suffered a landslide defeat against Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives. Joining the opposition benches of the Commons in 1984, he became a member of the Liberal Rat Pack with Brian Tobin, Sheila Copps and John Nunziata. This group of young Liberals made it their business to harass the Tories at every possible turn.

Re-election and Cabinet Positions

Boudria was re-elected without difficulty in 1988, 1993, 1997 and 2000. Like the other Rat Pack members, he rose rapidly in the Liberal ranks. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Deputy Liberal House Leader. After the Liberals won a huge majority in 1993, Boudria became a backbencher once again for a time. However, he was appointed as Chief Government Whip on September 15, 1994. He held this position until October 4, 1996, when he was named Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for La Francophonie.

Boudria was named Leader of the Government in the House of Commons after the 1997 election. He retained this position until January 14, 2002, when he was again given a full portfolio as Minister of Public Works and Government Services. In March 2002, he stayed at a weekend resort owned by Groupe Everest, a prominent recipient of departmental funds. The trip was paid for by Boudria's son, and the minister was not directly accused of a conflict of interest. He was nonetheless deemed to have shown poor judgement, and was reassigned as Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on May 26.

Chrétien Loyalist

Boudria was known within the Liberal caucus as a leading Chrétien loyalist. During Question Period, he frequently handed Chrétien notes from a white binder, a practice that led Reform Party deputy leader Deb Grey to call him "Binder Boy." The nickname stuck. He lost his cabinet position in December 2003 when Paul Martin replaced Chrétien as Liberal leader and prime minister. Subsequently, he was elected chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages (3rd session of the 37th parliament) and the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (1st session of the 38th parliament).

On May 6, 2005, Boudria announced he would not run in the next election.

Life after Government

Boudria's memoir, Busboy: From Kitchen to Cabinet, was published in late 2005. In 2006, he assisted Stéphane Dion's campaign for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Boudria joined Ottawa-based public relations agency Hill & Knowlton Canada as a senior associate in May 2006, and was promoted to senior counsellor in March 2007.

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