Dr. Carolyn Bennett has represented Toronto-St. Paul’s in the House of Commons since 1997 and is the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Carolyn served as Minister of State (Public Health) in Prime Minister Paul Martin's cabinet, and later served as Opposition Critic for Public Health, Seniors, Persons with Disabilities, the Social Economy, and Aboriginal Affairs.
Carolyn is passionate about inclusion and creating spaces for citizens to be heard. The St. Paul's model of “democracy between elections” is rooted in her belief that citizens play an essential role in ensuring a healthy democracy. Her Neighbourhood Check-ups, Town Hall Meetings and the semi-annual Summits in which all elected representatives are accountable to their constituents ensure that she is able to take both the issues raised as well as the possible solutions to Ottawa. One of her favourite annual events is the International Women’s Day Leadership Summit for young women leaders across the riding.
Prior to entering politics, Carolyn was a family doctor at Women's College Hospital and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake Their Health Care System.
Carolyn has described herself as "an accidental tourist" into politics. After her successful campaign fighting for the independence of Women's College Hospital in 1989, she was persuaded that ‘politics’ was not a swear word - it is fighting for what you believe in, and deputizing others to join you. She is respected for her candour and always speaks from the heart. Carolyn believes that her training as a family physician taught her to 'ask what's wrong, listen and together make a plan.’
Carolyn is an effective advocate for the issues that matter most to the people of Toronto-St.Paul’s such as housing affordability, health and healthcare, accessibility, support for seniors and action on climate change. She believes that reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is a Canadian imperative and the job of all Canadians.
A proud Torontonian, Carolyn has a deep appreciation of the values, priorities and potential of Canadians and Indigenous peoples coast to coast to coast. Along with her award-winning film producer husband Peter O'Brian, they have two sons, Jack and Ben, and an elderly chocolate lab named Marley.