Transcript: Celina Caesar-Chavannes: Leaving Politics Behind | May 14, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a green blazer over a black shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Leaving politics and the Liberal Party behind. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says IN 2015, SHE WAS ONE OF
JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S STAR CANDIDATES
TAKING HER RIDING OF WHITBY FROM
THE CONSERVATIVES WHO'D HELD IT
FOR A DECADE.
ONCE IN OTTAWA, THE NEW PRIME
MINISTER MADE CELINA
CAESAR-CHAVANNES HIS
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY.
BUT, BEFORE THE LIBERAL PARTY'S
FIRST MANDATE HAS RUN ITS
COURSE, SHE'S LEFT HER POST AND
THE PARTY CAUCUS, ANNOUNCING TOO
THAT SHE WILL NOT BE RUNNING IN
THE UPCOMING FEDERAL ELECTION.
AND CELINA CAESAR-CHAVANNES
JOINS US NOW ON WHAT HAPPENED.

Celina is in her early forties, with black hair in thin braids in a bun. She's wearing a dark blue blouse.

Nam continues HI, CELINA.
NICE TO SEE YOU.
I SHOULD SAY THAT WE'VE KNOWN
EACH OTHER FOR A LITTLE BIT, AND
I'M REALLY GLAD THAT YOU'RE
HERE.

Celina says THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Nam says BUT I WILL PUSH BACK IF
I HAVE TO.

Celina says I EXPECT YOU TO DO YOUR JOB.

Nam says THAT'S HOW WE PLAY. YOU
HAVE BEEN AN MP FOR FOUR YEARS.
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
YOUR EXPECTATIONS WHEN YOU WENT
INTO POLITICS VERSUS THE REALITY
OF BEING IN POLITICS?

The caption changes to "Celina Caesar-Chavannes. Independent MP, Whitby."
Then, it changes again to "Not my cup of tea."

Celina says I HAVE TO SAY THAT I REALLY
DIDN'T HAVE EXPECTATIONS.
I NEVER HAD BEEN INTERESTED IN
POLITICS, NEVER STUDIED POLICY
SIGH BEFORE, AND REALLY JUST
WANTED TO GET INTO POLITICS TO
USE MY BACKGROUND IN BUSINESS
AND IN NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH TO
HELP INFORM POLICY BECAUSE I
KNEW... I UNDERSTOOD THE
RESEARCH PROCESS.
I KNEW WHICH QUESTIONS TO ASK,
AND THAT TRANCE TRANSLATION INTO
POLICY IS SOMETHING I COULD DO
VERY EASILY IN HELPING MY
COMMUNITY.

Nam says AND THE REALITY HAS BEEN WHAT?

Celina says THE REALITY HAS BEEN THAT
I'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT, BUT I
THINK THAT WHEN IT COMES TO
RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT ISSUES
THAT ARE VERY IMPORTANT, PUSHING
THE STATUS QUO AND CHANGING
CULTURE, I THINK THAT THAT HAS
LESS TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL
POLICY AND REGULATIONS AND MORE
TO DO WITH USING MY VOICE WITHIN
THE POLITICAL PROCESS, WITHIN
THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT I'M IN TO
REALLY RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT
ISSUES THAT ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT.

Nam says I'VE SEEN STEVE PAIKIN
DO INTERVIEWS ON THE SHOW WITH
OTHER PARLIAMENTARIANS, AND YOU
KNOW, HE ALWAYS STRESSES HOW
DIFFICULT THE LIFE OF A
POLITICIAN CAN BE BECAUSE IF YOU
HAVE A FAMILY, THE TRAVEL, ALL
OF THAT.
WHAT SORT OF TOLL HAS BEING A
POLITICIAN TAKEN ON YOUR ROLL AS
A MOTHER, AS A WIFE?

Celina says YOU KNOW, I OWNED A HEALTH
CARE-BASED RESEARCH MEDICAL FIRM
BEFORE I GOT INTO POLITICS, SO I
UNDERSTOOD THE DEMAND IN TERMS
OF HAVING TO TRAVEL, BEING AWAY
FROM HOME, NOT BEING ABLE TO
TUCK MY KIDS IN AT NIGHT AND
MISSING SOME KEY EVENTS THAT
HAPPENED WITH THEM.
SO I THINK FOR THAT PART, IT
HASN'T BEEN AS BAD.
AND IT HASN'T BEEN AS BAD
BECAUSE I'M IN WHITBY.
I'M THREE AND A HALF HOURS BY
THE 401 AWAY FROM OTTAWA, FOUR
HOURS, DEPENDING ON WHO'S
WATCHING.
DRIVE NICE AND SLOW.
BUT FOR OTHER COLLEAGUES, IT IS
MUCH FURTHER AWAY.
SO I DON'T TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT
IT IS A DEMANDING JOB, AND IT
DOES TAKE YOU AWAY FROM YOUR
FAMILY, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I
THINK SOME OF MY OTHER
COLLEAGUES WHO LIVE ON THE WEST
COAST OR WHO LIVE IN THE NORTH,
THEY HAVE... IT IS A REALLY
GRUELLING SCHEDULE, AND IT DOES,
OF COURSE, TAKE YOU AWAY FROM
YOUR FAMILY.

Nam says ALSO I THINK IN THIS DAY
AND AGE WE HAVE ANOTHER LAYER OF
BEING IN THE PUBLIC EYE THAT
MAYBE WE DIDN'T HAVE, LIKE, EVEN
FIVE, TEN YEARS AGO IS VERY
DIFFERENT.
WE NOW HAVE THAT SOCIAL MEDIA
WHERE POLITICIANS DO HAVE ACCESS
TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY'RE
REPRESENTING, BUT AS STATISTICS
SHOW, THE DATA SHOWS, THAT WOMEN
AND ESPECIALLY WOMEN OF COLOUR
ARE TARGETED ON-LINE, AND I'VE
SEEN SOME OF THE TWEETS THAT
YOU'VE RECEIVED.
AND JUST LAST MONTH YOU RECEIVED
SOME MAIL, AND I'M ACTUALLY
GOING TO READ WHAT IT SAYS.
I'VE NEVER UTTERED THIS WORD OUT
LOUD, BUT I WILL SAY IT JUST FOR
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LISTENING ON
THE PODCAST, AND ALSO I THINK
IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO
HEAR THE WORD ITSELF.

A picture appears on screen showing a wrinkled newspaper clipping of an article titled "Whitby MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus." The article contains a picture of Celina. Around the picture and text of the article, there is a handwritten note in black pen.

Nam continues AND THIS WAS AFTER YOU ANNOUNCED
THAT YOU WERE GOING TO LEAVE THE
LIBERAL CAUCUS, AND SOMEBODY
SENT YOU THIS.
AND ON IT, IT SAYS WHITBY MC
CELINA CAESAR-CHAVANNES QUITS
LIBERAL CAUCUS.
ON IT SOMEONE HAS WRITTEN DUMB
NIGGER WITH ATTITUDE,
ENTITLEMENT ALWAYS.
HEAD PROBLEMS.
NO ONE GETS ALONG WITH DUMB
ANYTHING NIGGERS.

Nam pauses, then says
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU
OPENED THAT ENVELOPE AND STARED
DOWN AT THAT.
IT WAS MAILED TO YOU AND
ADDRESSED TO YOU.

The caption changes to "Celina Caesar-Chavannes, @MPCelina."

Celina says I WANT TO BE CLEAR WITH
MESSAGES LIKE THIS, I POSTED
THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA, THIS COMES
TO MY OFFICE ON A REGULAR BASIS.
SO PEOPLE WERE REALLY SHOCKED
WHEN THIS CAME OUT.
THEY, LIKE, I CAN'T BELIEVE
THIS, THAT THIS IS HAPPENING.
THIS HAS HAPPENED MANY TIMES,
AND UNFORTUNATELY IT'S MY OFFICE
STAFF THAT OPENS THE MAIL AND
HAS TO READ THAT, AND I GET A
FEW PIECES OF IT.
BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE
SOCIAL MEDIA COMPONENT AND THE
ANONYMITY THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE
TO PUT VILE, VERY DANGEROUS
RHETORIC OUT IN SOCIAL MEDIA
PLATFORM WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE
IT, CHILDREN, MY CHILDREN SEE
IT, ADULTS SEE IT, GOOD MEMBERS
OF OUR SOCIETY SEE IT, I THINK
THAT IS DAMAGING.
THAT I THINK HAS PULLED AWAY OR
MADE SOME OF THE TISSUE FIBRE
THAT I HAVE, THE STRENGTH IN ME,
FRAY A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE YOU
GET SOME OF THE WORST IN PEOPLE
BECAUSE POLITICS IS SO DIVISIVE.
PEOPLE ARE LIBERAL OR THEY'RE
CONSERVATIVE OR THEY'RE NDP OR
THEY'RE GREEN OR THEY'RE NOT.
AND IT'S SO POLARIZING, AND THEY
FORGET ALL THE OTHER FACTORS
THAT MAKE UP CELINA.
AND SO WHEN I SEE SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, FIRST OF ALL, MY MAMA TOLD
ME THAT I'M NOT THAT, SO IT
DIDN'T PHASE ME, BUT I THINK WE
HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO CALL IT
OUT AND PUT IT OUT ON SOCIAL
MEDIA SO PEOPLE KNOW THERE'S A
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF WHAT
HAPPENED WHEN I WAS THERE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Nam says HOW OFTEN, AS AN ELECTED
POLITICIAN, DID YOU RECEIVE
RACIST REMARKS OR THREATS, VIA
SOCIAL MEDIA OR THROUGH THE MAIL?

Celina says OH, I WOULD SAY WEEKLY BASIS.
YEAH, AND THE MORE I STARTED
TALKING ABOUT ISSUES, THE MORE
IT CAME.
SO WHEN I TALKED ABOUT MY MENTAL
HEALTH ISSUES, YOU KNOW, IT WAS
MORE AN ATTACK ON MY CHARACTER.
WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T BE
THERE IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE IT.
MAYBE, YOU KNOW, IF YOU HAVE
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES YOU SHOULD
STAY AT HOME.
GIVE THE JOB TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO
CAN HANDLE IT.
YOU DO NOT HAVE THICK ENOUGH
SKIN.
AS I STARTED TALKING ABOUT
EQUITY AND JUSTICE AND WEARING
MY BRAIDS AND DOING THINGS IN
TERMS OF GENDER, RACE, EQUITY,
THEN IT BECAME AN ISSUE OF
ATTACKING MY SKIN, ATTACKING WHO
I AM AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
AND THE MORE I DID IT, THE MORE
THE ATTACKS CAME, BUT THAT
DOESN'T MEAN WE STOP.
THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE STOP HAVING
UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS
BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU
UNCOMFORTABLE WE NEED TO HAVE THEM.

Nam says YEAH, I DON'T THINK YOU
OR ANYONE COULD SAY THAT YOU'RE
A PERSON THAT STOPPED BECAUSE
YOU'VE ACTUALLY...

Celina says NEVER.

Nam says WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S
BEEN GOING ON WITH THE SNC
LAVALIN SCANDAL, YOU SENT OUT A
TWEET A WHILE AGO DIRECTED AT
THE PRIME MINISTER, JUSTIN
TRUDEAU.
IT GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION, SO AT
THE BEGINNING I'M GOING TO QUOTE
THE PRIME MINISTER, BUT THIS IS
WHAT YOU WROTE IN THE TWEET.
HIS QUOTE, IT SAYS...

A tweet by Celina appears on screen. It reads "'I believe real leadership is about listening, learning and compassion... central to my leadership is fostering an environment where my Ministers, caucus and staff feel comfortable coming to me when they have concerns.' I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reactions?"

Nam continues I'M INFERRING THAT YOU WERE
REFERRING TO TWO EXCHANGES YOU
HAD WITH THE PRIME MINISTER.

Celina says ABSOLUTELY.

Nam says WHERE YOU WERE TELLING
HIM YOU WEREN'T GOING TO RUN IN
THE NEXT ELECTION.

Celina says MM-HM.

Nam says AND YOU SAID IN BOTH
INSTANCES THAT HE GOT HOSTILE.

Celina says HMM.

Nam says HOW WAS HE HOSTILE?

The caption changes to "An altercation with the Prime Minister."

Celina says SO I WANT TO ADD TO THAT
QUOTE.
HIS QUOTE TALKED ABOUT HIS
LEADERSHIP AND HIS OPEN
ENVIRONMENT, AND THEN THE NEXT
SENTENCE SAID "AND
MS. WILSON-RAYBOULD DID NOT COME
TO ME."
THAT PERCEPTION THAT HE GAVE TO
CANADIANS WAS NOT MY REALITY.
MY REALITY WAS WHEN I PHONED
HIM, WHEN... I SPOKE TO HIM ON
THE PHONE.
THERE WAS YELLING.
AND I RECIPROCATED THAT.
I'M GOING TO OWN THAT.
YOU START YELLING AT ME, I'M
GOING TO PUSH BACK.
THE AREA WHERE I THINK... AND
THAT WAS THE YELLING PART.
SO THEN WE HAD ANOTHER MEETING,
A BROADER MEETING, AND WITHOUT
DISCLOSING CAUCUS
CONFIDENTIALITY, WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT TRUST AND BUILDING OUR
TEAM AND DOING WHAT WE NEEDED
FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF
CANADIANS.
AND THROUGHOUT THAT MEETING I
FELT REALLY TERRIBLE ABOUT THE
EXCHANGE THAT WE HAD, SO I
WANTED TO RECONCILE AND SAY,
LOOK, YOU KNOW, THE MEETING THAT
WE HAD WASN'T THE GREATEST, AND
I'M... YOU KNOW, LET'S TRY TO
BURY THE HATCHET, AND THAT WAS
MET WITH EVEN MORE HOSTILITY.
IT WAS THE GLARE.
IT WAS THE SORT OF, YOU KNOW,
STOMPING OFF.
AND THEN I REALIZED THAT WHAT HE
WAS TALKING ABOUT, TRUST AND
TEAM AND THE GREATER GOOD, HE
WAS NOT REFERRING TO ME.

Nam says I NEED TO PUSH BACK ON
THAT, BECAUSE YOU WERE ONCE HIS
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY.

Celina says ABSOLUTELY.

Nam says HE IS THE PRIME
MINISTER.
ISN'T HE ALLOWED TO BE ANGRY
WHEN HE HEARS THAT A MEMBER OF
HIS TEAM IS LEAVING?

Celina says OF COURSE, BUT ASK ANY OTHER
MEMBER OF HIS TEAM WHO TOLD HIM
THAT HE WAS LEAVING, WHICH I
DID, AND YOU CAN FEEL FREE TO DO
THAT.
ASK THEM WHAT THEIR REACTION
WAS.
SOME OF THEM SAID THE EASIEST
PART OF MY DECISION WAS GOING TO
TALK TO THE PRIME MINISTER.
THE PRIME MINISTER COMPLETELY
UNDERSTOOD THAT I WAS LEAVING.
IT WAS A GREAT DECISION AND A
GREAT DISCUSSION.

Nam says BUT MAYBE ANOTHER WAY OF
LOOKING AT IT IS THAT HE DIDN'T
SHOW ANY EMOTION AND HE WAS
LIKE, OKAY...
BUT WOULD THAT NOT BE AS BAD IF HE WAS...

Celina says WHAT WAS HE APOLOGIZING FOR?
WHY DID HE DO THAT?
AND WHY DID HE DO THAT IN A WAY
THAT DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO CALL
ME OUT OF THE CHAMBER BUT STOOD
BEHIND ME OR STOOPED BEHIND ME
IN MY CHAIR AND SAID, OH, I'M
SORRY FOR HOW I TREATED YOU.
DO YOU APOLOGIZE TO SOMEONE BY
STOOPING BEHIND THEM OR DO YOU
LOOK THEM IN THE EYE?

Nam says WHY DO YOU THINK HE
REACTED THE WAY HE DID?

Celina says THAT'S A QUESTION YOU'D HAVE
TO ASK THE PRIME MINISTER
BECAUSE I'VE NEVER FORGOTTEN AN
ANSWER.
I DON'T HAVE BEEF WITH THE PRIME
MINISTER.
THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT.
THIS IS ABOUT THE FACT THAT AT
THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT AND THE
MOMENTS AFTER THERE WAS NOT
RESPECT ENOUGH SHOWN TO ME AS AN
INDIVIDUAL WHO REPRESENTS
130,000 PEOPLE IN THE TOWN OF
WHITBY.
THOSE PEOPLE GOT HIM IN THE
POSITION THAT HE'S IN BECAUSE HE
ELECTED ME, AND IF I GO TO HIM
ON ANY REASON, FOR ANY
CIRCUMSTANCE, THAT REQUIRES A
DEGREE OF RESPECT AND
UNDERSTANDING FOR MY JOB AS A
PHYSICIAN AND THE PEOPLE THAT I
REPRESENT THAT ALLOW US TO BE
HERE.
WE HAVE BORROWED JOBS, AND ONCE
WE FORGET HOW WE GOT HERE AND
WHY WE ARE THERE, THEN WE'RE
DOOMED, AND THAT IS ALL ABOUT
THE PEOPLE.

Nam says I WANT TO READ SOMETHING
FROM A COLUMNIST, JANICE
KENNEDY, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN,
WHAT SHE WROTE ABOUT THIS WHOLE
SITUATION.

Celina says SURE.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Finding real feminists." The quote reads "Try as I might to discern Trudeau's dark misogynous side... what I see is a leader who is probably about as feminist as he's ever been, despite all the nasty chaos of the Jody Wilson-Raybould/Jane Philpott affair.
For me, it... feminism... means righting historical and ongoing wrongs.
It also means treating women and men equally. No 'fairer sex' nonsense. No special kid gloves. In the current Canadian political context, that means treating Wilson-Raybould and Philpott as players who have opted out of the team.
Characterizing these two women as victims of big bad male bullying (along with Celina Caesar-Chavannes, when she can grab a bit of their spotlight- because, after all, Trudeau raised his voice at her) is truly anti-feminist. Whatever happened to equal treatment?"
Quoted from Janice Kennedy. Ottawa Citizen. April 5, 2019.

Nam says WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Celina says WHATEVER HAPPENED TO EQUAL
TREATMENT?
I MEAN, THAT CERTAINLY IS...

Nam says IS THERE A BIT OF
FAIRNESS IN THAT?

Celina says THAT IS CERTAINLY HER OPINION
ON THE TOPIC.
AGAIN, I WOULD SAY THAT THE
FOUNDATION OF OUR DEMOCRACY IS
OUR HUMANITY IS HOW WE TREAT
PEOPLE WHEN WE ARE LOOKING AT
INSTILLING POLICIES AND LAWS
THAT AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE,
130,000 OF WHICH I REPRESENT, WE
NEED TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE DO
THAT.
AND WE HAVE TO DO THAT IN A
RESPONSIBLE WAY.
AND AS PRIME MINISTER AND AS
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, SURE, I
COULD TAKE IT.
I DIDN'T GET TO THIS POSITION
BECAUSE I CAN'T TAKE IT OR I
DON'T HAVE THICK ENOUGH SKIN.
BUT I THINK THE RESPECT THAT IS
DUE TO INDIVIDUALS, WHETHER
WE'RE IN POLITICS OR NOT, NEEDS
TO BE STANDARDIZED.
IT NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING THAT WE
DON'T JUST ACCEPT PASSIVE
AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR.
WE DON'T JUST ACCEPT THINGS FOR
THE SAKE OF ACCEPTING THEM.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Nam says YOU'VE BEEN... I GUESS
IT'S STILL MAYBE A LITTLE BIT
AWAY FROM THE SITUATION LOOKING
BACK BECAUSE WE ALWAYS HAVE TO
DO THIS: LOOK BACK AND SAY,
"WHAT WAS MY ROLE IN THIS?"

Celina says RIGHT.

Nam says DO YOU FEEL LIKE MAYBE
YOU COULD'VE DONE SOMETHING
DIFFERENTLY OR DO YOU BEAR ANY
RESPONSIBILITY IN HOW EVERYTHING
CAME DOWN?

Celina says THERE'S ALWAYS THINGS THAT WE
COULD DO DIFFERENTLY AND WHEN I
LOOK BACK ON THE SITUATION, I
WOULD SAY THAT... AND I DID PUT
IT OUT THERE... THE INTERVIEW
THAT I DID WITH THE GLOBE AND
MAIL, I THINK, HURT NOT JUST MY
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRIME
MINISTER BUT MY COLLEAGUES AS
WELL. IF I WERE TO DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENTLY, I WOULDN'T HAVE
DONE THAT BUT AT THE SAME TIME,
I NEED TO ENSURE THAT I AM
REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE WHO
ELECTED ME LIKE I DID WHEN I
TOLD THEM I WAS RUNNING IN 2015
WHEN I KNOCKED ON THEIR DOOR AND
I TOLD THEM THAT I WOULD BE
AUTHENTIC AND I WOULD STAND FOR
SOMETHING. AND IF I ACCEPT THAT
KIND OF BEHAVIOUR, I CAN'T
STAND UP FOR MYSELF IN THAT
SITUATION. HOW CAN THEY HAVE
TRUST IN ME TO STAND UP FOR
THEM FOR ANYTHING ELSE?

Nam says IN YOUR VIEW IS THE
PRIME MINISTER A FEMINIST?

Celina says ABSOLUTELY.
I WOULDN'T SAY THAT THE
SITUATION WITH ME DOESN'T
DISCREDIT HIM FROM BEING A
FEMINIST.
IF WE LOOK AT THE TRACK RECORD
OF THE GOVERNMENT IN TERMS OF
OUR FEMINIST INTERNATIONAL
ASSISTANCE POLICY, I WAS
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE
MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT, THAT POLICY NOT
ONLY SAVED... CHANGED PEOPLE'S
LIVES, IT SAVED LIVES, YOU KNOW?
WE'VE HAD A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT
INITIATIVES BROUGHT FORWARD BY
THIS GOVERNMENT THAT CLEARLY
DEMONSTRATES THAT THERE IS A
CAPACITY TO SEE WOMEN DO BETTER
ECONOMICALLY, SOCIALLY AND
POLITICALLY.
THE SITUATION BETWEEN MYSELF AND
THE PRIME MINISTER IS ONE THAT
IS... IT'S POSSIBLY JUST UNIQUE
TO ME, BUT IT'S NOT ONE THAT
SHOULD BE UNVALIDATED OR
VALIDATED BECAUSE SOMEBODY
THINKS THAT IT IS A DECREE OR AN
INDICTMENT ON WHETHER OR NOT HE
IS A FEMINIST.

Nam says AND...

Celina says OR ME EITHER, FOR THAT
MATTER.

Nam says YOU NOT ONLY LEFT YOUR
CABINET POST, YOU ALSO CHOSE TO
LEAVE THE LIBERAL PARTY.
WHY DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD TO
DO THAT?

Celina says BECAUSE I HAVE TO REPRESENT
THE PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT, AND
NOT JUST THE LIBERALS.

Nam says BUT THE PEOPLE OF WHITBY
ELECTED YOU AS A LIBERAL MEMBER.

Celina says ABSOLUTELY, AND NOT JUST
LIBERAL MEMBERS IN WHITBY, AND I
KNOW THAT FOR A FACT.

Nam says DO YOU THINK...

The caption changes to "Irreconcilable differences."

Celina says IT'S CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS.
IT WAS LIBERAL MEMBERS.
AND I THINK THAT IN ORDER TO
REPRESENT THEM PROPERLY IN THE
WAY THAT I PROMISED THEM AT THE
DOOR, THEN BEING AN INDEPENDENT
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT WAS THE WAY
TO GO.
IT WAS ALSO THE WAY TO GO
BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY CAUCUS
MEMBERS WERE NOT HAPPY, AND
SO...

Nam says WITH YOU?

Celina says WITH ME.
AND SO THERE'S A RESPONSIBILITY
TO BE... AT SOME POINT TO BE THE
ADULT IN THE ROOM AND SAY, LOOK,
I'M GOING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THIS.

Nam says DO YOU FEEL LIKE THEY
DIDN'T WANT YOU THERE ANYMORE?

Celina says I GOT A SENSE THAT THERE WERE
ENOUGH PEOPLE THAT WERE NOT
HAPPY WITH THE INTERVIEW THAT
WAS DONE.

Nam says YOU STOOD UP ONLINE FOR
JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD AND JANE
PHILPOTT, AND THEY... MY
IMPRESSION, ANYWAY, IS THAT THEY
DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THE CAUCUS
BUT THEY WERE KICKED OUT OF THE
CAUCUS BY THE PRIME MINISTER.
DID THEY SUPPORT YOU IN... YOU
KNOW, BECAUSE I'M GETTING THE
IMPRESSION THAT IF YOU DID HAVE
SUPPORT WITHIN THE PARTY YOU
MIGHT HAVE STAYED?

Celina says THEY DID, AND AGAIN, I DON'T
THINK THAT JANE OR JODY SUPPORT
OR NOT SUPPORTED ME WOULD HAVE
CHANGED MY DECISION AS TO
WHETHER OR NOT I LEFT.
THEY WERE STILL PART OF CAUCUS
WHEN I LEFT.
I THINK THAT IT WAS A DECISION
THAT I HAVE TO MAKE FOR MY
CONSTITUENTS AND ALSO FOR THE
GOOD OF THE PARTY.

Nam says WHAT IS INDEPENDENTS ROW?

Celina says IT'S THE BACK ROW OF THE
HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Nam says AND WHO'S THERE NOW?

Celina says WHERE ALL THE INDEPENDENTS
SIT.

Nam says YEAH.

Celina says SO, THERE'S MYSELF, JODY,
JANE, RAJ, DARSHAN, ERIN AND
TONY CLEMENT. AND THEN THERE'S,
OF COURSE, THE GREEN PARTY, THE
BLOC AND THE PPC.

Nam says LOOKING BACK IN YOUR
TIME IN OFFICE, WHAT DO YOU
THINK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST
ACCOMPLISHMENT AS AN MP?

The caption changes to "Looking back."

Celina says I WOULD SAY THAT THERE ARE A
COUPLE OF THINGS.
THE FIRST BEING RAISING
AWARENESS AROUND MENTAL ILLNESS,
DISCLOSING THAT I LIVE WITH
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY KICKED
OFF A CONVERSATION ABOUT
VULNERABILITY, ABOUT THE ABILITY
TO SPEAK ABOUT AND TO SAY YOUR
STORY AND BE A LITTLE BIT
VULNERABLE SO OTHERS COULD SEE A
LITTLE BIT MORE RESILIENCE.
AND FOR ME, THAT WAS REALLY
IMPORTANT.
AND THEN THERE WAS AN ADVOCACY
PUSH AROUND THAT WITHIN CAUCUS
AND OUTSIDE OF CAUCUS TO ENSURE
THAT THERE WAS A 5 BILLION dollar
ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE BUDGET
AROUND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.
AND SECONDLY, I WOULD SAY
RAISING ISSUES AROUND EQUITY AND
JUSTICE.
YOU KNOW, THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE
CONVERSATIONS AROUND RACISM AND
MICROAGGRESSIONS IN CANADA, AND
IT'S NOT AN INDICTMENT ON OUR
COUNTRY, BUT IT'S A CONVERSATION
AND A STORY THAT WE NEED TO TALK
ABOUT.
AND IF WE'RE AFRAID TO TALK
ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT MAKES US
UNCOMFORTABLE, WE'RE BLINDED BY
THE HISTORICAL FACTS THAT THIS
IS TRUE, THEN WE'RE NOT GOING TO
GET AHEAD.

Nam says YOU'RE A HANDFUL OF
WOMEN OF COLOUR IN THE CAUCUS,
OR WAS.
YOU ONCE STOOD UP IN THE HOUSE
TO TALK ABOUT HOW BLACK WOMEN
SHOULD BE PROUD TO WEAR THEIR
BRAIDS.
YOU SPOKE ABOUT BODY SHAMING.
YOU'RE NOW LEAVING POLITICS
ENTIRELY.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MESSAGE
SENDS TO YOUNG BLACK WOMEN
ACROSS CANADA, ACROSS THE WORLD,
WHO WERE LOOKING TO YOU FOR
INSPIRATION?

Celina says SO I ACTUALLY FELT A LITTLE
GUILTY ABOUT THAT, AND IT WAS
ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS FOR ME
TO GET OVER IN MAKING THE
DECISION TO LEAVE.
AND THEN I WENT TO DAUGHTERS OF
THE VOTE.
EVERY YEAR THEY HAVE DAUGHTERS
OF THE VOTE ON THE HILL WHERE
THEY BRING 338 WOMEN ACROSS
CANADA TO PARLIAMENT HILL, AND I
WAS TALKING TO A GROUP OF MAINLY
YOUNG BLACK WOMEN, BUT WOMEN OF
ALL BACKGROUNDS.
AND THEY WERE INSPIRED, AND THEY
SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW, WE GOT
NEXT.
WE HAVE THIS.
WE KNOW... WE SEE THROUGH YOU
WHAT IS... WHAT WE'RE ABLE TO
DO, WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED,
AND WE'RE PROUD.
AND I WAS... I WAS REALLY
EMOTIONAL BECAUSE I SAID I
THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE
DISENFRANCHISED, I THOUGHT YOU
WOULD FEEL DISCONNECTED FROM THE
PROCESS AND JADED BY THE PROCESS
BY ME LEAVING, AND THEY SAID
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
WE'RE INSPIRED.
WE WANT TO DO THIS.
WE WANT TO MAKE CHANGE.
BUT LIKE I SAID IN MY STATEMENT,
WHEN I SAID I WAS NO LONGER
GOING TO RUN, I WANT WOMEN TO
RUN, BUT RUN IN PACKS.
RUN WITH THE ABILITY TO SUPPORT
EACH OTHER AND STAND WITH EACH
OTHER AND REALLY DON'T JUST
BELIEVE HER AND STAND WITH HER
WHEN IT'S CONVENIENT, BUT
BELIEVE HER AND STAND WITH HER
WHEN IT'S NOT.

Nam says WHEN IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE.

Celina says WHEN IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE.

Nam says ONE MORE QUESTION.
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW SECONDS LEFT.
THE ELECTION IS JUST A FEW
MONTHS AWAY.
ONE OF THE CRITICISMS THAT I'VE
SEEN LOBBED AT YOU IS THAT, YOU
KNOW, YOUR ACTIONS CALLING OUT
THE PRIME MINISTER WILL HURT HIS
CHANCES WHEN IT COMES TO THE
ELECTION IN OCTOBER.
DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Celina says I DISAGREE.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO MAKE
THEIR DECISIONS... IF THEY ARE
MAKING THEIR DECISIONS ON ONE
PERSON CALLING OUT THE PRIME
MINISTER AS OPPOSED TO POLICY,
AS OPPOSED TO LOOKING AT THE
PLATFORM, AS OPPOSED TO LOOKING
AT THE PAST RECORD OF THE
GOVERNMENT, AS OPPOSED TO
LOOKING AT THE PAST RECORD OF
OTHER GOVERNMENTS AND SEEING AND
COMPARING AND CONTRASTING WHAT
HAS BEEN DONE VERSUS WHAT'S SAID
TO BE DONE VERSUS WHAT THEY ARE
PROJECTING THEY ARE GOING TO BE
DOING, THEN IF I HAVE THAT MUCH
POWER TO CHANGE AN ELECTION,
PEOPLE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO
WHAT'S ACTUALLY WRITTEN ON THE
GROUND AND MAKE THEIR DECISION
BASED ON RECORD.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Nam says CELINA, REALLY
APPRECIATE YOU MAKING TIME FOR
"THE AGENDA," AND VERY EXCITED
TO SEE WHAT YOU DO NEXT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Celina says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Nam says THANKS.

Watch: Celina Caesar-Chavannes: Leaving Politics Behind