Candice Bergen was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008, under the name Candice Hoeppner, representing Portage-Lisgar. She is currently the House Leader of the Official Opposition, and a member of the Board of Internal Economy. She is an Association Executive Member of the Canada-Ireland Interparliamentary Group and a counsellor with the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas.
Bergen is also a member of the Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group, the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association, the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association, the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group, the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, and the Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA).
Under the Conservative government, Bergen had been Canada’s Minister of State for Social Development having previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety. In her role as Minister of State for Social Development, she worked with all provinces and territories on affordable housing programs. She also reformed the government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. As the Minister responsible for the Office of Disability Issues, Bergen worked on programs such as the Registered Disability Savings Plan, Opportunities Fund and Enabling Accessibility Fund.
Bergen is well known for her work to end the long-gun registry. In 2009 she introduced her Private Member’s Bill C-391, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, which would have repealed the registry. Her PMB was voted down in the House, but in her role as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Bergen was able to resume her fight against the registry and the majority Conservative government passed Bill C-19, the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act.
Bergen was born in Morden, Manitoba. Before running as a federal candidate, Bergen worked in financial planning and was active in the Conservative Party of Canada. She worked as a campaign manager in Manitoba for Stephen Harper’s leadership bid and served as the Chief Organizer for the party in Manitoba.
Bergen is active in her community working with youth, particularly at-risk youth. She has a special interest in mental health issues. She also volunteers with the palliative care program at her local hospital, Boundary Trails Health Centre.
In 2015 Bergen announced she would run for the interim leadership of the Conservative Party, a role that was eventually filled by the Honourable Rona Ambrose.