Don Boudria

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

Don Boudria

Member of Parliament
for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell
In office
Preceded byDenis Éthier
Succeeded byPierre Lemieux
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byJoseph Albert Bélanger
Succeeded byJean Poirier
ConstituencyPrescott and Russell
Minister for International Cooperation
In office
Preceded byPierre Pettigrew
Succeeded byDiane Marleau
Minister responsible for La Francophonie
In office
October 3, 1996  June 10, 1997
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byPierre Pettigrew
Succeeded byDiane Marleau
Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
In office
June 11, 1997  January 14, 2002
Preceded byHerb Gray
Succeeded byRalph Goodale
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
In office
May 6, 2002  December 11, 2003
Preceded byRalph Goodale
Succeeded byJacques Saada
In office
January 15, 2002  May 5, 2002
Preceded byAlfonso Gagliano
Succeeded byRalph Goodale
Personal details
Born (1949-08-30) August 30, 1949
Hull, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal
ResidenceSarsfield, Ontario, Canada

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 Joseph Albert Bélanger 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 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. He was appointed Chief Government Whip on September 15, 1994. He held this position until October 4, 1996, when he was named to Cabinet as 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, 2002.[1]

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. In 2000, this practice led Reform Party deputy leader Deb Grey to wonder if Chrétien could answer a question "without any help from Binder Boy."[2] 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.

His son Dan Boudria was elected to the Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française du Centre-Est in the 2006 municipal elections. In early 2007, the Liberal Party of Canada Association of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell selected his son as candidate in the 2008 federal election. He lost to incumbent Conservative candidate Pierre Lemieux.

Electoral record

2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDon Boudria23,92147.9%20.1%
ConservativeAlain Lalonde18,72937.5%+10.2%
New DemocraticMartin Cauvier4,2388.5%+4.4%
GreenRoy Fjarlie2,6345.3%
Christian HeritageTim Bloedow4640.9%
Total valid votes 49,986100.0%

Note: Conservative vote is compared to the total of the Canadian Alliance vote and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000 election.

2000 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDon Boudria31,37168.0%4.0%
AllianceL. Sebastian Anders8,63218.7%+9.2%
Progressive ConservativeAshley O'Kurley3,9428.5%4.0%
New DemocraticGuy Belle-Isle1,8774.1%0.6%
Natural LawWayne Foster3340.7%+0.3%
Total valid votes 46,156 100.0%

Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to the Reform vote in 1997 election.

1997 Canadian federal election: Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalDon Boudria34,98671.98−8.23$ 46,386  
Progressive ConservativeFrance Somers6,10912.57+4.3810,057  
ReformMike Lancop4,5999.46+1.482,386  
New DemocraticFred Cappuccino2,2894.71+2.3711,524  
GreenRichard Kerr4170.86 499  
Natural LawMary Glasser2070.43−0.420  
Total valid votes/Expense limit 48,607 100.00   −12.93 $ 62,182  
Total rejected ballots 598 1.22
Turnout 49,205 68.68
Electors on the lists 71,639
Sources: Elections Canada Official Voting Results and Financial Returns
1993 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDon Boudria44,77580.2%+9.5%
Progressive ConservativeFrance Somers4,5728.2%10.9%
ReformSam McCracken4,4568.0%
New DemocraticPascal Villeneuve1,3042.3%6.8%
Natural LawPierrette Blondin4730.8%
LibertarianJean-Serge Brisson2440.4%0.2%
Total valid votes 55,824 100.0%
1988 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDon Boudria35,28070.7%+17.6%
Progressive ConservativeRoger R. Presseault9,51719.1%13.9%
New DemocraticHelena McCuaig4,5379.1%4.8%
LibertarianJean-Serge Brisson3350.7%
Commonwealth of CanadaJohn Feres1990.4%
Total valid votes 49,868 100.0%
1984 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDon Boudria26,05753.1%15.4%
Progressive ConservativeJohn Stante16,17033.0%+13.3%
New DemocraticAnnemarie Collard6,83813.9%+13.7%
Total valid votes 49,065100.0%


  1. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Government of Canada. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  2. Paul Adams (February 9, 2000). "Liberal tactics whip opposition into a lather". The Globe and Mail.
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
  Minister of State
(NB: no portfolio specified - while House Leader)
Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Ralph Goodale
  Minister of State
(NB: no portfolio specified - while House Leader)
Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Cooperation
Diane Marleau
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Pierre Pettigrew Minister responsible for La Francophonie
Diane Marleau
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Ralph Goodale Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
second time
Jacques Saada
Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
first time
Ralph Goodale
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