Jane Stewart (politician)

Jane Stewart, PC (born April 25, 1955) is a former Canadian politician who was the Minister of Human Resources Development from 1999 to 2003. She joined International Labour Organization in May 2004 and was the Special Representative and Director of the International Labour Organization's office to the United Nations until January 2016.

Jane Stewart

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Brant
In office
October 25, 1993  June 28, 2004
Preceded byDerek Blackburn
Succeeded byLloyd St. Amand
Personal details
Born (1955-04-25) April 25, 1955
Brantford, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
Children2 sons
  • Minister of National Revenue (1996–1997)
  • Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (1997–1999)
  • Minister of Human Resources Development (1999–2003)

Life and career

Born in Brantford, Ontario, Stewart was first elected to Parliament in the 1993 election. She was a close friend of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and was soon appointed to the important position of minister of National Revenue and subsequently Minister of Indian Affairs. In 1999, she was moved to the Department of Human Resources Development (HRDC), the government department that has the largest budget. Stewart was widely viewed to have leadership ambitions, and was closely supported by Chrétien.

These ambitions were put to an end by the so-called "billion-dollar boondoggle" where ineffective accounting practices at HRDC allegedly left millions of dollars unaccounted for. While the problems at HRDC mostly date from the time of her predecessor, Pierre Pettigrew, Stewart took the brunt of the attack but was also the Minister widely viewed to have cleaned up the mess left behind by her predecessor. She did not resign and according to some, Chrétien stood by her throughout the ordeal.

She remained minister in charge of HRDC until Paul Martin became Prime Minister on December 12, 2003. She was moved to the backbenches because of her position as a loyalist to the ousted Chrétien. She retired from politics on February 13, 2004, to become an Executive Director of the International Labour Organization. In July 2005, she left her job with the ILO to return to Canada and marry businessman Henry Stolp. She has since returned to ILO as its Executive Director and currently resides in New York City.

With the announcement that Martin was stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party, a group called "Liberals for Jane" had hoped to see Stewart seek the party leadership. This was ruled out when Stewart accepted the position of Chief of Staff to acting Leader of the Opposition, Bill Graham. Only weeks later, Stewart stepped down from the post due to family obligations. She was replaced by former cabinet minister Andy Mitchell.

From 2006 to May 2007 Stewart was chief negotiator for the province of Ontario in the Caledonia land dispute.[1] In 2008, Jane became the Volunteer Chair for Brant United Way.

Stewart comes from a family of politicians. Her father Robert Nixon was leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, while her grandfather was Ontario premier Harry Nixon.

Electoral record

2000 Canadian federal election: Brant
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalJane Stewart24,06856.42$46,551
AllianceChris Cattle10,95525.68$43,139
     Progressive Conservative Stephen Kun 3,580 8.39 $6,405
New DemocraticDee Chisholm3,1267.33$9,266
GreenGraeme Dunn4841.13$156
Canadian ActionMike Clancy4471.05$8,881
Total valid votes/Expense Limit 42,660 100.00
Total rejected ballots 262
Turnout 42,922 56.28
Electors on the lists 76,270
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalJane Stewart24,12553.0%+1.5%
ReformDan Houssar10,43622.9%-1.8%
Progressive ConservativeStephen W. Kun5,78112.7%+0.5%
New DemocraticPat Franklin5,20111.4%+4.5%
Total valid votes 45,543100.0%
1993 Canadian federal election: Brant
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
LiberalJane Stewart24,68651.46$39,023
ReformKen Edmison11,86324.73$36,354
     Progressive Conservative Mabel E. Dougherty 5,831 12.16 $25,624
New DemocraticMichael C. Smith3,3176.92$37,911
NationalHerman Kruis1,2272.56$8,148
GreenJamie Legacey4821.00$0
LibertarianHelmut Kurmis2580.54$0
Natural LawEleanor Toshiko Hyodo1920.40$2,853
     N/A (Social Credit) Doug Stelpstra 112 0.23 $158
Total valid votes 47,968 100.00
Total rejected ballots 500
Turnout 48,468 65.27
Electors on the lists 74,260
Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.


  1. "Ontario replacing negotiator in Caledonia talks". Canadian Press. 7 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development
Liza Frulla
Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Bob Nault
David Anderson Minister of National Revenue
Herb Dhaliwal
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