Beyond the stars, new Liberal rank-and-file members have compelling resumes

Much has been made of Justin Trudeau's hand-picked star recruits, newly minted MPs who may be in line for a cabinet post.

OTTAWA — Much has been made of Justin Trudeau’s hand-picked star recruits, newly minted MPs who may be in line for a cabinet post.

They include: aboriginal leader Jody Wilson-Raybould millionaire businessman Bill Morneau former Manitoba business council head Jim Carr retired general Andrew Leslie former Toronto police chief Bill Blair former Alberta legislators Kent Hehr and Darshan Kang retired lieutenant-colonel and combat veteran Harjit Singh Sajjan Montreal mayoral runner-up Melanie Joly.

But there are dozens of lesser-known new MPs with impressive and eclectic credentials, some of whom could also wind up in cabinet, leading influential parliamentary committees or serving as parliamentary secretaries.

Here’s a look at a few of them:

Dan Vandal, Liberal, Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, Man.

A high-school dropout who took up professional boxing, becoming the top Canadian middleweight in 1983. Eventually earned a degree in social work from the University of Manitoba. Became a veteran Winnipeg city councillor. Discovered his Metis roots later in life.

Kim Rudd, Liberal, Northumberland-Peterborough South, Ont.

Businesswoman, former president of Cobourg chamber of commerce. Rudd co-founded one of the first rural day care centres. Former owner of Willis College, an offshoot of the Toronto School of Business. Owner of a first-aid training company.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal, Peterborough-Kawartha, Ont.

A refugee whose family fled the Taliban in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Community activist, founded the Red Pashmina Campaign, which has raised over $150,000 for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Liberal, Whitby, Ont.

Grenadian-born research consultant, businesswoman. Named entrepreneur of the year by the Toronto Board of Trade in 2012. Invited herself when the Liberals conducted an “invite her to run” campaign aimed at increasing the number of female candidates. Came a surprisingly strong second in the byelection called last fall to fill the vacancy left by the death of former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

Jane Philpott, Liberal, Markham-Stouffville, Ont.

Family physician, chief of family medicine department at Markham Stouffville hospital, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. Spent nine years working as a doctor in Niger. Instrumental in helping create Ethiopia’s first family medicine training program at Addis Ababa University.

Stephen Fuhr, Liberal, Kelowna-Lake Country, B.C.

Former CF-18 fighter pilot. Retired with the rank of major from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2009. Led his family’s aviation communication and tracking equipment business before returning to flying as captain of a business jet.

Michel Picard, Liberal, Montarville, Que.

An expert in financial crime, author of books on the subject. Worked for the RCMP’s integrated market enforcement team, among other private and public sector employers. Created Masters-level course on combating financial crime for the University of Sherbrooke’s management faculty.

Peter Fonseca, Mississauga East-Cooksville, Ont.

Former top Canadian marathon runner, Olympic athlete. Former member of Ontario legislature. Served as provincial cabinet minister in labour and tourism and recreation portfolios.

Seamus O’Regan, Liberal, St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador

Former host of CTV’s Canada AM. Senior policy adviser to former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin.

Patty Hajdu, Liberal, Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ont.

Expert on mental health and addictions. Member of the implementation panel for Thunder Bay’s drug strategy. Former chair of Thunder Bay’s drug awareness committee.

Anju Dhillon, Liberal, Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, Que.

First Canadian Sikh to practice law in Quebec courts. A Liberal party activist since she was 13.

Bob Bratina, Liberal, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Ont.

Former mayor of Hamilton, former radio broadcaster. One-time play-by-play voice of Hamilton Tiger Cats, member of the Canadian football reporters’ hall of fame. Competed in 18 marathons. Performs with the Balkan Strings Tamburitza Orchestra, playing brac, clarinet, saxophone and accordion.

Arif Virani, Liberal, Parkdale-High Park, Ont.

Ugandan Asian refugee. Former analyst for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, assistant trial attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nations international criminal tribunal for Rwanda. Founder of a Toronto legal aid clinic.

Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean, Ont.

An international expert on democracy and human rights. Worked in over 20 countries for the United Nations development program, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the National Democratic Institute. Awarded the Canadian Peacekeeping Service medal in 2008.

Karen McCrimmon, Liberal, Kanata-Carleton, Ont.

First woman to earn the qualification of air navigator in the Canadian Armed Forces. First woman to command a CAF flying squadron. Ran for the Liberal leadership in 2013, lost to Justin Trudeau.

Matt DeCourcey, Liberal, Fredericton, N.B.

Founded the Wanderers Friendship Cup, a soccer tournament and health-education initiative for youth in The Gambia. Former provincial co-ordinator for UNESCO’s youth advisory group. Director of communications, education and outreach for the N.B. child and youth advocate. Worked previously as an assistant to former cabinet minister Andy Scott and former Liberal MP Todd Russell.

Ali Ehsassi, Liberal, Willowdale, Ont.

Lawyer, former provincial and federal bureaucrat, specializing in international trade.

Andy Fillmore, Liberal, Halifax, N.S.

City planner and urban designer. First manager of urban design for the city of Halifax. Won a national urban leadership award in 2012. Former vice president of planning and development for Waterfront Development Corp, a provincial Crown corporation.

Frank Baylis, Liberal, Pierrefonds-Dollard, Que.

President of Baylis Medical, which designs and manufactures high tech medical products. A movie fan, set up his own production house, Walk of Fame Entertainment. Has written several screenplays.

Robert Morrissey, Liberal, Egmont, P.E.I.

A longtime member of the provincial legislative assembly. Former provincial cabinet minister and Opposition House leader. Retired from provincial politics in 2000.

Anthony Housefather, Liberal, Mount Royal, Que.

Lawyer, former mayor of Cote-Saint-Luc. An avid swimmer who won seven medals at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel, sometimes called the Jewish Olympics.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Liberal, Winnipeg Centre, Man.

Expert on indigenous education. Director of aboriginal focus programs at the University of Manitoba. Spent 19 years in the armed forces. Has also worked as a professional musician with La Fanfarniente della Strada Gypsy Band in Quebec City. Rose from obscurity to finish a surprisingly strong third in the 2014 Winnipeg mayoral race.

Doug Eyolfson, Liberal, Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingly, Man.

Emergency room doctor, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba’s medical school. Former medical director of Manitoba’s land ambulance program. Renowned for research into hypothermia, once conducting a TV interview while submerged in an ice water bath (not to be confused with another Manitoba doctor, Gordon Giesbrecht, known as “Professor Popsicle”). Dubbed the “transit angel” after helping in 2013 to save the life an elderly bus passenger who had suffered a heart attack.

Carla Qualtrough, Liberal, Delta, B.C.

Visually impaired from birth, she won three bronze medals in swimming at the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games. A lawyer, vice-chair of B.C.’s workers’ compensation appeal tribunal, former legal counsel for both the B.C. and Canadian human rights commissions.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Liberal, Quebec.

Director of Laval University’s economics department. Vice-president Canadian Economics Association, fellow-in-residence at the C.D. Howe Institute, fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Hunter Tootoo, Liberal, Nunavut.

Served as an MLA in the territory’s legislative assembly for 14 years. Co-founder of the Iqaluit branch of Arctic Insurance Brokers Ltd. Cousin of NHL hockey player Jordin Tootoo. Ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in 1997.

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