Politician, Member of Canadian Parliament

Parliamentarian from 1999-present

Background information

Judy Sgro is the Member of Parliament for York West, Ontario. She is a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and was a member of the cabinet until January 13, 2005. She has been appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, making her official title "The Honourable Judy Sgro, P.C." Her time as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was plagued by controversy after allegations about her integrity and impartiality surfaced. The issues involved strippers and pizza, but more about those later.

Sgro was born on December 16th, 1944, in Moncton, New Brunswick. She was involved in public service for much of her early life, and served as a municipal councillor before becoming involved in federal politics. According to her official biography, she has been involved with several charitable organizations. Sgro is married and has three children.

Political Beginnings

Sgro was involved in municipal politics in the mid 1990s; she was elected as a regional councillor in Toronto in 1994. She was the head of the Mayor's Task Force on Drugs and the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. She also helped to create schools that are supposed to prevent prostitution.

She first ran for parliament in the 1997 Canadian Federal Election but was defeated. She eventually won the seat in 1999 after a by-election was held. She has represented the riding of York West ever since. She was a member of several standing committees during the 36th and 37th parliaments, including the Standing Committees on Human Resources Development, Health, Public Accounts and Justice and Human Rights. She was appointed vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Health under Jean Chrétien.

When Paul Martin became Prime Minister in 2003, Sgro was appointed Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. She resigned this post in January, 2005, after controversial allegations were made.


In late 2004, it was alleged that Sgro had sped up the immigration process for a Romanian woman who had volunteered on her 2004 Canadian federal election campaign. An accusation such as this was enough to land her in hot water, but it was eventually discovered that the woman in question had been an exotic dancer, and sources claimed that Sgro had actually been trying to "fill a market need for exotic dancers in Canada." Needless to say, the opposition had a field day. Conservative MPs (citizenship and immigration critic Diane Ablonczy in particular) demanded Sgro's resignation at every turn. Sgro refused to back down, insisting that the allegations were false.

The Toronto Star acquired a report in January, 2005, which alleged that Sgro had promised a pizzeria owner that she would use her powers to prevent him from being deported -- if he provided her campaign with volunteers and free pizza for those volunteers. Sgro resigned her ministry, and vehemently denied all charges. She said that she would be free to clear her name once she was no longer in the cabinet. It was later discovered that her accuser had been indicted for fraud -- then another source came forward, saying he had overheard Sgro make the promise of help in return for assistance with her campaign. This isn't over yet.

Sgro's lawyers announced in late January that she plans to sue four people unless they withdraw their allegations.

Her main accuser withdrew his allegations and apologized in May of 2005. He admitted that not only had she never asked him to supply her with workers for her election campaign, but that he also never met with her at all. She is also expected to be cleared of wrongdoing in other controversies.

Judy Sgro in today's parliament

Sgro will likely continue to field questions from the Opposition about the allegations, despite the fact that she is no longer in charge of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Her page on the parliamentary website has been updated to reflect the change in her status, however her official website still credits her as being in the cabinet. She has been replaced by Joseph Volpe, who was formerly the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Following her resignation, Sgro said that Volpe had been "after (her) job" and that blame for her entire fall from grace rested with some members of her own party.

Sgro's official website does contain more information about her and about her riding than those of some of her colleagues. Interestingly, like the site of Diane Ablonczy (her former chief critic), it includes audio clips. Unlike Ablonczy's, Sgro's clips are recorded greetings and not clips from Question Period.

The parliamentary seating plan has not been updated since Sgro's resignation. She will most likely be seated behind the cabinet in the government area of the House of Commons after parliament reconvenes at the end of January.

Federal Political Experience - SGRO, Judy http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?lang=E&query=17651&s=F 18 January 2005
Judy Sgro, MP: Biography http://www.judysgro.com/bio.html 18 January 2005