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Photography by Jeremy Kohm


MPP, London North Centre; Minister of Health and Long-Term Care; Deputy Premier of Ontario


Deb has been an MPP for London North Centre since 2003

Responsible for providing strategic direction on Ontario’s $49-billion health care system

Deputy Premier of Ontario since 2013


Janet E. Stewart, Partner, Lerners LLP, a London, Ont.-based law firm

From Janet E. Stewart

As told to Astrid Van Den Broek

One of Deb’s best traits is that she’s a good listener. When she canvasses door-to-door during elections, her handlers are always rolling their eyes be­cause she takes so much time. She always puts them madly behind schedule because she’s right inside people’s homes asking about family and life.
I first met Deb over 30 years ago when she joined the Big Sisters of London as a board member. I am one of the founding board members of the organization and, at the time, I was on the board.
She’s worked in the backroom of political campaigns for a long time—former Ontario premier David Peterson is her brother-in-law. Then, in 2003, she finally decided to run herself and was successful—she’s been elected in the riding of London North Centre three times and appointed the Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and she’s now, along with being the Deputy Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long- Term Care working on transforming the Ontario healthcare system.
Deb works incredibly hard. A few of us took a trip just after the 2007 provincial elec­tion. She’d already been appointed Minister of Children and Youth Services and there she was on the plane, reading policy papers since she was also the chair of the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction. The rest of us were drink­ing our rum punches.
But that’s Deb, she does these things because she’s interested in them—and also because what bugs her most is getting caught without the right information. It drives her crazy.
Deb works hard to maintain her ties— we’ve been part of the same book club for 25 years and she still tries to make as many meetings as she can. We call ourselves the London Ladies Literary League and there are 10 of us including Deb. A few years ago the oldest member of our club, Elaine, died from ovarian cancer. The nine of us were her pallbearers and we wore sashes Deb’s daughter made for us. And now we all do the Run for Ovarian Cancer, even though we may not actually all run it.