Anita Vandenbeld was the federal Liberal candidate in the riding of Ottawa-West-Nepean during the 2011 election. Anita is an international expert on democracy and human rights, who has spent over 10 years upholding the democratic values of freedom, diversity, and social equality, focused on parliamentary development, political parties and women’s political participation.
As a senior advisor to the United Nations, Anita has travelled the globe and learned first-hand the immeasurable value of our Canadian democracy. This past year Anita counselled the UNDP in Vietnam where she authored a study on women’s political participation and provided expertise in Bangladesh as a technical specialist on parliamentary committees. Prior to that Anita re-opened the NDI office in DRC where she established a political party program during the November 2011 Congolese elections.
Prior to the 2011 election, Anita was posted with the UNDP Democratic Governance Group in New York, where she managed a multi-partner international network to promote women’s political participation (www.iknowpolitics.org). Anita was also Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of the Central Assembly and Political Parties Section of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Kosovo. In 2008, she was awarded the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal for her work there. Anita has also coordinated an anti-corruption campaign with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and worked on parliamentary development in BiH and Serbia with the Ottawa-based Parliamentary Centre.
Anita was previously Director of Parliamentary Affairs in the Office of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, where she oversaw the development and implementation of the Government of Canada’s Democratic Reform Action Plan. She was also a Policy Analyst with the National Liberal Caucus Research Bureau in the Canadian Parliament, Chief of staff to a Canadian Senator, and chapter development chair for Equal Voice, a Canadian multi-partisan organization to promote women in politics.
Anita is committed to finding ways of making political processes more inclusive, more representative, and more accessible for everyone. If elected, her goal is to act as a true spokesperson for local concerns, ensuring that all constituents in Ottawa West-Nepean are heard.
Born and raised in Alberta, Anita obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary before moving on to complete a Master’s degree and all PhD course requirements in Canadian Politics and
Constitutional History at York University. She lives in Ottawa West-Nepean with her husband Don Dransfield and step-daughter Courtney.