Jeff Watson was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Essex in June, 2004 and re-elected in January, 2006, October 2008 and May, 2011 as a member of the Conservative Government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In the fall of 2013, Jeff was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
Jeff is a veteran member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure & Communities. He is also a member of the Government Auto Caucus, the Tourism Caucus and the All-Party Border Caucus. In addition, Jeff serves as director of the Canada-Israel Friendship Group and as a member of the Canada-US and Canada-Italy Inter-Parliamentary Associations as well as a member of the Canada-Macedonia Friendship Group and Vice-Chair of the Canada-Croatia Friendship Group.
Among his legislative accomplishments, Jeff counts his Private Members’ measure to reverse a steep Liberal tax hike on retired Canadian seniors collecting US Social Security which was included in the Conservative Government’s 2010 Budget.
In addition, as chair of the Government Auto Caucus, Jeff worked with the Industry Minister to create a National Auto Strategy, in 2008, including the Auto Innovation Fund – the first investment from which re-opened Ford’s Essex Engine Plant in Windsor.
Jeff also worked closely with US Congressman John Dingell and two Canadian Environment Ministers to establish Canada’s first Priority Natural Area, the Western Lake Erie Watersheds PNA, to enhance land conservation in Essex County and to complement the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
As well, Jeff is leading the charge to improve adoption outcomes and support in Canada with his National Adoption Action Plan. His Private Members Motion-386, to study federal supports for adoptive parents and children received the unanimous support of the House and resulted in a report tabled in March 2012, for the government’s consideration. This report has subsequently resulted in federal measures in Budget 2013 and Budget 2014 to increase tax credits to cover the costs to families adopting a child.
Jeff’s early passion for government led to his studying political science and history at the University of Windsor. He returned to his studies in 2012 to complete his BA (History). Jeff worked as Executive Assistant and Marketing Director for an internationally known promotions company whose presentations included eight Super Bowls. He later joined Chrysler Canada and spent six years on the line at the Trim Division at Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, including three and a half years at the Pillette Road plant before it closed. Jeff’s work on the Assembly line led to his Library of Parliament designation as the first autoworker elected to Parliament.
Jeff and his wife, Sarah make their home in Amherstburg, Ontario. The Watsons have six children – Sophie, Emma, Elijah, Thaddaeus, Ava, and Beatrice.