Linda Duncan

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Linda Francis Duncan
MP, LL.M.
Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan.jpg
Duncan at the Alberta Legislature participating in a rally against the Heartland Transmission project
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Edmonton—Strathcona
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 14, 2008
Preceded by Rahim Jaffer
Personal details
Born (1949-06-25) June 25, 1949 (age 65)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political party New Democratic Party
Profession Lawyer, environmental consultant

Linda Francis Duncan (born June 25, 1949) is a Canadian lawyer and politician, currently serving as a Member of Parliament for the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona in Alberta. She is a member of the New Democratic Party and, since 2008, she has been the only MP from an Alberta riding not a member of the Conservative Party. Since her election to 40th Parliament in October 2008, she has served as a member of the House Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, as well as the NDP caucus' Environment Critic. Prior to her election, she ran unsuccessfully in the same riding in 2006.

Duncan has spent most of her life in Edmonton. She graduated the University of Alberta's undergraduate and law programs and founded Edmonton's Environmental Law Centre. She practiced law, specializing in environmental law, in the city until 1987 when she moved to Ottawa to work for Environment Canada. She spent time in Whitehorse working as an assistant deputy in the Yukon government, then Montreal working in NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She attained a Masters of Law at Dalhousie Law School and spent several years on the Sierra Legal Defence Fund's Board of Directors.

Early life and career[edit]

Linda Duncan was born in Edmonton on June 25, 1949. Her father, Darcy Duncan, a second-generation lawyer, supported the family which included a brother, a younger sister and an older sister, along with their mother.[1] She grew up in the south side of Edmonton.[2] She attended the University of Alberta, graduating from their law school. With an interest in environmental law she passed upon the opportunity to join a law firm and founded the Environmental Law Centre in 1982 to assist Albertans concerned with environmental and natural resources law.[2]

In 1987, Duncan was recruited by the federal Minister of Environment to establish a new enforcement unit at Environment Canada. After a year in Ottawa, she move onto Whitehorse where she worked as the assistant deputy Minister for Renewable Resources in the Yukon government. She moved to Montreal after she accepted a position helping lead the enforcement department of NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Through projects by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank she helped establish environmental law enforcement systems in Jamaica, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. During this time, in the 1990s, she earned a Master of Laws from Dalhousie Law School and taught several courses. Following the death of her father and two sisters she moved back to Edmonton in 1999.[1][2]

On the local level, in addition to her work at the Environmental Law Centre in Edmonton, she worked on projects with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, Alberta's Clean Air Strategic Alliance, and the Canadian Council on Human Resources for the Environment Industry. She served on the Board of Directors the Sierra Legal Defence Fund from 2001 to 2007. Her family has had a cottage at Wabamun Lake since her youth and she has participated on the Lake Wabamun Enhancement and Protection Association. Acting as their vice-president during the August 2005 CN Rail oil spill she was interviewed in the media on behalf of the land owners and lake users.[1] With the association and the Sierra Legal Defence Fund she helped make a submission to the United Nations Environment Programme noting Canada was not enforcing the legally-binding Heavy Metals Protocol, making specific reference to high levels of mercury being released from coal-fired power plants.[3]

Politics[edit]

For the 39th Canadian federal election, in January 2006, Duncan ran as the New Democratic Party candidate for the riding of Edmonton-Strathcona. The contest was expected to be close so in the final days of the campaign the party shifted resources there and the party leader, Jack Layton, traveled the riding, his second visit during the campaign.[4][5] Nevertheless, incumbent Conservative Rahim Jaffer won the riding over Duncan by almost 5,000 votes.

On January 19, 2007, Duncan accepted the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona, by acclamation, to again seek election to Parliament in the 40th Canadian federal election.[6] The election campaign began in September 2008. To make environmental protection an election issue, Duncan and Jack Layton flew over the tar sands area noting environmentally damaging practices.[7] Duncan made support for public health care, enforcement of environmental laws, and driving the economy with 'green jobs' priorities in her campaign.[8] She drew upon support from a large volunteer network built since the last election and strategic voting from Liberal supporters.[9] With the polls showing a close race, incumbent Conservative candidate launched an attack ad against Duncan.[10] On election night, October 14, the results showed Jaffer as the leader, by 1,000 votes with over half the polls reporting.[11] Jaffer delivered his victory speech around 10 p.m. and several people were calling the election a win for Jaffer.[12][13][14] However, late polls, which included residences around the University of Alberta, put Duncan ahead.[15] Following a few days of silence and after his fiancee, fellow Conservative Member of Parliament Helena Guergis, flew to Edmonton and quietly married him, Jaffer conceded defeat to Duncan.[16] With a 463-vote margin, Duncan became the only non-Conservative MP in Alberta.

During the ensuing 40th Canadian Parliament Duncan was appointed to the position of NDP critic on the Environment. In the Parliament's aborted first session she strongly opposed the government's proposed fiscal update, especially the proposed changes to pay equity claims, four-year wage cap, and suspension of the right to strike for federal employees.[17] She supported the proposed coalition government and condemned the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for labeling the coalition government as "treasonous" and "criminal".[18][19] When Parliament resumed in January 2009, Duncan sat as a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. She supported Ecojustice and the Sierra Club's lawsuit against the government's waiver of federal environmental assessment reviews on infrastructure projects arguing that it required an act of Parliament, rather than the Conservative government's Order in Council.[20] She vocally supported the opposition's Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act that would hold Canadian companies accountable in Canadian courts for human rights and environmental abuses committed in other countries.[21] Duncan introduced three bills into during the second and third sessions: the first proposing that the third Friday of February be declared National Hockey Day,[22] the second establishing an Environmental Bill of Rights,[23] and the third would have amended the Criminal Code to restrict the use of hand-held telecommunications devices while operadriving.[24] On a private member's bill to abolish the federal gun registry, Linda Duncan was the only MP from Alberta who voted against abolishing the gun registry.

Duncan was re-elected, with over 50% of the vote in Edmonton—Strathcona, to 41st Canadian Parliament. She introduced one piece of legislation, a private member bill titled National Literacy Policy Act (Bill C-327) which received first reading on October 5, 2011, but did not advance from there. The bill would have required the government adopt a policy for promoting literacy in Canada and take measures to enact the policy.

Duncan spoke at a Jack Layton memorial on August 24, 2012. The event was billed as "Dear Jack" and she was joined by several other prominent figures.[25]

Electoral history[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011: Edmonton—Strathcona
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Linda Duncan 26,093 53.55 +10.97 $84,389
Conservative Ryan Hastman 19,762 40.55 -1.05 $78,272
Liberal Matthew Sinclair 1,372 2.82 -6.24 $15,741
Green Andrew Fehr 1,119 2.30 -4.14 $43
Independent Kyle Murphy 206 0.42 $2,005
Marxist–Leninist Kevan Hunter 91 0.19 -0.12
Independent Christopher White 87 0.18 $880
Total valid votes/Expense limit 48,730 100.00
Total rejected ballots 124 0.25 +0.04
Turnout 48,854 68.76 +3.3


Canadian federal election, 2008: Edmonton—Strathcona
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Linda Duncan 20,103 42.58 +10.07 $71,669
Conservative Rahim Jaffer 19,640 41.60 -0.11 $81,597
Liberal Claudette Roy 4,279 9.06 -8.74 $72,953
Green Jane Thrall 3,040 6.44 +0.49 $3,801
Marxist–Leninist Kevan Hunter 147 0.31 +0.11
Total valid votes/Expense limit 47,209 99.79 $82,492
Total rejected ballots 99 0.21 -0.07
Turnout 47,308 65.4 -5.2


Canadian federal election, 2006: Edmonton—Strathcona
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Rahim Jaffer 22,009 41.71 +2.31 $75,063
New Democratic Linda Duncan 17,153 32.51 +8.71 $53,478
Liberal Andy Hladyshevsky 9,391 17.80 -11.21 $76,923
Green Cameron Wakefield 3,139 5.95 -0.54 $755
Progressive Canadian Michael Fedeyko 582 1.10 $0.0
Marijuana Dave Dowling 390 0.74 -0.33 $0.0
Marxist–Leninist Kevan Hunter 106 0.20 -0.01 $16
Total valid votes 52,770 100.00
Total rejected ballots 148 0.28 -0.03
Turnout 52,918 70.6 +3.9

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sadava, Mike (December 8, 2005). "Environmentalist dons NDP orange: Linda Duncan aims to unseat three- term Tory in Strathcona". Edmonton Journal. p. A5. 
  2. ^ a b c Pratt, Sheila (October 19, 2008). "Setting her own course: The Honourable member for Edmonton-Strathcona". Edmonton Journal. p. E3. 
  3. ^ Brooymans, Hanneke (July 1, 2004). "Group tackles mercury emissions". Edmonton Journal. p. B4. 
  4. ^ McLean, Archie (January 19, 2006). "Edmonton-Strathcona ripe for NDP's 2nd-ever Alberta win, Layton predicts". Edmonton Journal. p. A5. 
  5. ^ McLean, Archie (January 22, 2006). "Candidates exhausted as campaign winds down: Still trying to win over voters at last minute". Edmonton Journal. p. A4. 
  6. ^ Sadava, Mike; Hanneke Brooymans (January 20, 2007). "Tackling 'prosperity gap' on to-do list". Edmonton Journal. p. A2. 
  7. ^ Brennan, Richard (September 9, 2008). "Campaign gets down and dirty; Layton's plane flies low over Alberta's oil sands to highlight tailing ponds' environmental impact". Toronto Star. p. A17. 
  8. ^ "Health care tops Linda Duncan's priority list". Edmonton Journal. September 10, 2008. p. A3. 
  9. ^ Simons, Paula (October 15, 2008). "Close races in city tell Conservatives we won't be taken for granted". Edmonton Journal. p. A5. 
  10. ^ Audette, Trish (October 10, 2008). "Tory ad takes potshot at NDP; Edmonton-Strathcona incumbent targets 'biggest competition' in marijuana radio spot". Edmonton Journal. p. A1. 
  11. ^ Walton, Dawn; Katherine O'Neill (October 15, 2008). "Blue tide surges over the plains". The Globe and Mail. p. A7. 
  12. ^ Henton, Darcy (October 15, 2008). "Edmonton to remain mainly Tory blue; NDP challenger in close run battle with Tory candidate in Edmonton Strathcona". Edmonton Journal. p. A4. 
  13. ^ Babiak, Todd (October 15, 2008). "City earns little for being Conservative pillar — and that must change". Edmonton Journal. p. A4. 
  14. ^ Pratt, Sheila; Darcy Henton (October 16, 2008). "Premature jubiliation a shocker; Strathcona winner Linda Duncan knew race was closer than incumbent Jaffer believed". Edmonton Journal. p. A4. 
  15. ^ Cosh, Colby (October 17, 2008). "Alberta's voters explained". National Post. p. A18. 
  16. ^ Henton, Darcy (October 17, 2008). "Jaffer turns up married after defeat; Edmonton-Strathcona incumbent concedes victory to NDP's Duncan, is now ready for post-political life". Edmonton Journal. p. A3. 
  17. ^ May, Kathryn (December 2, 2008). "Critics slam plan for new pay equity legislation; Opposition MPs say latest move an attack on women's rights". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A3. 
  18. ^ De Souza, Mike (December 3, 2008). "Dion, Layton coy on possible Cabinet ministers; 'No Commitments'". National Post. p. A6. 
  19. ^ McLean, Archie; Mike De Souza (December 4, 2008). "Protesters plan to hit city streets; Conservatives and coalition try to orchestrate public outrage". Edmonton Journal. p. A1. 
  20. ^ O'Neill, Juliet (April 21, 2009). "Environmental groups challenge exemptions; Ecojustice, Sierra Club take Conservatives to court over the waiver for up to 2,000 infrastructure projects". The Vancouver Sun. p. B3. 
  21. ^ "Duncan rallies with mining critics". Edmonton Journal. April 19, 2009. p. A7. 
  22. ^ "C-320 — An Act respecting a National Hockey Day". LEGISinfo. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  23. ^ "C-469 – An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights". LEGISinfo. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  24. ^ "C-461 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (use of hand-held telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle)". LEGISinfo. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  25. ^ "The Edmonton Sun - Linda Duncan speaking at Jack Layton memorial on Friday". The Edmonton Sun. The Edmonton Son. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]