|26th Minister of the Environment|
and Climate Change
|Assumed office |
November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Justin Trudeau|
|Preceded by||Leona Aglukkaq|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
for Ottawa Centre
|Assumed office |
October 19, 2015
|Preceded by||Paul Dewar|
Catherine Mary McKenna
August 5, 1971
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
|Residence||The Glebe, Ottawa|
Catherine Mary McKenna PC MP (born August 5, 1971) is a Canadian Liberal politician, who was elected to represent the riding of Ottawa Centre in the House of Commons of Canada in the 2015 federal election. She was appointed as Minister of Environment and Climate Change in the Cabinet, headed by Justin Trudeau, on November 4, 2015.
After graduating from École élémentaire catholique Notre-Dame (her father insisted that all his children be bilingual despite not knowing any French himself) and then Saint Mary Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, McKenna attended the University of Toronto and studied French and International Relations. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she filmed a documentary in Asia, "Real Travels: 60 days in Indonesia." McKenna then completed a master's degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics and a law degree at McGill.
McKenna is trained as a human rights and social justice lawyer. In 2005, McKenna co-founded Canadian Lawyers Abroad - Avocats canadiens à l’étranger (CLA-ACE), now called Level , a University of Ottawa-based charity that helps Canadian law students and law firms do pro bono legal work in developing countries.
McKenna was a senior negotiator with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor which culminated in the Timor Sea Treaty providing for the joint exploitation of petroleum resources in a part of the Timor Sea. She is also a lecturer at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.
McKenna has practised law at leading firms in Indonesia, focusing on international trade, competition, investment and constitutional issues. In 2002, she joined Stikeman Elliott LLP, working in the areas of competition, trade, and constitutional law. During this time she was senior counsel on the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer's review of Canada's military justice system.
McKenna was, before entering politics, the Executive Director of Level, a charity that she cofounded. Level is described as a catalyst for positive and social change. They believe that uniting the power of people, education and law will lead to a more equitable and just society. McKenna is also known for her Dare to Dream program that mentors and inspires Aboriginal students through justice education and outreach activities by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal lawyers. The program was piloted in Toronto and has now expanded to Calgary and Ottawa.
In the 2015 federal election, McKenna defeated longtime New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Paul Dewar in the riding of Ottawa Centre. McKenna said that she knocked on 100,000 doors during her 522 days as a candidate. McKenna was elected with 43% of the votes compared to Dewar's 38%. McKenna had campaigned on issues such as reforming the National Capital Commission, funding for a new main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and opposing the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism.
McKenna is one of 50 women elected to the Liberal caucus.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
McKenna was appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Justin Trudeau's first cabinet on November 4, 2015. One of her first appearances as Minister of Environment and Climate Change was at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
In December 2016, McKenna led a clean-technology sector business delegation with Canadian and Chinese companies in China. Additionally, she served as the international executive vice-chair of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and co-chaired the council's annual general meeting with China's Minister of Environmental Protection, Minister Chen Jining.
Some of McKenna's critics have derisively nicknamed her "Climate Barbie", a label McKenna considers a sexist insult. Conservative MP Gerry Ritz caused controversy in September 2017 when he tweeted a link to a news story stating no industrialized nations were on pace to meet Paris Agreement carbon emission targets with the comment "Has anyone told our climate Barbie! [sic]" (referring to McKenna). Ritz deleted the original post within 20 minutes, afterward posted another message stating: "I apologize for the use of Barbie, it is not reflective of the role the Minister plays". Conservative leader Andrew Scheer condemned Ritz's comment later in the day and stated he would reach out to McKenna personally to "assure the minister that this type of behavior has no place in the Conservative caucus".
In November 2018, in response to Ontario provincial government 2018 decision to cancel all climate action projects supported through the federal Low Carbon Economy Fund, McKenna announced that the Government of Canada would work directly with businesses to re-invest the $420-million remaining in the province’s Low Carbon Economy Fund.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she is the eldest of four children of Dr. John McKenna, an Irish dentist and his Quebec-born wife Pat McKenna, who still live in the southwest part of Hamilton. On August 14, 1999, McKenna married entrepreneur and writer Scott Gilmore, with whom she has lived since 2002 in The Glebe, Ottawa. They have two daughters and one son. The actor Patrick Gilmore is Catherine's brother-in-law.
|2015 Canadian federal election: Ottawa Centre|
|New Democratic||Paul Dewar||29,098||38.54||−13.62||$196,692.80|
|Libertarian||Dean T. Harris||551||0.73||–||–|
|Marijuana||John Andrew Omowole Akpata||160||0.21||–||–|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||75,500||100.00||$233,540.54|
|Total rejected ballots||386||0.51||–|
|Liberal gain from New Democratic||Swing||+18.08|
|Source: Elections Canada|
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- "Canada MP sorry for Catherine McKenna 'climate Barbie' remark". BBC News. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- "Gerry Ritz apologizes for calling Catherine McKenna 'climate Barbie'". CBC News. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Campion-Smith, Bruce (September 20, 2017). "Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemns 'Barbie' insult by his own MP". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- "Catherine McKenna avoids Ont. government, imposes climate change agenda through municipalities, corporations". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Canada, Environment and Climate Change; Canada, Environment and Climate Change (November 8, 2018). "Government of Canada to support energy efficiency and climate action in Ontario". gcnws. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Catherine McKenna [@cathmckenna] (October 18, 2015). "Tomorrow's a big day. Thankful that I have my mom & dad in town. I owe so much to them. #RealChangeStartsAtHome #lpc" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". www.elections.ca.
- Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- Canada, © 2013 - Élections. "Résultats du soir d'élection - Circonscriptions". enr.elections.ca.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catherine McKenna.|
|29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau|
|Cabinet post (1)|
|Leona Aglukkaq||Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
November 4, 2015 – present