Karen McCrimmon

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Lieutenant Colonel
Karen McCrimmon
Karen McCrimmon.jpg
Karen McCrimmon speaking at a community discussion night, 28 January 2014
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport
Assumed office
January 30, 2017
Minister Marc Garneau
Preceded by Kate Young
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
In office
December 2, 2015 – January 27, 2017
Minister Kent Hehr
Preceded by Pierre Lemieux
Succeeded by Sherry Romanado
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kanata—Carleton
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by New riding
Personal details
Born 1959 (age 58–59)
Weston, Ontario, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Rob McCrimmon
Residence Woodlawn, Ontario
Alma mater University of Windsor (B.A.)
Harvard University (Mediation)
Profession Mediator
Canadian Forces (retired)
Military service
Service/branch Royal Canadian Air Force
Years of service 1980–2006
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Commands 429 Transport Squadron
Awards Order of Military Merit (1995)
Canadian Forces Decoration with clasp

Karen McCrimmon, OMM CD MP (born c. 1959) is a Canadian Forces veteran, mediator and politician who was elected Member of Parliament for Kanata—Carleton in the 2015 Canadian federal election. After a 31-year military career, McCrimmon retired as a lieutenant colonel. She was the first female navigator and the first woman to command a Canadian Forces air force squadron. She became involved in federal politics with the Liberal Party of Canada in 2008. In 2011 she was the Liberal candidate for the federal election in the Carleton—Mississippi Mills riding, and in 2013 she unsuccessfully bid for the Liberal leadership.


McCrimmon was born in Weston, Ontario.[1] Her father, Charles Martin, was a metallurgic technician employed by the A.V.Roe Company working on the AVRO Arrow CF-105.[2] Her mother, Isabel, emigrated from Scotland on her own, at the age of 20. When the Arrow project was cancelled in 1959, her father found work with Trans-Canada Airlines and moved his family to Timmins, Ontario. In 1971, the family moved to Windsor, Ontario.

While in high school, McCrimmon joined the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.[2] In 1975 she joined The Windsor Regiment (RCAC) as a Reservist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor in Russian[1] and Linguistics, and originally wanted to work in Canada's diplomatic corps.[2]

McCrimmon then joined the Regular Force in 1980, and became an air navigator, the first female to gain such a qualification.[3]

In 1995, she was made a member of the Order of Military Merit, and in 1998 was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and given command of 429 Transport Squadron, becoming the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron.[3] In 2000 she headed the Transport and Rescue Standardization and Evaluation Team. In July 2006 she was posted to Ramstein, Germany to serve as a Senior Staff Officer at the NATO Air. Headquarters.[3] She did a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2004 where she was responsible for NATO Airlift Co-ordination.[3] She retired from the Forces in 2006.


McCrimmon became involved in federal politics with the Liberal Party in 2008. She was the Liberal candidate for the riding of Carleton—Mississippi Mills in the 2011 federal election, but lost to the Conservative incumbent Gordon O'Connor.[4] In December 2012 she announced her bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, and on April 14, 2013 she conceded to the winner Justin Trudeau.[5][6]

In the 2015 Canadian federal election, McCrimmon was the Liberal candidate in Kanata—Carleton, essentially the Ottawa portion of Carleton—Mississippi Mills. She defeated Conservative candidate Walter Pamic by a 7,600-vote margin as the Liberals swept to a majority government.[2] After the election, she was touted as a candidate for a cabinet portfolio.[7]

Civilian career[edit]

On November 13, 2015, McCrimmon was sworn in as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Kanata – Carleton. Prior to her election, she was a consultant for private and public institutions and organizations.[8]

Married to Rob McCrimmon since 1985, the couple have two grown children. Karen McCrimmon is a private pilot and is a member of the Women's Executive Network (WXN), CFUW, FMWC, Royal Canadian Legion, and CWIA.[9]

Honours and decorations[edit]

McCrimmons received the following honours and decorations during and after her military career.

Order of Military Merit (Canada) ribbon (OMM).jpg Canada Gulf and Kuwait Ribbon.png General Campaign Star Ribbon.png
Special Service Medal Ribbon.png CPSM Ribbon.png CD-ribbon and bar.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of Military Merit (Canada) ribbon (OMM).jpg Order of Military Merit (OMM)
  • Appointed on September 6, 1995
  • Invested on December 6, 1995
  • [4]
Canada Gulf and Kuwait Ribbon.png Gulf and Kuwait Medal
  • with Bar
General Campaign Star Ribbon.png General Campaign Star
  • South West Asia Ribbon
Special Service Medal Ribbon.png Special Service Medal
CPSM Ribbon.png Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
CD-ribbon and bar.png Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)
  • 1 Clasp

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Kanata—Carleton
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Karen McCrimmon 32,447 51.24 +24.78
Conservative Walter Pamic 24,829 39.21 -14.5
New Democratic John Hansen 4,313 6.81 -8.48
Green Andrew West 1,704 2.69 -1.85
Total valid votes/Expense limit 63,323 100   $212,958.74
Total rejected ballots 191
Turnout 63,514
Eligible voters 79,831
Liberal notional gain from Conservative Swing +19.64
Source: Elections Canada[10][11]
Canadian federal election, 2011: Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Gordon O'Connor 43,723 56.95 -0.82
Liberal Karen McCrimmon 18,393 23.96 +1.62
New Democratic Erin Peters 11,223 14.62 +4.98
Green John Hogg 3,434 4.47 -5.76
Total valid votes/Expense limit 76,773 100.00  
Total rejected ballots 196 0.25
Turnout 76,969 72.77 +3.61
Eligible voters 105,770
Conservative hold Swing -1.22


  1. ^ a b Duffy, Andrew (Apr 3, 2011). "Its Army versus air Force,". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Egan, Kelly and Darren Major (20 October 2015). "McCrimmon soars to huge Liberal victory in Kanata-Carleton". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ottawa Citizen (Apr 14, 2011). "Liberal Party: Karen McCrimmon". Postmedia. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Dunn, Derek (November 13, 2012). "Riding woman joins Liberal leadership race". Ottawa East News. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ "McCrimmon makes list of Liberal leadership candidates". West Carleton Review. December 13, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Federal Liberal leadership race". Canada. CBC news. Retrieved 27 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Crawford, Alison (20 October 2015). "What might a Liberal cabinet look like?". CBC News. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Smith, Teresa (November 12, 2012). "Retired Forces Lt.-Col. McCrimmon to launch federal Liberal leadership campaign". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Private pilot and volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society". Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Kanata—Carleton, 30 September 2015
  11. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2015-08-15 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]