Kirsty Duncan

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Kirsty Duncan

Kirsty Duncan in 2019 (cropped).jpg
Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Assumed office
November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byChris Bittle
Minister of Science and Sport
In office
November 4, 2015 – November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded by
  • Herself (Sport and Persons with Disabilities)
  • Ed Holder (Science and Technology)
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
In office
January 25, 2018 – July 18, 2018
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byKent Hehr
Succeeded by
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Etobicoke North
Assumed office
October 14, 2008
Preceded byRoy Cullen
Personal details
Born
Kirsty Ellen Duncan

(1966-10-31) October 31, 1966 (age 53)
Etobicoke, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
ProfessionMedical geographer, professor, politician
WebsiteOfficial website

Kirsty Ellen Duncan PC MP (born October 31, 1966) is a Canadian politician and medical geographer from Ontario, Canada. Duncan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Liberal Party of Canada in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke North and was appointed Minister of Science by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 4, 2015. In January 2018, she also became Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities serving until the 2019 federal election. Duncan was elected MP in her riding, Etobicoke North in the 2019 federal election.[1] She is currently Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.[2] She has published a book about her 1998 expedition to uncover the cause of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

Education[edit]

After graduating from Kipling Collegiate Institute in 1985 as an Ontario Scholar, Duncan studied geography and anthropology at the University of Toronto. She then entered graduate school at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and completed a Ph.D. in geography in 1992.[3]

Career[edit]

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan was an Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto, where she taught global environmental processes and medical geography.[4] Duncan is the former Research Director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management.[5] As well, Duncan served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization which won the Nobel Prize in 2007.[6]

From 1993 to 2000, Duncan taught meteorology, climatology and climate change at the University of Windsor.[7] In 1992, as she became aware of the increasing probability of a global flu crisis, she was led to investigate the cause of the similar 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, saying, "I was horrified we didn’t know what caused Spanish flu, and also knew that if we could find fragments of the virus, we might be able to find a better flu vaccine".[8][9]

Though at the time she "knew nothing about influenza",[10] she began what she called a "six-month crash course in virology".[10] Eventually, she began searching for possible frozen samples of lung and brain tissue that might contain the virus. Her initial thoughts led her to think of Alaska,[10] as it contains large areas of permafrost, which would leave the viruses intact, but the search proved fruitless.

Eventually, after several years of searching, Duncan learned of seven miners who had died from the Spanish flu and were buried in the small town of Longyearbyen, Norway, an area that would contain permafrost. She then began assembling a team of scientists to accompany her. After several more years of preparation, which involved garnering various permissions to perform the exhumations, the ground survey began in 1998. However, the samples were not viable, as the bodies were not in the permafrost, and the expedition ultimately proved a disappointment.[8]

In 2003, Duncan wrote a book about her expedition, entitled Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus. Published by the University of Toronto Press, it details Duncan's process and the expedition itself. After the book's publication, Duncan began speaking about pandemics, which led her to begin teaching corporate social responsibility at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. In 2008, Duncan published a second book, Environment and Health: Protecting our Common Future.

Duncan is currently an adjunct professor teaching both medical geography at the University of Toronto and global environmental processes at Royal Roads University, and served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.[11]

In 2018, the University of Edinburgh awarded her an honorary degree.[12]

Federal politics[edit]

In February 2008, Roy Cullen announced that he would not be running in the next federal election[13] and Duncan was appointed as the next Liberal candidate. She was elected in the 2008 general election and re-elected in the 2011, 2015, and 2019 general elections.

On November 4, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed her to the Cabinet as Minister of Science[14]. Duncan was tasked with establishing the new position of chief science officer that would serve as a replacement to the position of national science adviser role eliminated by Stephen Harper in 2008.[3] As well Duncan became Minister for Sports and People with Disabilities after Liberal MP Kent Hehr resigned from cabinet following sexual misconduct allegations.[15]

As Canada's Minister of Science and Sport, Duncan has made ending abuse and harassment in sport her priority since taking over the portfolio in January 2018.[16] She wants to instituted a series of initiatives, including establishing new policy for national sports organizations, funding the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada to create an investigation unit, and setting up a toll-free confidential tipline for athletes and witnesses to call if they experience abuse.[16] Duncan's action items include creating a code of conduct with sanctions and finding a way to prevent coaches or officials from freely moving to another province or club after allegations of abuse.[16] Currently this action item is a work in progress.[16]

Duncan's priority as Minister of Science was to "unmuzzled our scientists"[17]. Under a Liberal government, Duncan as Canada's Minister of Science was able to bring back the long-form census and chief scientific advisor.[18]

In 2019, Kirsty Duncan won her Etobicoke North seat in west Toronto, and won against People’s Party of Canada candidate Renata Ford, widow of former Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford.[19]

Duncan reported that the liberal government in 2018 devoted $2.8 billion to renewing Canada's federal science laboratories because they said that they understand the critical role that government researchers play in Canada's science and research community.[20]

She was re-elected in the 2019 federal election. Following the 2019 federal election, Duncan appointed Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.[21]

Controversies[edit]

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a proposed extremely large telescope (ELT) that has become controversial due to its planned location on Mauna Kea, which is considered sacred land according to the native Hawaiians, on the island of Hawaii in the United States.[22]The Canadian government has made a commitment to spend $243.5 million over a period of 10 years for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.[23] The telescope's enclosure was designed by Dynamic Structures Ltd. in British Columbia.[24] In an online petition, a group of Canadian academics have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau together with Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Science Minister Kirsty Duncan to divest Canadian funding from the project. The online petition titled "A Call to Divest Canada's Research Funding for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea" was posted to Change.org on July 20, 2019.[25]

Electoral record[edit]

2019 Canadian federal election: Etobicoke North
** Preliminary results — Not yet official **
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Kirsty Duncan 26,388 61.4 -1.01
Conservative Sarabjit Kaur 9,524 22.2 -0.80
New Democratic Naiima Farah 4,654 10.8 -1.61
People's Renata Ford 1,196 2.8 -
Green Nancy Ghuman 1,080 2.5 +1.25
Canada's Fourth Front Sudhir Mehta 104 0.2 -
Total valid votes/Expense limit 42,946 100.0
Total rejected ballots 565
Turnout 43,511 58.8
Eligible voters 73,970
Source: Elections Canada[26][27]
2015 Canadian federal election: Etobicoke North
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Kirsty Duncan 26,251 62.41 +19.84 $69,670.96
Conservative Toyin Dada 9,673 23.00 -8.96 $60,237.66
New Democratic Faisal Hassan 5,220 12.41 -11.21 $37,513.09
Green Akhtar Ayub 524 1.25 +1.08 $1,558.16
Marxist–Leninist Anna Di Carlo 232 0.55
No affiliation George Szebik 164 0.39
Total valid votes/Expense limit 42,064 100.00   $201,932.10
Total rejected ballots 257 0.61
Turnout 42,321 62.18
Eligible voters 68,063
Liberal hold Swing +14.40
Source: Elections Canada[28][29]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Kirsty Duncan 13,665 42.4 -6.2
Conservative Priti Lamba 10,357 32.1 +2.0
New Democratic Diana Andrews 7,630 23.7 +8.0
Libertarian Alex Dvornyak 208 0.7 -4.1
Marxist–Leninist Anna Di Carlo 189 0.6 -0.4
Christian Heritage John C. Gardner 186 0.6
Total valid votes 32,235 100.0
Total rejected ballots 279 0.9 +0.2
Turnout 32,514 52.5
Eligible voters 61,930
Liberal hold Swing -4.1
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Kirsty Duncan 15,244 48.6 -13.0 $54,827
Conservative Bob Saroya 9,436 30.1 +7.8 $64,024
New Democratic Ali Naqvi 4,940 15.7 +5.1 $35,653
Green Nigel Barriffe 1,460 4.7 +2.1 $2,242
Marxist–Leninist Anna Di Carlo 300 1.0 +0.4
Total valid votes/Expense limit 31,380 100.0 $79,011
Total rejected ballots 214 0.68
Turnout 31,594
Liberal hold Swing -10.4

See also[edit]

  • Johan Hultin, a pathologist who also used frozen tissues to study the 1918 influenza virus

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal election 2019: Liberals maintain hold on key ridings in vote-rich Ontario". Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  2. ^ "Prime Minister welcomes new Cabinet". Prime Minister of Canada. 2019-11-20. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Nicola (24 December 2015). "Canada's top scientist faces tough challenge". Nature. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  4. ^ "Biography | Kirsty Duncan | Your member of parliament for Etobicoke North". kirstyduncan.liberal.ca. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  5. ^ "The Honourable Kirsty Duncan". Research Canada. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  6. ^ "Biography | Kirsty Duncan | Your member of parliament for Etobicoke North". kirstyduncan.liberal.ca. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  7. ^ "New federal cabinet boasts UWindsor ties". DailyNews. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  8. ^ a b "Digging up the deadly past". The National. Martin Newland. 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  9. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (September 29, 1997). "The Dead Zone". The New Yorker.
  10. ^ a b c Duncan, Kirsty (2003). Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-8748-5.
  11. ^ "Advisory Board". Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  12. ^ "Honorary Graduates in 2018". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  13. ^ Shephard, Tamara (2008-09-04). "Election call expected Sunday". Toronto Community News. Metroland Media Group. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  14. ^ "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Justin Trudeau keeps saying science minister is a Nobel Prize winner; she's not". Global News. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  16. ^ a b c d Chidley-Hill, John (August 16, 2019). "Canada's minister of sport Kirsty Duncan: More anti-abuse work to be done". CBC. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  17. ^ News, Alastair Sharp in; August 16th 2019, Politics | (2019-08-16). "How the Trudeau government reversed Harper's anti-science agenda". National Observer. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  18. ^ News, Alastair Sharp in; August 16th 2019, Politics | (2019-08-16). "How the Trudeau government reversed Harper's anti-science agenda". National Observer. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  19. ^ "Federal election 2019: Liberals maintain hold on key ridings in vote-rich Ontario". Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  20. ^ "Industry Committee on May 30th, 2019 | openparliament.ca". openparliament.ca. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  21. ^ "Deputy PM Freeland to oversee relations with U.S. and provinces in Trudeau's new cabinet". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  22. ^ "Canadian government faces call to revoke giant telescope project funding". canada.constructconnect.com. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Canada finally commits its share of funds for Thirty Meter Telescope". CBC News.
  24. ^ Semeniuk, Ivan. "With $243-million contribution, Canada signs on to mega-telescope in search of first stars and other Earths". Globe and Mail.
  25. ^ Ivan Semeniuk (22 July 2019). "Thirty Meter Telescope dispute puts focus on Canada's role". www.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  26. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  27. ^ "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  28. ^ "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". www.elections.ca.
  29. ^ Elections Canada – Final Candidates Election Expenses Limits
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Kent Hehr Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
January 25, 2018 – July 18, 2018
 
Ed Holder Minister of Science
November 4, 2015 – November 20, 2019
 

External links[edit]