Linda Duncan

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Linda Duncan
Linda Duncan 2015.jpg
Duncan in May 2015
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Edmonton—Strathcona
In office
October 14, 2008 – September 11, 2019
Preceded byRahim Jaffer
Succeeded byHeather McPherson
Personal details
Linda Francis Duncan

(1949-06-25) June 25, 1949 (age 71)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party
ProfessionLawyer, environmental consultant

Linda Francis Duncan (born June 25, 1949) is a Canadian lawyer and politician, and former Member of Parliament for the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona in Alberta. A New Democrat, Duncan was the only non-Conservative MP from Alberta from the 2008 election until the 2015 election. Prior to her election, she ran unsuccessfully in the same riding in 2006.

Before politics, Duncan founded and ran the Environmental law Center and practiced as an environmental lawyer, working in Edmonton until 1987 when she moved to Ottawa to work for Environment Canada. She then taught environmental law at Dalhousie Law School (now the Schulich School of Law) and advised the Government of Indonesia on environmental assessment and enforcement. She also spent time in Whitehorse working as an assistant deputy in the Yukon government, later consulting with Kluane First Nation and later in Montreal as Head Law and Enforcement for the NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She also served on the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now ecojustice)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]


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.

2008: Elected as MP[edit]

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 oil sands area noting environmental impact.[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 fiancée, 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.

Linda Duncan at the Alberta Legislature participating in a rally organized by RETA against the Heartland Transmission project

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 House 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 driving.[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.

2011: Re-elected[edit]

Duncan was re-elected, with over 50% of the vote in Edmonton—Strathcona, to the 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.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Mission Canadian M.P. Mark Warawa and Linda Duncan fill out Observation forms at a Polling Station in Lviv on 2014 Ukrainian Parliamentary Election Day

In 2014, Linda Duncan introduced an Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, Bill C-634, "whose provisions apply to all decisions that emanate from a federal source or are related to federal land or a federal work or undertaking".[25]

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.[26]

2015: Re-elected[edit]

Duncan was re-elected for a third term in the 2015 federal election. She was appointed the NDP critic for Transport in the 42nd Canadian Parliament.[27]

In August 2018, Duncan announced that she would not seek re-election in the 2019 federal election.[28]

Electoral history[edit]

2006 Canadian federal election: 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
2008 Canadian federal election: 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
2011 Canadian federal election: 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
2015 Canadian federal election: Edmonton Strathcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Linda Duncan 24,446 43.96 -9.75 $87,241.42
Conservative Len Thom 17,395 31.28 -9.04 $36,812.49
Liberal Eleanor Olszewski 11,524 20.73 +17.87 $62,711.39
Green Jacob K. Binnema 1,278 2.30 -0.04 $1,924.74
Libertarian Malcolm Stinson 311 0.56 $1,599.80
Pirate Ryan Bromsgrove 201 0.36 $2,183.76
Rhinoceros Donovan Eckstrom 133 0.24
Independent Chris Jones 116 0.21
Independent Andrew Schurman 107 0.19
Marxist–Leninist Dougal MacDonald 93 0.17 -0.02
Total valid votes/Expense limit 55,604 100.00   $208,715.39
Total rejected ballots 217 0.39
Turnout 55,821 73.29
Eligible voters 76,160
New Democratic hold Swing -0.35
  • "October 19, 2015 Election Results — Edmonton Strathcona (Validated results)". Elections Canada. October 22, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  • Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates


  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. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  23. ^ "C-469 – An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights". LEGISinfo. Library of Parliament. Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  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 April 18, 2012.
  25. ^ Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, Bill C-634, 2014, <> Retrieved on April 8, 2015.
  26. ^ "The Edmonton Sun - Linda Duncan speaking at Jack Layton memorial on Friday". The Edmonton Sun. The Edmonton Son. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  27. ^ Kirkup, Kristy (November 12, 2015). "Tom Mulcair taps Nathan Cullen, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron for top critic roles". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  28. ^ Maimann, Kevin (August 28, 2018). "Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan will not seek re-election in 2019". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 28, 2018.

External links[edit]