Megan Leslie

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Megan Leslie
Megan Leslie at Progress Summit (cropped).jpg
Leslie in 2016
President and CEO of WWF-Canada
Assumed office
December 1, 2017
Preceded byDavid Miller
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Halifax
In office
October 14, 2008 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byAlexa McDonough
Succeeded byAndy Fillmore
Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party
In office
April 19, 2012 – October 19, 2015
LeaderThomas Mulcair
Personal details
Born (1973-09-29) September 29, 1973 (age 46)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Professioncommunity legal worker

Megan Anissa Leslie (born September 29, 1973) is a Canadian politician and environmental advocate. She is the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada[1] and on the advisory board of the Leaders' Debates Commission.[2][3]

She was previously the federal Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Halifax from the 2008 Canadian federal election until her defeat in 2015. She is a member of the New Democratic Party and served as the party's critic for the environment.

In 2012, Leslie was named as one of the deputy leaders of the Official Opposition – one of the youngest MPs ever to be selected for the post.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Leslie was raised in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.[5] She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social & Political Thought and History and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies, both from York University.[6] She has a law degree from Dalhousie University.[4][5][6]

Leslie is the daughter of Finnish immigrants, and grew up in a Finnish community in Kirkland Lake.[7][8] She has attended Finnish events such as the Annual Suurjuhlat (Grand Fest).[citation needed] In 2010, Megan Leslie gave the first Varpu Lindström lecture, an annual event created in honour of Professor Varpu Lindström, a history researcher at York University (Toronto).[9] Leslie also spent a year studying at the University of Tampere in Finland.[8]

After her law degree, she worked for the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service in a community in Halifax.[5][10] She has a background in social justice advocacy on poverty issues.[11] She is a founding member of the Affordable Energy Coalition, and advocated cheaper energy rates to help low-income earners.[4][5] She was part of a successful settlement agreement with Nova Scotia Power Inc. regarding energy efficiency programs.[citation needed] She has advocated at Residential Tenancies, Small Claims, Income Assistance Appeal Board, CPP Disability Tribunal, and Utility and Review Board hearings.[citation needed] Leslie has coordinated mobile legal info clinics in the Halifax area.[4] These include Direction 180, Stepping Stone, Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (now Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia), Metro Turning Point, Bayers Westwood Parent Resource Centre, Single parent Centre and Adsum House.[12] Leslie also developed the "Tenant Rights Project" that worked directly with low-income earners to reduce rates of homelessness.[10]

In 2005, Leslie attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal to present on the issue of energy poverty.[13] She has also made presentations to the Canadian Public Health Association national conference, the Atlantic Regional Association of Immigrant Settlement Associations and the national conference of the Public Legal Education Association of Canada.[14]

She has been with her partner Brendan Haley since at least 2007.[15] During the 2011 election, she said, "Brendan has taken on the domestic role completely, from shopping to cooking to cleaning the tub."[16] He has been a Ph.D. candidate at Carleton University.[17]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Leslie was nominated as the NDP's candidate in Halifax after former party leader Alexa McDonough announced her retirement from politics as of the 2008 election.[13] She won with 6,800 more votes than her nearest opponent.

Health critic[edit]

Leslie launched an initiative as the NDP's Health critic to propose a national pharmacare plan to pay for expensive prescription drugs.[18]

She also introduced a private members bill to create a national strategy for suicide prevention, which has garnered the support of some municipal councils.[19]

She was also noted for being "well-briefed on the controversy surrounding Assisted Human Reproduction Canada last spring, when several board members resigned amid allegations of lack of transparency over spending."[20]

Environment Critic[edit]

Leslie was re-elected with an increased majority in 2011.

Leslie re-introduced the NDP's Climate Change Accountability Act in the House of Commons in June 2011[21] after it was defeated by the unelected and appointed Senate in 2010.[22]

In 2012, Leslie was the target of hate mail after The Hill Times misattributed a quotation critical of ATV drivers from Green Party leader Elizabeth May to the NDP MP.[23]

In 2013, Leslie criticized Conservative Cabinet Minister Keith Ashfield in the House of Commons for comments he had previously made, stating.[24]

In March 2015, her Opposition Day Motion to ban microbeads in Canada was passed unanimously by Parliament, ensuring that microbeads would be added to the list of toxic substances managed by the government under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Leslie worked collaboratively with other parties to create Sable Island National Park,[25] has led the fight for federal monies owed to HRM for Citadel Hill in Halifax, and successfully passed Second Reading of her Private Members Bill to save Sambro Island Lighthouse.[26]

Out of politics[edit]

Leslie lost her Halifax seat to Andy Fillmore in the October 2015 federal election as the Liberals swept all the Atlantic Canada seats.[27] In December 2015, Leslie was hired by World Wildlife Fund Canada as a senior consultant on ocean governance as part of a five-year plan to cooperate with the federal and provincial governments.[28] However, the World Wildlife Fund Canada temporary role ended in June, when she was expected to work back home in Halifax, where her partner was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Dalhousie University.[29] On October 26, 2017, she was announced as President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada.[30]

After Tom Mulcair was ousted as NDP leader, Leslie was considered a candidate for the New Democratic Party leadership election to replace him, she declined, saying that she was tired and out of energy and that she could not see herself running again before 2019.[27]

LGBT advocacy[edit]

Leslie has called herself a queer activist.[31]

Leslie did an undergraduate thesis on Supreme Court of Canada case law relating to gay and lesbian issues.[13]

She also presented an educational workshop for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission on gender identity, and was involved in the campaign to get sex reassignment surgery covered by Nova Scotia's provincial health care plan.

Leslie was the main seconder of Bill C-389, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression), known as the trans rights bill. At third reading, noting the absence of any openly trans members of Parliament, Leslie used her time to read letters from people who had contacted her office.[32]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Megan Leslie, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Mike Sullivan at the NDP Caucus strategy session in Saskatoon.

In 2011, Leslie was chosen as one of the "five best Canadian members of Parliament" by The Mark News.[33]

In May 2009, Leslie was chosen as "Best Rookie" by Maclean's in their third annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards.[5]

In February 2010, an essay by Leslie was featured in an Americas Quarterly issue titled "Voices from the New Generation", which featured 29 young business, political, and civic leaders from across the Americas.[34] In her essay Leslie expressed her belief in her generation's recognition of the complexity of social change, and her style of politics that recognizes the need for robust community participation as well as representation in parliament.

In December 2010, she was voted as the favourite "Up and Comer" on Parliament Hill[35] and was picked as one of the year's top MPs by columnist David Akin.[36]

Readers of The Coast weekly newspaper in Halifax voted her as "Best Halifax Member of Parliament" in 2009 [37] and 2010[38] and 2011[39] and 2012[40] and 2013[41] and 2014.[42] In 2008, she was Voted "Best Activist".[43]

In 2013, Megan received the Paul Harris Fellow recognition by the Rotary Club of Halifax Northwest.[44]

In 2015, Megan Leslie was named a Top 10 Environmental Leader in Canada by Power & Influence magazine. In the same year, she was also named one of the most influential people in government and politics by The Hill Times.[45]

Before entering politics she received: Muriel Duckworth award for raising consciousness of women's issues and feminism in the legal community; Holly House Heroes award (Elizabeth Fry) for work in housing and homelessness; Weldon Community Commitment Award; Dalhousie Governor's Award for exceptional leadership in the University and community; MacIntosh Bursary for outstanding public service; CBA Law Day Award for encouraging and promoting access to justice.[14]


  1. ^ "New leader for WWF-Canada brings lifelong conservation commitment" (Press release). World Wildlife Fund Canada. October 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Government of Canada (April 2019). "Leaders' Debates Commission". Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Vigliotti, Marco (March 22, 2019). "Ex-politicians Leslie, Manley, Grey to sit on debates' commission advisory board". CBC News. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Farquharson, Vanessa (5 February 2014). "How political dynamo Megan Leslie found her voice". Chatelaine. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Geddes, John (14 May 2009). "Best Rookie: Megan Leslie". Maclean's. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Megan Leslie: Five things I wish I'd known". Maclean's. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  7. ^ O'Connor, Joe (11 December 2013). "Forget what the rest of the world says, Santa Claus is Canadian and he calls the North Pole home". National Post. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Megan Leslie's Finnish background supports her political message". Issue 3/09. Vapaa Sana. 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  9. ^ "Lectures - Megan Leslie, MP - 1st Varpu Lindstrom lecture - Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections". (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  10. ^ a b "Megan Leslie – Former Coordinator". Pro Bono Students Canada. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Former Nova Scotia MP takes top job at WWF-Canada". 2017-10-26. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  12. ^ "Female Leaders in Academia ‑ Meeting with Megan Leslie, MP". Dalhousie University. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  13. ^ a b c Allison, Luna (1 January 2009). "New NDP MP Megan Leslie had activist roots". Daily Xtra. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2011-02-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ HighBeam
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "John Ivison: Taking on Big Pharma | Full Comment | National Post". 2013-04-21. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  19. ^ (2011-02-12). "SPECIAL REPORT: Living with suicide | Local | News | Sarnia Observer". Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  20. ^ "Ottawa's Up-and-Comers: Who to watch on Parliament Hill"[permanent dead link], January 1, 2011.
  21. ^ "LEGISinfo — Private Member's Bill C-224 (41–1)". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  22. ^ "LEGISinfo — Private Member's Bill C-311 (40–3)". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  23. ^ Mccleod, Paul. "The Chronicle Herald — Misquoted MP Leslie draws wrath of ATV drivers". The Chronicle Herald. The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  24. ^ "Conservative Minister says 'wonderful wife' comment to high school student taken 'out of context'". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  25. ^ "Legislative Summary of Bill S-15: An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act and the Canada–Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  26. ^ "LEGISinfo — Private Member's Bill C-588 (41–2)". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  27. ^ a b Starr, Katharine (April 13, 2016). "Megan Leslie rules out NDP leadership bid: 'I don't want it'". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  28. ^ "Megan Leslie 'excited' about return to Ottawa as WWF consultant". CBC News. December 2, 2015. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  29. ^ Geddes, John, The NDP has a dream leader. One problem: She’s not running, MacLeans, April 13, 2016. Accessed June 25, 2016
  30. ^ "Former MP Megan Leslie picked as new head of World Wildlife Fund Canada". Global News. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  31. ^ Ralph Higgins / National / Tuesday, September 23, 2008 (September 23, 2008). "Queer activists seek Halifax seat". Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ "Official Report * Table of Contents * Number 125 (Official Version)". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  33. ^ "The five best Canadian members of parliament – Yahoo! News Canada". 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  34. ^ "The Rookie". Americas Quarterly. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  35. ^ Plecash, Chris. "PM picked as most valuable politician in 2010, survey says". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  36. ^ [1]
  37. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  38. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  39. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  40. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  41. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  42. ^ "Best Member Of Parliament". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  43. ^ "Best Activist". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  44. ^ "Halifax – Home Page". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  45. ^ "The Hill Times". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07.

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