|Shadow Minister for International Cooperation|
April 19, 2012 – October 21, 2012
|Preceded by||Jinny Sims|
|Succeeded by||Hélène Laverdière|
|Shadow Minister for Natural Resources|
May 26, 2011 – September 30, 2011
|Preceded by||Denis Coderre|
|Succeeded by||Claude Gravelle|
|Member of Parliament|
May 2, 2011 – September 11, 2019
|Preceded by||Yvon Lévesque|
|Succeeded by||Sylvie Bérubé|
|Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees|
|Grand Chief||Ted Moses|
Diom Romeo Saganash
October 28, 1961
Waswanipi, Quebec, Canada
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||Université du Québec à Montréal|
Diom Roméo Saganash (born October 28, 1961) is a Canadian Cree lawyer and politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou from 2011 to 2019. As a member of the New Democratic Party he was first elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 federal election, succeeding Yvon Lévesque of the Bloc Québécois. He was reelected in the 2015 federal election. He did not run for reelection in 2019.
Saganash was born on October 28, 1961 in Waswanipi, a native community in Quebec. At the age of seven, he was among 27 Cree children taken from their homes to attend French-language schooling in La Tuque, while living with an English-speaking Anglican family. The program was cancelled the following year, but he remained there for ten years, completing his schooling in French. After that, he attended a meeting on the negotiations between the Cree and Government officials on constitutional and resource rights, which sparked his interest in pursuing a law degree. He attended law school at the Université du Québec à Montréal and in 1989 he became the first Cree to receive a law degree in Quebec. Saganash is fluent in Cree, French and English.
In 1985, Saganash founded the Cree Nation Youth Council. He was the Deputy Grand Chief to The Grand Council of the Crees of James Bay from 1990 to 1993, and he later became director of Quebec relations and international affairs for over ten years. From 1997 to 2000, Saganash chaired the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment.
As a prominent Cree figure in a riding with many aboriginal voters, Saganash received personal support from NDP Quebec lieutenant Thomas Mulcair, who referred to Saganash as a "very important candidate". He was elected in the 2011 federal election to represent Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.
On Friday September 16, 2011, Saganash announced that he was running for the leadership of the NDP, to succeed Jack Layton. He is believed to be the first aboriginal leader to run for the leadership of a major Canadian party. He announced his withdrawal on February 9, 2012, citing illness in his family and a lack of confidence in his campaign. On March 7, 2012, Saganash announced that he would support Mulcair for NDP leader.
After an incident where he was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight from Montreal to Val-d'Or for intoxication, Saganash took sick leave in October 2012 for the treatment of alcohol dependency. Saganash cited the death of his "friend and mentor" Jack Layton, as well as the "profound scars" he received while in the residential school system as the reasons for his dependency. He completed his treatment in November 2012, and returned for the start of the House's first session of 2013.
In the 2015 Canadian federal election, Saganash was reelected to a second term.
|2015 Canadian federal election: Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou|
|New Democratic||Roméo Saganash||12,778||37.02||-7.80||$33,061.53|
|Bloc Québécois||Luc Ferland||6,398||18.54||+0.27||$31,842.28|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||34,518||100.0||$247,914.66|
|Total rejected ballots||609||–||–|
|New Democratic hold||Swing||-14.73|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|2011 Canadian federal election: Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou|
|New Democratic||Roméo Saganash||13,961||44.79||+36.59||$61,976.57|
|Bloc Québécois||Yvon Lévesque||5,615||18.02||-21.63||$61,279.33|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||31,168||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||480||1.51|
|New Democratic Party gain from Bloc Québécois||Swing||+29.11|
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