Leona Aglukkaq

Last updated

After her political aspirations, since 2021, she's been on the Board of Directors at Agnico Eagle Mines Limited. [9]

Political career

Territorial politics

Arctic Council Chairman Leona Aglukkaq and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wave to people in her hometown of Iqaluit Secretary Kerry and Arctic Council Chairman Leona Aglukkaq wave to people in her hometown of Iqaluit, Canada.jpg
Arctic Council Chairman Leona Aglukkaq and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wave to people in her hometown of Iqaluit

First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut representing the electoral district of Nattilik in the 2004 Nunavut election, she held the seat until stepping down on September 10, 2008 to run in the federal election. She was the Minister of Health and Social Services and the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in the Executive Council of Nunavut.

Federal politics

Minister of Health

Aglukkaq was named the Minister of Health on October 30, 2008, [10] and is the first Inuk in Canadian history to be appointed to the Cabinet of Canada. [11] Jack Anawak and Nancy Karetak-Lindell previously held parliamentary secretary positions, which are not part of the cabinet itself.

Considerable public attention was focused on Aglukkaq during the 2009 swine flu pandemic where hundreds of Canadians were infected with the H1N1 virus. The Liberal health critic said that Aglukkaq was doing a "terrific job," and especially liked how the minister phoned all opposition critics to build consensus on the swine flu issue. [12] [13]

Health Canada officials sent two dozen body bags, normally sent to hospitals, to a Manitoba First Nation. The move was criticized by Aglukkaq, the Liberal and New Democratic opposition parties in Parliament, and First Nations leaders. [14] An investigation ordered by Aglukkaq found "no evidence of ill will or deliberate calculation," though First Nations representatives in Manitoba criticized the inquiry's report for downplaying the incident. [15]

Following the outbreak, Aglukkaq appeared on various television shows, including CBC News Network's Power and Politics with Evan Solomon , underlining the government's immunization plan.

In 2009, the World Health Organization called for the elimination of artificial trans fats from the world food supply. Surveys at the time indicated that 90% of Canadian adults and children still exceeded the recommended daily limits on trans fats. A Health Canada analysis suggested a ban could prevent 12,000 heart attacks over 20 years, saving the health care system $9 billion. Internal documents showed Health Canada prepared to finally announce a full ban on trans fats, drafting the regulations and a press release, until the office of health minister Aglukkaq scrapped those plans. She later acknowledged the rules would be a burden on the food industry.[ citation needed ]

Aglukkaq was criticised by public health officials for refusing to sign the Vienna Declaration on drug policy reform, which deemed "the evidence that law enforcement has failed to prevent the availability of illegal drugs [...] unambiguous," and called for a "science-based approach" based on harm reduction strategies such as needle exchange programs and supervised injection sites, because the Declaration was in conflict with the Conservative government's long-established prohibition-centered approach. [16] [17]

Re-election and continued incumbency

Aglukkaq was reelected in 2011 with nearly 50 percent of the vote, defeating a field of challengers which included former Premier of Nunavut Paul Okalik, who ran as the Liberal nominee. [18] [19] She was the first centre-right MP in the history of the riding to win a second term.

On August 23, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Aglukkaq would serve as chair of the Arctic Council when Canada assumed the Chairmanship from Sweden in May 2013. [20]

Aglukkaq gave no indication of support for the nationwide Idle No More protests in 2012/13, and called on Chief Theresa Spence to give up her hunger strike, abandon her request to meet with the Prime Minister and the Governor General of Canada, and instead speak to Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan. [21]

Minister of Environment

On July 15, 2013, Aglukkaq was named Minister of the Environment, [22] [23] which includes responsibility for Parks Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Environment Canada. [24]

In December 2014, Aglukkaq apologized for reading a newspaper while opposition parties asked the government about high food prices in the North during Question Period. [25] During the 2015 Canadian federal election, Paul Okalik, Nunavut's Health and Justice Minister expressed his discontent with Aglukkaq's actions by reading a newspaper whenever Aglukkaq spoke at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation election forum in Iqaluit. [26]

In the election, Aglukkaq lost almost half of her vote share from 2011 (even allowing for a turnout nearly double that of the previous election) and was pushed into third place behind Liberal candidate and former Legislative Assembly speaker Hunter Tootoo and NDP candidate and former MP Jack Anawak. It was one of the larger defeats suffered by a member of Harper's cabinet.

Aglukkaq ran again for the Conservatives in the 2019 Canadian federal election, and again came in third. The election was won by NDP candidate Mumilaaq Qaqqaq.

Electoral history


Leona Aglukkaq
ᓕᐅᓇ ᐊᒡᓘᒃᑲᖅ
Minister Leona Aglukkaq.jpg
Minister of the Environment
In office
July 15, 2013 November 4, 2015
2019 Canadian federal election : Nunavut
New Democratic Mumilaaq Qaqqaq 3,86140.8+14.2$5,618.37
Liberal Megan Pizzo Lyall2,91830.9-16.2$41,679.84
Conservative Leona Aglukkaq 2,46926.1+1.3$88,289.32
Green Douglas Roy2062.2+0.7$0.00
Total valid votes/expense limit9,454100.0
Total rejected ballots88
Eligible voters18,665
New Democratic gain from Liberal Swing +15.35
Source: Elections Canada [27] [28]
2015 Canadian federal election : Nunavut
Liberal Hunter Tootoo 5,61947.11+18.41$32,110.96
New Democratic Jack Iyerak Anawak 3,17126.58+7.22
Conservative Leona Aglukkaq 2,95624.78-25.12$36,393.17
Green Spencer Rocchi1821.53-0.51
Total valid votes/expense limit11,928100.00 $203,887.65
Total rejected ballots950.79
Eligible voters19,223
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +21.77
Source: Elections Canada [29] [30]
2011 Canadian federal election : Nunavut
Conservative Leona Aglukkaq 3,93049.85+15.07
Liberal Paul Okalik 2,26028.62−0.38
New Democratic Jack Hicks1,52519.44−8.18
Green Scott MacCallum1602.1−6.27
Total valid votes7,875100.0  
Total rejected ballots56 0.71
Eligible voters16,998
Conservative hold Swing +7.73
2008 Canadian federal election : Nunavut
Conservative Leona Aglukkaq 2,80634.78+5.72$59,574
Liberal Kirt Ejesiak2,35929.24−10.74$59,600
New Democratic Paul Irngaut2,22827.62+10.47$20,095
Green Peter Ittinuar 6758.37+2.45
Total valid votes/expense limit8,068100.0   $80,098
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +8.23


2004 Nunavut general election: Nattilik
[31] Name Vote%
 Leona Aglukkaq30542.84%
 David Irqiut20328.51%
 Anthony Anguttitauruq13018.26%
 Simon Qingnaqtuq304.21%
 Ruediger H. J. Rasch283.93%
 Sonny Porter111.55%
 Tom Akoak50.70%
Total Valid Ballots712100%
Voter Turnout 107.04%Rejected Ballots 3

See also

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28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet posts (3)
Peter Kent Minister of the Environment
from 15-Jul-2013
to 4-Nov-2015
Catherine McKenna
Tony Clement Minister of Health
from 30-Oct-2008
to 15-Jul-2013
Rona Ambrose
John Duncan Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
from 18-May-2011
to 4-Nov-2015